The Measure of a Man Is How He Handles Power
14 “Look, fire has come down from heaven and burned up the first two captains of fifties with their fifties. But let my life now be precious in your sight." 15 And the angel of the LORD said to Elijah, "Go down with him; do not be afraid of him." So he arose and went down with him to the king.”
2 Kings 1:1-17
When Ahaziah, the king of Israel, injured himself in a fall, he wanted to know whether he would recover – but he inquired of the false god Baal, not the God of Israel. This angered the Lord, who sent a prophecy through Elijah to the king informing that he would die.
The king in turn sent a captain and 50 soldiers to capture Elijah, but the prophet called down fire from heaven and killed them. After this happened a second time, a third delegation approached Elijah and begged for mercy. An angel told the prophet to go with the men and visit the king.
Notice some observations about this episode, the humanity of this great prophet:
1. Elijah possessed both spiritual authority and anxiety at the same time (vv. 13-15).
2. Elijah spoke harshly and with power (vv. 10, 12).
3. Elijah showed no respect for the authority of the king (vv. 9-14).
4. Elijah required an angel to appear to confirm that he should spare the soldiers and go with them to meet the king (v. 15).
21 Christian Growth Issues in the Bible
I. The Best Use of Leadership Is Serving Others
a. Mark 10:43-45
b. Phil. 2:4
II. Rehoboam Chooses Power Over Wisdom
a. 2 Chron. 10:1-19
III. The Power of Riches Never Satisfies
a. Eccl. 5:8-20
IV. The Nature of Real Power
a. Matt. 20:20-28
“Be of Good Cheer”
I. The Paralytic (Matt. 9:1-8)
II. In the Storm (Matt. 14:22-27
III. The Dying Woman (Luke 8:40-55)
IV. Blind Bartimaeus (Mark 10:46-52)
V. The Disciples (John 16:25-33)
Jotham’s Leadership Parable
“Now when they told Jotham, he went and stood on top of Mount Gerizim, and lifted his voice and cried out. And he said to them: "Listen to me, you men of Shechem, That God may listen to you! 8 "The trees once went forth to anoint a king over them. And they said to the olive tree, 'Reign over us!' 9 But the olive tree said to them, 'Should I cease giving my oil, With which they honor God and men, And go to sway over trees?' 10 "Then the trees said to the fig tree, 'You come and reign over us!' 11 But the fig tree said to them, 'Should I cease my sweetness and my good fruit, And go to sway over trees?' 12 "Then the trees said to the vine, 'You come and reign over us!' 13 But the vine said to them, 'Should I cease my new wine, Which cheers both God and men, And go to sway over trees?' 14 "Then all the trees said to the bramble, 'You come and reign over us!' 15 And the bramble said to the trees, 'If in truth you anoint me as king over you, Then come and take shelter in my shade; But if not, let fire come out of the bramble And devour the cedars of Lebanon!'”
Many in our world think the leader must be the biggest, strongest, and most intimidating person in the room. Yet the Bible tells us godly leaders are motivated by service, not power. Jotham used vivid imagery to describe his brother’s hollow leadership of Shechem, and warned that Abimelech’s power-hungry leadership would bring disaster. The Law of Addition reminds us that leaders add value to others by serving them not by lording it over them.