Form 1 CRE Notes On Leadership In Israel
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TOPIC 6:LEADERSHIP IN ISRAEL
THE ISRAELITES DEMAND FOR A KING (1 Sam 8)
When the Israelites had settled in Canaan, they did not have an earthly King. Their unseen ruler was God.
Such a community was called a Theocratic community. God ruled through some judges who were appointed. These were individuals who showed great leadership qualities, which were believed to have come from God.
The role of judges in Israel
1. They led the Israelites into war against enemies such as the Philistines.
2. They settled disputes among the people.
3. They acted as spiritual leaders and officiated in worship.
4. They offered sacrifice on behalf of the people.
5. Some of the judges acted as the prophets of God.
6. The judges foretold the future.
7. The judges condemned the injustices in Israel.
8. They reminded the people of God’s ways.
Reasons why the Israelites demanded for a King
At the time when Samuel was judge over Israel, some elders met in Ramah and approached Samuel that they wanted a King.
They demanded to be given a King because:-
1. Samuel had grown old.
2. He had imposed his sons Joel and Abijah as judges over the Israelites.
3. The two sons were not like their father for they lacked leadership skills.
4. They were corrupt and took bribes.
5. They wanted a King so that they would be like other nations in Canaan.
6. They wanted a stable political government ruled by law and order.
7. They had been influenced by political government of the Canaanites.
8. They wanted a king who would lead them into war against their enemies such as the Philistines and bring back the Ark that had been taken.
9. They wanted an earthly king who they could see and consult in time of problems
Reasons against Kingship in Israel (1 Sam 8:5-20)
Samuel was very upset by the request for a King because:
- By demanding an earthly King, it meant that they had rejected Yahweh as their king.
- They were going to lose their identity as God’s chosen people therefore there was going to be no difference between them and other nations.
- The leaders to be appointed were going to lack leadership qualities.
- The King would oppress them.
- Some of their sons would be recruited to serve as soldiers in his army.
- Others would be put into forced labor.
- Their daughters would be put to work as cooks and perfumers.
- The king would take the best of their flock.
- The king would take their lands and good vineyards.
- At that time they would cry to God but God will not listen to them; but the people refused to listen to Samuel’s warning and went ahead with their demand for a king.
So the Lord told Samuel to do as they wanted.
The Choosing of Saul as the first King of Israel (1Sam 9:10)
After the Israelites had appealed to Samuel that they wanted a King, Samuel told the Lord what the people had said and the Lord instructed him to do, as they wanted. So Saul the son of Kish was appointed as the first King of Israel.
Achievements of King Saul
1. He was God’s choice who was to save the Israelites from the power of the Philistines.
2. He received the spirit of God, which made him to prophesy like one of the prophets of God.
3. He fought and conquered the Israelite enemies such as the Amorites, the Moabites and the Amalekites.
Failures of King Saul (1 Sam 13, 15, 18:6-9, 28:3-15, 31)
1. He was impatient and did not wait for Samuel when the Israelites were to fight the Philistines. This showed that he lacked faith in God.
2. He offered sacrifices to God at Gilgal to seek God’s favour before going to war with the Philistines yet he was not a priest.
3. When the Israelites waged war against the Amalekites, he did not listen to the command of God to destroy everything.
4. Instead he spared Agag the king of the Amelekites.
5. He spared the best sheep and cattle of the Amalekites for selfish gain.
6. He cheated Samuel that he wanted to offer the animals as sacrifice to God.
7. He listened to the voice of his subjects and army to spare the animals and Agag.
8. He became jealous and plotted to kill David.
9. He consulted a medium so that he could talk to the spirit of Samuel.
10. He killed the priest of God, (1 Sam 22.)
11. He committed suicide when he went to war against the Philistines; this act was against Mosaic Law.
Lessons Learnt from the Failures of King Saul
-Christians should obey God’s command and prophets
- It is because of Saul’s disobedience that he made God to reject him.
- It is important to have faith in God.
- Saul lacked faith in God that made him sin.
- A Christian needs to be patient.
- Saul was impatient and as a result he went ahead and offered sacrifice to God instead of Samuel.
- Christians should not be influenced by greed for wealth and earthly desires.
- Saul spared the fat animals for sacrifice and kept some for himself.
