Respect

#LetTheLordFightYourBattles #GodDispisesPeopleWhoRDisrespectfilToLeaders #GodAppointsNotMan

When God calls a person to a position of leadership it is important that all who are in contact with that person cover them with prayer.  It is also important that they are given the respect that is due to them. Regardless of the role an individual plays, Scripture indicates that God ascertains who will become the leader of nations.

Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. (Romans131-2 NIV: Unless other indicated the Scriptures used in this devotional are from the New International Version.) 

The nation of Israel did not grasp that concept until God made some significant examples of people who were just plain disrespectful, jealous, envious, and rude to a person whom He placed into a position of authority. When one is associated with an organization that claims it is doing Kingdom work one must be cognizant of the fact that people do not just wake up and decides that they are going to lead a ministry that focuses on the Gospel. They are normally called to do so. Disrespecting that individual is tantamount to being disrespectful to God. Back to one example from the Bible.

The railing accusation against a leader.

“Korah son of Izhar, the son of Kohath, the son of Levi, and certain Reubenites—Dathan and Abiram, sons of Eliab, and On son of Peleth—became insolent and rose up against Moses. With them were 250 Israelite men, well-known community leaders who had been appointed members of the council. They came as a group to oppose Moses and Aaron and said to them, “You have gone too far! The whole community is holy, every one of them, and the Lord is with them.Why then do you set yourselves above the Lord’s assembly?” (Num. 16:1-33).

Now I know that you are thinking “What a nerve? How dare they say that to Moses?” However, over the last 10 years or so have we not seem the same scenario and the exact same behavior towards people whom God placed into positions of leadership? I will reference one particular nation in this devotional, The United States of America. I have never witnessed such a harangue of a political leader as what I witnessed against the last administration.  Yes, the verbal assaults against the current administration are also evident in social media. However, I can categorically state that it is nowhere near as bad, against the current POTUS, as it was against the previous administration. Now I will also clarify that I expect non-Christians to behave in this manner, but I do not and will not read posts by followers of The Way who are disrespectful to people who are in positions of authority. I don’t care how good or how bad they are at their job, God placed them there for a reason. Let’s continue with Israel’s example

Moses’ response to his accusers.

When Moses heard this, he fell facedown. Then he said to Korah and all his followers:

“In the morning the Lord will show who belongs to him and who is holy, and he will have that person come near him. The man he chooses he will cause to come near him. You, Korah, and all your followers are to do this: (4-6).

In other words, or in today’s language, “You want to know if I even have the authority from God to be your leader? Let’s see what He does about your behavior!”

“Take censers and tomorrow put burning coals and incense in them before the Lord. The man the Lord chooses will be the one who is holy. You Levites have gone too far!” Moses also said to Korah, “Now listen, you Levites! Isn’t it enough for you that the God of Israel has separated you from the rest of the Israelite community and brought you near himself to do the work at the Lord’s tabernacle and to stand before the community and minister to them? He has brought you and all your fellow Levites near himself, but now you are trying to get the priesthood too.  It is against the Lord that you and all your followers have banded together. Who is Aaron that you should grumble against him?” (7-11)

As clear as a bell right? “but now you are trying to get the priesthood too” does that statement indicate that jealousy was at the center of their contention? Do presumption and a disrespect for Aaron’s position appear to be at the root of the problem? Did they understand that people were not in charge of the decisionmaking process but God was? Did they comprehend that they were contending against God’s anointed and chosen leader? Apparently not!

Blatant disrespect and disregard for Moses and his position of leadership.

An absolute refusal to be led by the person who God placed in a position of leadership in tantamount to disrespect for God.

Then Moses summoned Dathan and Abiram, the sons of Eliab. But they said, “We will not come! Isn’t it enough that you have brought us up out of a land flowing with milk and honey to kill us in the wilderness? And now you also want to lord it over us! Moreover, you haven’t brought us into a land flowing with milk and honey or given us an inheritance of fields and vineyards. Do you want to treat these men like slaves? No, we will not come!” (12-15).

