Friday, July 15, 2011
Today’s Topic: Follow the Leader
Today’s Text: Isaiah 48:17 “This is what the LORD says—your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel: “I am the LORD your God, who teaches you what is best for you, who directs you in the way you should go.
As a child I didn’t like playing follow the leader. It was pointless. Even as a child I thought, “Why would I want to follow someone who has no idea where I want to go? Why would I want to follow someone who only wants to go where they want to go and takes no thought for the desires of the person following them?” I probably missed out on a lot of childish fun. Maybe my pride was already overblown. Maybe God was preparing me to understand why I should follow Him.
The world is full of leaders and followers. Many leaders aren’t really leaders – they are just powerful people who use their power to control others so they can fulfill their own objectives. The followers of such leaders are repressed and unfulfilled. Some leaders are great. Their followers are excited to follow because they are convinced by the leader that where they are going is exactly the place that will satisfy their deepest longings and their wildest dreams. Such followers believe their leader knows what is best for them and is leading them to it. They trust the leader to take them to places they really want to go, not just where he wants to go.
I will follow a leader like that. I would have done it as a kid. If in the game of follow the leader it was required of the leader to ask each follower where they wanted to go and then lead them there, I would have played. If the leader could first convince the followers that where he wanted to go was really where they also wanted to go, I would have played the game. I will follow a leader like that.
We have a leader like that – the Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel. First, He teaches us what is best for us. He helps us to understand what we really need and shows us what we really want. He shapes our thought process. The sovereign God of all creation knows what is best, and He lets us in on it. He takes the time to instruct us. He softly and tenderly speaks to our hearts, and if we will listen, we will discover that what He says is good for us is far better than what we say is good.
Second, our Leader directs us in the way we should go. Based on what we now know to be best for us, God leads us to it. He wants us to find the best. He has told us what it is, and now He shows us how to get there. I will follow a leader like that.
Unfortunately there are many who don’t follow the Leader. Some of them call themselves followers, but it’s a sham. They are really following their own desires. Their hearts have never been convinced that God really knows what’s best for them, so they never submit to His leadership to get them there. They continue to pursue their own desires, thinking that what their sinful minds desire is really best for them. Sometimes I am like that too.
When I decide not to play follow the Leader it’s because my pride has convinced me that I know what’s best for me, or that someone else who is also not playing has the real answers for me. I choose to follow myself or them, but both choices end up badly. Look at what God tells the people of Israel when they chose not to follow the Leader:
“If only you had paid attention to my commands, your peace would have been like a river, your righteousness like the waves of the sea. Your descendants would have been like the sand, your children like its numberless grains; their name would never be cut off nor destroyed from before me.”
I am not only convinced of the following truth, but I am overjoyed to experience it – God knows what’s best for me and will lead me to it! It is exciting and fulfilling to follow the Leader!