- God does not value incense sacrifice instead he is more pleased with obedience to the law.
- Leaders need not to be jealous of others – Saul was jealous and plotted to kill David.
- There is need to respect every one’s responsibility.
- Saul never respected the position of Samuel.
- Leaders should learn to take responsibilities of their deed instead of blaming others as Saul did.
CHOOSING OF DAVID AS THE KING OFISRAEL (1Sam 16:1-15)
-David was the son of Jesse from the tribe of Judah.
- God instructed Samuel to go and anoint David to succeed Saul as a King of Israel. When Samuel arrived at Jesse’s home, he told him to call all his sons.
- Jesse made seven of his sons to pass before Samuel but the Lord had not chosen any of them. Then Samuel asked if Jesse had any remaining.
- Jesse told him that there was another young one looking after the sheep (David was the youngest). When David was brought, the Lord said, “Arise and anoint him he is the one”, so Samuel anointed him with oil.
- Though anointed to become king, David did not become one until the death of Saul.
- Just before becoming the King, David was working for Saul as his Musician.
Achievements of king David (1 sam16:1-15)
David ruled Israel for 40 years. He ruled Judah for 7 years and the whole Israel for 33 years.
He is remembered as the greatest king and founder of Israel for the following reason;
1. He was chosen by God. God told Samuel to come and anoint him as king of Israel.
2. He was a skilled Musician and composed the book of Psalms that is used in the church even today (1Sam 16:14-23).
3. He brought back the Ark of the Covenant from the house of Abinadab to Jerusalem with great celebration. The Ark had been taken away by the enemies. (2Sam 6:1-5).
4. He conquered the city of Jerusalem and made it its capital city. (2sam; 5:6-25).
5. He was a brilliant military commander. The name David means Army Commander. He waged successful wars against Moab, Ammor, Amelekite and Aram.
6. He killed Goliath who was a great warrior of the Philistines because he had great faith in God. (1Sam 17).
7. He expanded the boundaries of Israel through military conquest.
8. He was a good administrator. He administered through law and justice to all people. He chose wise leaders to advise him.
9. David was a humble king who was ready to repent whenever he committed a sin. He repented after taking Uriah’s wife. (2 Sam: 11).
10. He was publicly anointed as a King of Israel. He was made king over Judah and was later accepted by the whole Israel.
11. He established good diplomatic relations with the surrounding nations for example; he signed a treaty with Syria and through the treaty Israel benefited both economically and politically.
12. He laid foundation of building the great temple which was later completed by Solomon. (2Sam 7:1-17).
13. God promised to establish an everlasting kingdom for David where his descendants would live in peace. Jesus is a descendant of King David.
14. He united the Northern and Southern kingdom and made it into one nation.
GOD’S COVENANT WITH DAVID (2 Sam. 7)
After David had managed to defeat all their enemies, David went to Nathan the prophet and told him that he wanted to build God a house. He felt it was not fair for the Ark of the Covenant to continue dwelling in a tent while he himself lived a wonderful place.
The prophet approved the idea but God told Nathan that he does not dwell in a home. David was not to build a house for God. Instead God promised him:
1. He promised David a great nation that he would be the greatest king in Israel.
2. God would protect the Israelites from their enemies.
3. God would protect David from his enemies.
4. David would be buried in peace with his descendants.
5. God would establish an everlasting dynasty (David’s descendants will rule for ever).
6. David and his descendants would be blessed forever.
7. The Messiah would come from the house of King David.
8. God would punish David’s sons when they did wrong just as father does to his son.
9. God would give the Israelites a land to dwell in.
10. God would always support David.
11. David’s son Solomon would build a temple for God.
DAVID AS THE ANCESTOR OF JESUS
Nathan’s prophesy about the Messiah is seen as having been fulfilled in the work of Jesus Christ in the following ways:-
Jesus Christ who was the Messiah is seen as being born from David’s lineage.
Mathew in the Genealogy of Jesus tells that Jesus was a descendant of King David. (Mathew: 1:1).
Jesus was born in Bethlehem, which was referred to as the city of David. (Luke 2:4)
In their sermons, the early apostles like Paul and Peter made a number of references to Jesus as a descendant of King David. (Romans: 1:3-5).
