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Friday, February 12, 2016

People-pleasers Make Poor Leaders

“The fear of man brings a snare, but whoever trusts in the LORD shall be safe” (Proverbs 29:25).

Aaron blew it. Aaron failed to lead when the people came to him and demanded an idol, “Come, make us gods who will go before us” (Exodus 32:1). Aaron became a follower of men rather than a follower of God. The people led him instead of the other way around. Aaron was a people-pleaser. 
The Bible offers five clues that Aaron was a people pleaser:
  1. Moses’ absence threatens Aaron’s leadership position. He has to grant the people’s demand and make them the god they want in order to protect his leadership “position.” People-pleasers protect their position at all cost.
  2. Aaron builds an altar to the calf god and throws a party. Parties are always crowd-pleasers. People-pleasers feel powerful when they use their position to enable people to do what they want to do.
  3. Aaron blames his actions on the people, “They said to me, ‘Make gods who will go before us.” People-pleasers blame others for their poor decisions
  4. Aaron embellishes the truth, “They gave me the gold, and I threw it into the fire, and out came this calf.” He refuses to admit personal failure in his responsibility to lead the people. People-pleasers embellish the truth.
  5. Aaron didn’t intercede for the 3,000 people who lost their lives that day. People-pleasers let others perish to save their own skin.
Crowd-awareness pressures leaders to compromise God’s righteous standard, while God-awareness protects leaders from succumbing to the pressure of followers. Choose rather to please God than to be popular with man.

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"He [Aaron] took what they handed him and made it into an idol cast in the shape of a calf, fashioning it with a tool. Then they said, "These are your gods, O Israel, who brought you up out of Egypt." (Exodus 32:4)

There is the God we want Him to be and there is the God who is and they are not the same. Israel wanted a God who:
  • Represents strength but is powerless. They want a strong god that they can control instead of One who is in control.
  • Has a mouth but is speechless. They create a god who can't speak because they do not intend to obey Him.
  • Is amoral, without ethical standards. They desire to worship a god who allows them to express themselves sexually, morally, and without restraint.
Man has not changed with the passage of time. The "god we want" today tolerates sexual immorality, overlooks unrestrained behavior, and ensures our individual freedom at the cost of community and country stability. "The God Who Is" seems to silently watch from the sidelines or the mountaintop yet He will not remain silent forever. Just as God saw the wickedness in Israel's camp so God sees and knows that man today has created an alternate god, one that he can live with, one who doesn't have moral or ethical standards, and one that has an illusion of power. Yet, God is still God. And there is none other. Repentance means turning from the gods of our own making and surrendering to the God Who Is, the God who has revealed Himself in Scripture as:
  • Creator God who upholds all things by the power of His might
  • God who sees, hears and has spoken to us through His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ
  • God, the Lawgiver, who establishes parameters and boundaries for our own good and for His glory.
Sin reduces God into a created image, whether in wood, stone, or ideas, scaling Him down to make Him subservient to man so that man can remain "in charge" and substituting man's view of God for God Himself. Symptomatic of a declining culture is the creation of false gods (Romans 1:23).

Questions for today's Chronological reading:
Exodus 30:1-33:6
  • Why were the children of Israel from twenty years old and older to pay a "census tax"?
  • What would paying this fee do for the people?
  • Why does God place the bronze basin before the altar?
  • What does this tell you about God? about the priests?
  • How does God ensure that his temple specifications are carried out?
  • What does remembering the Sabbath do for the people?
  • What happens when people no longer keep the Sabbath?
  • What was Aaron's role in the golden calf situation?
  • How does he "spin" the events?
  • What does this tell you about Aaron? About those who "spin"?
  • Upon what promise does Moses base his intercession for the people?
Turning truth into prayer
Pray for our nation. Pray for repentance toward God and revival from God.