After spending some devotional time in the book of Judges the other week, I had a few thoughts on masculinity and leadership.
- The Faith Handed Down: A key aspect of masculinity is discipleship. While I could go in depth on technical definitions of discipleship, for our purposes we need only to understand it as a relationally based training in the faith. In our churches today there is a discipleship epidemic, that is, a sever lack of discipleship, and this seems to be true in the book of Judges as well. In Judges, faith does not get passed down and often we read that after such-and-such judged the people of Israel for a number of years, he died, and the people walked away from the faith. We are seeing this same trend today, but remove such-and-such judged and died with such-and-such went off to college, or got a new job, or began a new relationship. The church must regain a robust understanding of the call to discipleship and passionately pursue ministering to each other. While a discipleship movement must be motivated from within the church, it must begin in the home, with husbands/fathers discipling their wives and children.
- Minister Out of Weakness: I think this is a theme seen in much of the biblical narrative, but it is here as well, in stories like Gideon’s where God cuts down his army, and Jephthah who serves as a judge in spite of being the son of a prostitute. In
today’s church culture there is an increasing business feel. Churches are growing larger and larger, and increasingly become less personal. Part of this trend is a focus on hiring outside personnel who are especially gifted to do the tasks we need. In doing so the church and her staff are increasingly operating primarily, if not only, out of their strengths. If we operate our of strength where, then, is the reliance on God? How does this operating out of strength build in us faith? We all have gifts and strengths that God has given us to do ministry and serve him and his church, but there is substantial biblical precedent to call us to serve in and out of our weakness as well.
- General Faithfulness Flows from our Faithfulness to God: Regularly in the book of Judges we see that the people of Israel lack faithfulness in general (toward other tribes, toward family), but the stories of turmoil within Israel are always prefaced with the people of Israel turning away from God. As we consider our lives we ought to look for areas in which our faithfulness towards those around us wanes or falters and see these as signs that our faithfulness to God may also be askew.
- Rightly Oriented Worship and Rightly Ordered Worship: In the Old Testament in particular and the book of Judges in general, we regularly see the appropriate worship of God juxtaposed with two distortions: wrongly oriented worship (the worship of a false god rather than the true God) and wrongly ordered worship (worship of the true God in an unauthorized manner). In Judges we see that both of these, because they are distortions of the truth, lead down a dangerous path.
Thanks for reading,