It says one does not believe that God is in control. It says that one believes that they are the captain of their own ship and they have a “right” to say and do as they like. Actually, when one declares that they are a “follower of The Way” they gave up all rights and control over their lives. These chaps out and out refused to do as Moses asked!

Then Moses became very angry and said to the Lord, “Do not accept their offering. I have not taken so much as a donkey from them, nor have I wronged any of them.” (15).

Moses pleads his case before God and God’s honors it.

Moses said to Korah, “You and all your followers are to appear before the Lord tomorrow—you and they and Aaron. Each man is to take his censer and put incense in it—250 censers in all—and present it before the Lord. You and Aaron are to present your censers also.” So each of them took his censer, put burning coals and incense in it, and stood with Moses and Aaron at the entrance to the tent of meeting. When Korah had gathered all his followers in opposition to them at the entrance to the tent of meeting, the glory of the Lord appeared to the entire assembly. (16-21).

These chaps had no idea what was going to happen to them. They had violated every rule of governance that God had set in place. Now they were going to experience something they never envisioned could possibly happen to them. After all, they thought that they were just as good as Moses. They could lead as well as if not better than He did. Have you ever been in an organization where an individual rears up their ego against the leader? Let’s continue to see how God honors Moses.

The Lord said to Moses and Aaron, “Separate yourselves from this assembly so I can put an end to them at once.” But Moses and Aaron fell facedown and cried out, “O God, the God who gives breath to all living things, will you be angry with the entire assembly when only one man sins?”(23-24).

God, The Almighty One, the Maker of the Universe, the one who called out His people from bondage to use them as examples of light was ready to ERASE them from the face of the earth for their insolence!  Now I know that we may be thinking, “Too bad He is not doing that right now!” Well, He doesn’t always punish insolence at its inception. There are always consequences for that type of behavior. One may think that they have gotten away with the “rebellion” so to speak, but even if the consequences are the behavior are not experienced until the “day of judgment” when we will all be held accountable for what we have said and done.

Then the Lord said to Moses, “Say to the assembly, ‘Move away from the tents of Korah, Dathan and Abiram.’ ” Moses got up and went to Dathan and Abiram, and the elders of Israel followed him. He warned the assembly, “Move back from the tents of these wicked men! Do not touch anything belonging to them, or you will be swept away because of all their sins.” So they moved away from the tents of Korah, Dathan and Abiram.(25-26).

Insolence has no boundaries.

It always gathers support before it presents itself in a crowd. Insolence before God, and against leaders has its consequences.

Moses pronounces God’s just judgment against the usurpers.

Dathan and Abiram had come out and were standing with their wives, children and little ones at the entrances to their tents. Then Moses said, “This is how you will know that the Lord has sent me to do all these things and that it was not my idea: If these men die a natural death and suffer the fate of all mankind, then the Lord has not sent me. But if the Lord brings about something totally new, and the earth opens its mouth and swallows them, with everything that belongs to them, and they go down alive into the realm of the dead, then you will know that these men have treated the Lord with contempt.”( 27-30).

God executes punishment for insolence, disrespect, and jealousy!

As soon as he finished saying all this, the ground under them split apart and the earth opened its mouth and swallowed them and their households, and all those associated with Korah, together with their possessions. They went down alive into the realm of the dead, with everything they owned; the earth closed over them, and they perished and were gone from the community. At their cries, all the Israelites around them fled, shouting, “The earth is going to swallow us too!” And fire came out from the Lord and consumed the 250 men who were offering the incense. (31-33).

I know that like me you may have thought why doesn’t God do that today to people who have no regard for people who are in authority over them? I have seen

  1. priests cursed in social media because a parishioner did not believe that they were doing a good job,
  2. leaders removed from their positions of leadership by individuals who thought that they were God’s chosen ones,
  3. people start their own churches, cells, or groups because they did not want to be under the authority of the person whom God has placed in authority,
  4. the verbal thrashing of political leaders by people who will also post Scripture after their verbal thrashing of the said political leader – Scripture clearly states that sweet water and bitter water cannot flow from the same fountain James 3:10-12.

