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Self-Appointed Leadership Abimelech: 

A Picture of Self-Promotion

Judges 9:1-57

At first glance, Abimelech might seem like an ideal candidate for leadership. A gifted communicator and skilled tactician, he set his heart on becoming the ruler of his people. He had a passion to lead.

But passion does not mean fitness.

From the time his father Gideon passed away ambitious Abimelech kept his eye on the throne of Israel. He effectively used his oratorical abilities to gain power, yet never sought God’s view of his career choice. Abimelech hired “worthless and reckless men” (Judg. 9:4) to enforce his will. In his first act as king, he murdered 70 potential rivals – his own brothers, all of whom died on a single stone (9:5). From that point on, God determined to judge both Abimelech and his supporters. The man’s arrogance, disobedience, dishonesty, and self-will all should have disqualified him to lead God’s people, yet he reigned over the men of Shechem for three years (9:22). In the end, this self-promoting power-seeker and his cronies all died under the terrifying frown of God (9:56, 57).

Self-promotion may “work” in the short run, but over the long-haul God makes sure that it fails. Godly leaders must remind themselves of the Lord’s instruction: “Humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time” (1 Pet 5:6).

Sunday Morning

Self Leadership

21 Christian Growth Issues in the Bible

Colossians 3:1-11

I. Everything Worthwhile Is Uphill

a. Col. 3:1-4

II. A Noble Example of a Good Self-Leadership

a. Prov. 31:10-31

III. Invite the Holy Spirit to Help with Self-Leadership

a. Gal. 5:13-26

IV. Paul Instructs Titus on Training in Self-Leadership

a. Titus 2:1-15

Sunday Evening

Evidence God Exists

Psalm 19:1-6

I. Cause & Effect: Creator & Creation

a. Heb. 3:3-4

b. Gen. 1:1

c. 2 Pet. 3:10

II. Intelligent Design: Intelligent Designer

a. Gen. 1:11, 21, 24, 27-28

b. Gen. 8:22

c. Psalm 147:7-9

III. Man’s Capacity to Worship God: God Exists

a. Gen. 1:27-28

b. 1 Cor. 6:13

c. Eccl. 3:11

IV. Why Men Deny God

a. Rom. 1:21

b. Isa. 36:6

c. Psa. 19:1

d. 2 Pet. 3:5

e. Psa. 14:1-3

Self-Appointed Leadership: Moses Defuses Korah’s Rebellion

Numbers 16:1-33

Two kinds of false leaders emerge within organizations: man-appointed leaders and self-appointed leaders.

Balaam was a false leader of the first kind. Balak persuaded him to do something that God rejected, and the Lord rebuked Balaam for his arrogance. We read his story in Numbers 22-24.

Korah was a false leader of the second kind. Author Frank Damazio writes: “A self-appointed leader takes upon himself the authority and responsibility of a spiritual office to which he has not been divinely called.” Korah blatantly and arrogantly rebelled against Moses. In self-will and presumption, Korah followed a process of self-appointment common to many who illegitimately pursue power:

1. He caused others to revolt against existing leadership (16:2).

2. He publicly criticized and questioned existing leadership (16:3).

3. He accused leadership of what he himself was guilty of (16:3).

4. He despised as too little the position he had been given – he wanted more (16:10).

5. He continued to murmur, complain, and create a negative atmosphere (16:11).

Unsurprisingly, God always rejects false leadership. He rebuked Balaam, and He put Korah to death. Such leadership lessons might seem harsh, but they last.

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