The blind man at Jericho hailed Jesus as son of David and looked to him to restore his sight. (Lk 18:35-36).
During Triumphant entry into Jerusalem, Jesus was hailed by the crowd as the Messiah descendant from the house of King David. (Math. 21:9).
Angel Gabriel told Mary that the son would be great and will be called the son of the Most High…. (Lk. 1:26-33).
Jesus’ foster father was a direct descendant of King David
Qualities of a Good Leader drawn from David
- Modern rulers should be courageous and ready to die with and for their subjects like David was a strong Military Commander.
- Modern leaders should have faith in God and realize that authority comes from God.
- Leaders should be thankful to God. David was thankful not only to God but also to his people.
- Modern leaders should be loyal to their oath of office. David kept his without favoring some people.
- Leaders should be kind. David was a kind leader. He pardoned many of those who had offended him.
- A good leader should be humble. David was a humble person. He consulted God’s prophets.
- A leader should be able to admit his mistakes. David realized his mistakes and asked for forgiveness.
- Modern leaders should be willing to delegate duty as David did. David had a team of advisors and administrators.
Problems that hinder political leaders from performing their duties effectively
- Ridicule from members of the society.
- Inability to fulfill the promises made to the electorates.
- Poor public relations/lack of training in leadership
- Women leaders are looked down upon.
- Party differences that make it difficult for them to work as a team.
- Lack of adequate forum to address the electorates.
- Cultural differences/ethnicity.
- Inadequate funds to initiate development projects.
- Personal differences.
- Poor infrastructure.
SOLOMON BUILDS THE TEMPLE (1KINGS 6)
- After David died, his son started the construction of the great temple. The temple was 30 meters long, 10metres wide and 15 meters high.
- The cedar and cypress that was used to build the temple came from Lebanon.
- It took 7 years to build the temple. Then Solomon organized all the leaders of Israel to observe the transferring of the Ark of the Covenant from the tabernacle to the temple. The priests took the ark into the inner surrounding of the temple – the most Holy Place.
Importance of the Temple to the Jewish People
1. The temple symbolized God’s presence among the Israelites.
2. It was a house where the Israelites offered prayers to God.
3. It was the place where the first-born male children were dedicated to God.
4. The temple was a place where the Israelites offered sacrifices to God.
5. The Ark of the Covenant, which symbolized God’s presence, was kept in the temple.
6. It was a place where the priests and prophets resided.
7. The rites of purification were carried out in the temple.
8. It acted as a symbol of unity in Israel.
9. The Jewish ceremonies such as the Passover feast and the feast of the Tabernacle were formed in the temple.
10. The temple also served as a commercial centre. The animals for sacrifice were brought in the temple.
11. The temple acted as a court. The Jewish elders sat in the temple to judge cases.(the Sanhedrin)
12. It acted as a training place for the priests, Rabiis and scribes. It was where the people were taught the Mosaic Laws.
Achievements of King Solomon (1Kings 4:29, 3:16, 4:20-27, 10:14, 11:3)
1. He was considered to have been a wise ruler. The wisdom was given by God.
2. He built the great temple and dedicated if for the service of the Lord.
3. He brought the Ark of the Covenant into the temple.
4. He established trade links with the neighboring communities and made Israel a prosperous nation.
5. Solomon wrote several Proverbs still being used in our churches today.
6. He is regarded to be one of the richest men who ever lived. He had 1000 women in his palace.
7. He is remembered for his great administrative skills. He had soldiers, officers, commanders and chariot captains.
Failures of king Solomon (1 kings 9:10-14, 9:15-19, 11:1-13, 11;9-10)
1. He sold a piece of land of Israel to Hiram King of Tyre, which was against the will of God.
2. In order to run his large palace and maintain a large army, Solomon introduced forced labour in Israel.
3. He married many foreign wives, which was against God’s command. The wives turned his heart away from God.
4. He allowed the foreign wives to introduce idolatry in Israel.
5. He built high places for the worship of the foreign gods and offered sacrifices to them.
6. He built his palace for 13 years while built the temple for 7 years, which means he valued his personal property than God.
