Monday, August 4, 2014

Leadership & Healing (LXX Zech 10:2)


If you ask me about the three most important things in church or Christian organisations, I would say this. It is leadership first, leadership second and leadership third. This is not unlike the order of church leadership in 1 Cor 12:28; apostles first, prophets second and teachers third. Even though we may not have apostles in our midst today, we should recognise the prophets and teachers who are called to lead the church. That's why Antioch of Syria became the missionary centre for Paul and Barnabas because there were prophets and teachers in the church of Antioch, sensitive to the Holy Spirit and guiding the church to obey the Lord's leading and direction (Acts 13:1ff).

I am still reading the Septuagint every morning. Today I got up especially early, perhaps due to the stress of the past week. There are many things to do and several more emails to reply - offers of ministry opportunities, etc. I thought I were on sabbatical!

The second hour is important. I learn to stretch my quiet time into the 2nd hour. I know for some, 20 minutes a luxury. But I am on sabbatical. So in the 2nd hour today I read the LXX of Zechariah 10:2. Interesting text - instead of the Hebrew, "my people are afflicted for they are like sheep without a shepherd", the LXX has my people are afflicted and "they have no healing". Perhaps reading the Hebrew MT and LXX texts together give us the sense that a shepherd's task is to bring healing or health to the body of Christ. No leadership, no healing. Without leadership God's people will be afflicted with all kinds of spiritual travails - complacency, lethargy, false teachings, every wind of doctrine, immorality, lure of the world and worldly riches.

The text in Zech 10:2 says that Israel went their way like sheep/flock. Sheep without shepherd will go their own way. It's herd mentality. Many Christians follow fads and fashions of the world because they lack a godly shepherd. They are like herd, going their way, assimilated with the surrounding culture, enchanted with the things of the world, sometimes not knowing that they have been seduced and led astray. A shepherd's job is to take the church back to the right track - obedience of God's Word.

The theology of the book of Judges makes this clear. When Israel sinned and committed apostasy, God gave them up and allowed them to be oppressed by their enemies. When they cried to God and repented God sent them judges or deliverers to lead them out of apostasy to the ways of God. It's leadership. God's way in restoring his people shows this principle. He raises up leaders to bring his people back to Him.

The theology of the Psalms is similar - "strengthen the son of man you have raised for yourself and we will not depart from You". It is God's chosen leaders who will be strong and by showing leadership of God's flock, the people of God will not depart from the true paths and they will walk in obedience to God's law. This is the essence of leadership. To lead God's people to love God and do His will. Godly leadership is manifested when the people of God follow God's ways and are obedient to His Word and as a result, they receive healing even as Jesus says that, "...they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears and understand with their heart and turn, and I would heal them (Matt 13:15b).

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