Leadership Lessons from Judges, pt1
Leadership in Context with Keith Tucci
We are going to spend the next few podcasts looking at leadership lessons from the book of Judges.
The book of Judges is interesting in that the chronology is not clear. Most historians believe it covers from the death of Joshua to the installation of Saul as Israel’s first king. That’s a period of about 400 years. Interestingly, it’s not written in chronological order. It covers the 12 tribes that didn’t have a federated government. People were doing different things in different parts, and the stories go back and forth. The stories tend to revolve around characters in certain situations so we can extrapolate a lot of God’s work, how God used men, and how men did or did not respond to the Lord.
Let’s look at the beginning of Joshua and then the beginning of Judges, and then review the differences.
Now it came about after the death of Moses the servant of the Lord, that the Lord spoke to Joshua the son of Nun, Moses’ servant, saying…
(And it goes on to give Joshua’s instructions.)
Now it came about after the death of Joshua that the sons of Israel inquired of the Lord, saying, “Who shall go up first for us against the Canaanites, to fight against them?”
When Moses died, he had a very clear successor, Joshua. But when Joshua died, the people didn’t know who to inquire of, so they asked the Lord who was going to lead them.
One of the questions you have to ask is where Caleb was in all of this. We do know that Caleb was still alive and active.
Then they gave Hebron to Caleb, as Moses had promised; and he drove out from there the three sons of Anak.
Caleb was pursuing his inheritance. He was knocking out the sons of Anak. Caleb was about 85 years old at this point.
This raises the question as to why Caleb was not identified as Joshua’s successor. Had Joshua had a successor, would the nation of Israel have been in better shape? If Caleb wasn’t the successor, who was the successor? Surely it wasn’t God’s plan to have no successor.
Maybe it was Caleb’s age. Did he think he was past his prime, or did they think he was past his prime? Was it a matter of calling? Was Caleb not called to be the successor? Maybe Caleb was the proverbial second guy?
When you look at people who are fruitful in business, life, and ministry, you will find that these people have a second person. They have people who have been with them for 20+ years--people have found their lane and don’t aspire to be the lead guy. They do aspire to be a leader, and they find that in supporting the lead guy.
Maybe there was some prejudice involved. Caleb is identified as a Kenizzite every time it talks about his heritage. Most Biblical historians believe that the Kenizzites moved with the sons of Israel into Egypt, were part of their servants, and became part of the Hebrews, even though they weren’t Hebrews. Here is Caleb--he is not a Jew, but he is mentioned as a Kenizzite. Was there some prejudice against him?
Let’s go back to Judges. When we skip forward to chapter 3, Israel had been without leadership for some time at this point.
The sons of Israel did what was evil in the sight of the Lord, and forgot the Lord their God and served the Baals and the Asheroth.
When you see Baal mentioned, that is synonymous with infant sacrifice. The Israelites had fallen a long way--all the way back into demonic worship.
Then the anger of the Lord was kindled against Israel, so that He sold them into the hands of Cushan-rishathaim king of Mesopotamia; and the sons of Israel served Cushan-rishathaim eight years.
The Israelites had 40 years in the wilderness, then they came into their land where they had to beat the giants back, and now they are so reproachable to God that they became slaves again in their own territory.
When the sons of Israel cried to the Lord, the Lord raised up a deliverer for the sons of Israel to deliver them, Othniel the son of Kenaz, Caleb’s younger brother.
The first judge that takes the mantle is Caleb’s younger brother. There’s no history on how that happened. Caleb must have really discipled him, being that he was his younger brother. Maybe age was a factor.
The Spirit of the Lord came upon him, and he judged Israel. When he went out to war, the Lord gave Cushan-rishathaim king of Mesopotamia into his hand, so that he prevailed over Cushan-rishathaim. Then the land had rest forty years. And Othniel the son of Kenaz died.
Under Israel’s first judge, Othniel, the Israelites did great. They conquered the enemy and had 40 years of peace and blessing. And then history repeats itself.
Now the sons of Israel again did evil in the sight of the Lord…
Again, there is no successor. No one is identified. Something is broken.
The old saying goes: There is no success without a successor. Throughout the book of Judges, people are sporadically raised up, and they do great for a season. Yet there is no successor. The leadership lesson here is that without a successor, there is no sustained legacy.
We have to build on the legacy that is before us. We do not need to recreate the wheel. Every test is an open-book test. We have the book.
Join us next week as Keith Tucci continues to put leadership truth in the context of the local church. And as always, please like, share, rate/review, and invite others to listen. See you next week!