1 Kings 22:51-53
“Ahaziah the son of Ahab began to reign over Israel in Samaria in the seventeenth year of Jehoshaphat king of Judah, and he reigned two years over Israel. He did what was evil in the sight of the Lord and walked in the way of his father and in the way of his mother and in the way of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who made Israel to sin. He served Baal and worshiped him and provoked the Lord, the God of Israel, to anger in every way that his father had done.”
The death of Ahab did not mean that all was well in the land of Israel. Ahab was succeeded by his son Ahaziah, who followed in the footsteps of his mother and father and “did what was evil into sight of the Lord.”
How tragic it is to read that the leader of the country “made Israel to sin!”
Let this be an admonition and warning to all who are in a position of authority. Leadership matters! The belief and behavior of the leader affects the group. This is true whether the group is a company, family, school, government, or athletic team. Therefore, leaders have a special responsibility to obey God on behalf of the people they lead.
Why is leadership so important? It is important because leaders set standards for the group, and leaders take the group in a particular direction. It is possible, of course, for a leader to set the wrong standards and to take a group in the wrong direction.
Unfortunately, this is precisely what happened with the kings of northern Israel, including Ahaziah. They led Israel in a direction that “was evil in the sight of the Lord,” and they set standards that “made Israel to sin.”
Here are two questions for every leader:
1. What standards have you established for your organization or team?
Are the standards you set honoring to God? Do you clearly communicate the standards? Do you hold people accountable to the standards? Do you set a personal example for your team by consistently living the standards? Do you hold yourself accountable—and do you others hold you accountable—to the standards?
2. What direction are you leading your organization or team?
Is the direction you are leading and are the goals you are pursuing in alignment with the principles of God’s kingdom? Is the strategy you are using for achieving your goals honoring to God? Is your strategy effective and ethical?
Real leadership isn’t a title. Leadership begins with the person, not the position. Leadership isn’t a reward; it is a responsibility. Competence is important, but it takes more than competence to be a godly leader. Character and courage are also required.
Sadly, Ahaziah was an evil leader. Tomorrow we will see the consequences of his disobedience to God. And once again, God will call upon Elijah to take action.
The Lord is calling.