7. He used foreign materials to build the temple.
8. He taxed the Israelites heavily to maintain his large number of wives.
9. King Solomon lived lavishly. He had an expensive life style and this consumed a lot of the resources.
10. He made treaties with foreign nations, which was against God’s Command.
11. After becoming king, Solomon killed his own half-brother (Adonijah) on the suspicion that he could rival him for the throne; this was against God’s Command.
THE SPREAD OF IDOLATRY IN ISRAEL
- When the Israelites settled in Canaan, they encountered new religious practices of the Canaanites.
- As they interacted with the Canaanites, they started copying their way of life.
Characteristics of the Canaanite religion
1. It was basically linked with the worship of force of nature for example there was a rain god, a god of draught etc.
2. The Canaanite religion was polytheistic in nature. Each god was in charge of certain activities for example El was the overall god, Asherah was the wife of El and Baal was the rain god.
3. They worshiped gods on top of mountains in temples and in shrines.
4. Symbols were used to represent the gods e.g. Baal was represented in form of a bull.
5. The Canaanite religion was linked to seasons. The Canaanites were agriculturalists and therefore believed that Baal had the ability to send rain.
6. They offered sacrifices to the gods. Such sacrifices include human and animal sacrifice.
7. They practiced temple prostitution e.g. those who wanted their wives to be productive were to have sex with female priestess.
8. There was idol worship. They made images to represent the gods.
THE SCHISM BETWEEN JUDAH AND ISRAEL
During the time when Solomon was a King over Israel, he married so many wives, which was against God’s command, and as he grew old, his wives hurried his heart away from God.
He ruled the Israelites with a lot of tyranny; he taxed the Israelites heavily and introduced forced labour. God therefore became angry with Solomon and told him that, he was going to tear the kingdom of Israel into two during the reign of his son but God said that for the sake of his father David, he was going to give him one tribe.
Schism therefore refers to the division that occurred in Israel that brought up the formation of the Northern Kingdom under Jeroboam and the Southern Kingdom under Rehoboam.
The Southern Kingdom remained with only two tribes i.e. Judah and Benjamin and the Northern kingdom had ten tribes.
ISRAEL REJECTS REHOBOAM AS A KING (2Kings 12)
- After the death of Solomon, his son Rehoboam became the king of the Israel. The people therefore approached him to relax his rules from the dictatorship that his father had practiced.
- They said to him, “Your father put a heavy yoke on us but now lessen the harsh labor and the heavy yoke”. Rehoboam told them to go and come after three days.
- He then went and consulted the elders who told him to do as the people had said.
- He ignored the advice of the elders and went to his fellow young men who advised him to be even harsher than his father was.
- When the people went back to him he said, “my father put a heavy yoke on you, I will make it: even heavier! When the people heard this, they rebelled against him and established the Northern kingdom that came to be known as Israel with Jeroboam as the king.
- He made Shechem his capital because Jerusalem remained in the Southern kingdom.
How Jeroboam broke the covenant way of life (1Kings 12:25-33)
- He stopped the people from going to worship in Jerusalem since he wanted to cut the interaction between his people and those from the Southern kingdom.
- He made golden calves and put them at Bethel and Dan for the people to worship as their gods.
- He built an alternative place of worship for the people of the Northern kingdom.
- Jeroboam built shrines in high places for the worship of the idols similar to those of the Canaanites.
- Jeroboam himself also worshiped the idols.
- He took upon himself the responsibility of appointing priests who were not from the house of Levi.
- He instituted festivals in the Northern kingdom like feast s celebrated in Judah according to the Jewish calendar.
- He offered sacrifices to the calves he had made although he was not a priest.
All these showed that Jeroboam had gone against the Covenant way of life.
This religious separation between Judah and Israel contributed to the spread of idolatry in Israel.
AHAB’S DISASTROUS MARRIAGE TO JEZEBEL (1KING 16:29-31)
During the reign of Ahab as king of Israel, he did more evil to the eye of God than any of those before him.
- He married Jezebel the daughter of the king of Phoenicia.
- This was against God’s command for the people were not to marry from foreign nations.
- He built high places for the worship of Baal.
- Ahab himself became a Baal worshiper.
- He began to offer sacrifices to Baal.
- He also made an Asherah pole.
- Jezebel also invited the Baal prophets and supported them with state funds.
- The prophets of Yahweh were persecuted or killed at the slightest opportunity if they raised their voices against Baalism.