Why is this so important at this time? We cannot continue doing the same things and yet expecting a different result!

There is an epitaph to this story. One would have thought that the people learned their lesson right? NO! You see we are so firm in our belief that “we” are in charge and that God does not choose leaders that we will continue to verbally abuse them.

What did the people of Israel do? Did they learn their lesson?

“Tell Eleazar son of Aaron, the priest, to remove the censers from the charred remains and scatter the coals some distance away, for the censers are holy— the censers of the men who sinned at the cost of their lives. Hammer the censers into sheets to overlay the altar, for they were presented before the Lord and have become holy. Let them be a sign to the Israelites.” So Eleazar the priest collected the bronze censers brought by those who had been burned to death, and he had them hammered out to overlay the altar, as the Lord directed him through Moses. This was to remind the Israelites that no one except a descendant of Aaron should come to burn incense before the Lord, or he would become like Korah and his followers.

But like today, the people thought they knew better.

The next day the whole Israelite community grumbled against Moses and Aaron. “You have killed the Lord’s people,” they said.

Then Moses and Aaron went to the front of the tent of meeting,

“Get away from this assembly so I can put an end to them at once.” And they fell facedown. Then Moses said to Aaron, “Take your censer and put incense in it, along with burning coals from the altar, and hurry to the assembly to make atonement for them. Wrath has come out from the Lord; the plague has started.”

So Aaron did as Moses said, and ran into the midst of the assembly. The plague had already started among the people, but Aaron offered the incense and made atonement for them. He stood between the living and the dead, and the plague stopped. But 14,700 people died from the plague, in addition to those who had died because of Korah. Then Aaron returned to Moses at the entrance to the tent of meeting, for the plague had stopped.”‭‭Numbers‬ ‭16:1-35, 37-41, 43, 45-50‬ ‭NIV‬‬

Today I will state what will it take for us to stop behaving in the same manner that Israel behaved? We, supposedly, have the very nature and Spirit of God living inside of us! However, we stand firm on our “right” to verbally abuse people who are in positions of authority. Unfortunately, with the internet, and social media available to everyone we cause more damage now than the above band of individuals did. When one posts into social media, if it is public, we have an opportunity to reach millions of people! We can decide to use social media for “Kingdom Work” or we can use it as a written way for us to vent every time that we are upset.

What we need to understand is this-when we choose to act like the chaps in the story above there are millions of people who are thinking, “If that is what Christianity and building relationships with others that are sustainable, a blessing, and demonstrative of love looks like, well I will just stay out of church thanks very much!” We can either choose to use words to build people up or we can choose words that will tear them down.  I have been accused many times of giving people too many chances to change their inappropriate behavior towards leaders and leadership over the years. I felt then and still do now that my role was to teach those persons how to change their behavior.

However, like Korah and his friends, some people are unteachable. When that happens there isn’t much one can do to bring about the needed change in their behavior. God always has the last word. We, my dear brothers and sisters, are saved for the following purpose: to grow closer to God and to learn to love all people better. There is no caveat in Scripture, no ifs and or buts when it comes to showing Agape love to others.

Relationships are obliterated unnecessarily when we do not comprehend that concept. It takes time and effort to learn to love people better, but it also takes listening to the Holy Spirit instead of playing the IM game. Either one believes that they are set apart by God for His good pleasure and are here on earth to represent Him, yes, even in social media, or we do not. If we do then we need to be praying about this so we can act accordingly. We may even need to take some advice and guidance about how we represent our “Risen Savior” in social media. Why? We may be the only “Bible” that many people see on a daily basis! Do our posts represent the “Kingdom” or do they represent something else?

Please know that we are here to stand beside you as you travel on this journey that we have all been called to participate in. Why this long devotional? It came out of my studies over the last 3 days and after prompting by the Holy Spirit I determined that today was the best day to present this truth to all of us. Grace and peace to all.

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