baby elephant June 3 Chronological Bible Study

Timeline. Map. Go to today’s Bible reading (NIV) or alternate versions (use your browser arrow to return): Proverbs 28, 29, 30, 31

Leadership Advice

Though we don’t know the source, it has been said, “You can tell how big people are by how they treat small people” [meaning those who might be considered lowly or insignificant, not a derogatory designation for those who are small in size like the baby elephant in the above picture]. The character of significant individuals can be measured by how they treat the seemingly insignificant.

If you are an employer or manager, how do you treat those under your charge? Do you stomp on them or make them feel valuable? Do their opinions count? Are their lives important?

How do we treat poor people? Do we look the other way? Will we greet them on the street? Will we invite them into our homes? Will we help them meet a need?

How do we treat the elderly? Do we treat them with dignity, respect, patience and kindness, or with disdain and a lack of tolerance?

How do you treat the disadvantaged (meaning those who have mental and physical challenges)? But for the grace of God you might be what they are. Are you patient with them? Do you talk with them?

If you have a family, how do you treat your spouse or children? Do you treat your spouse as equal with you? Do you listen to them? Parents, do you invest your lives in your children or do you think “children should be seen and not heard?”

Wherever you might be, whether at work or at home, are you arrogant and ruthless or do you deal kindly with justice and equity? In this last reading of Proverbs, King Solomon, Agur, and the mother of King Lemuel (more…) address those who are in authority, amongst other issues.

A ruler who oppresses the poor is like a driving rain that leaves no crops. (Proverbs 28:3, NIV)
Like a roaring lion or a charging bear is a wicked man ruling over a helpless people. A tyrannical ruler lacks judgment, but he who hates ill-gotten gain will enjoy a long life. (Proverbs 28:15-16, NIV)
When the wicked rise to power, people go into hiding; but when the wicked perish, the righteous thrive. (Proverbs 28:28, NIV)
When the righteous thrive, the people rejoice; when the wicked rule, the people groan. (Proverbs 29:2, NIV)
By justice a king gives a country stability, but one who is greedy for bribes tears it down. (Proverbs 29:4, NIV)
The righteous care about justice for the poor, but the wicked have no such concern. (Proverbs 29:7, NIV)
If a ruler listens to lies, all his officials become wicked. (Proverbs 29:12, NIV)
Evil men do not understand justice, but those who seek the LORD understand it fully (Proverbs 28:5, NIV).
If a king judges the poor with fairness, his throne will always be secure. (Proverbs 28:14, NIV)

If you are in a position of leadership, are you a person of integrity and high moral standards, or have you perverted judgment by seeking bribes? Have you any concern for the poor, or are you too busy building your own wealth and mansions? God blesses the leaders who act with righteousness.

If you are convicted by the sayings of these wise men, how do you change? Jesus Christ is our model. “For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich,” (2Corinthians 8:9, NIV). The Apostle Paul said in his letter to the church of Philadelphia,

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.

Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death-- even death on a cross! Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name.” (Philippians 2:3-9, NIV)

Jesus came to this earth, greatly humbled himself, and provided us a sacrifice for our sins. He did this so we may have forgiveness and eternal life. We need to believe Jesus died for our sins in our place and was raised from the dead to make us righteous. When he makes us righteous, we are genuinely changed by the Holy Spirit (more...). A genuine relationship with God through Christ enables us to do what is right and to be a servant (Matthew 20:26-28). Instead of being lords over our kingdoms, we need to be humble and teachable, and let God’s Word, the Bible, be our guide. (Proverbs 30:2-6).

More Advice for Spiritual Leaders

“When a country is rebellious, it has many rulers, but a man of understanding and knowledge maintains order,” (Proverbs 28:2, NIV). Do we understand the importance of keeping order? Faithful leadership, communication and safety are concerns for those who lead. We must do this to have success.

“Where there is no revelation, the people cast off restraint; but blessed is he who keeps the law,” (Proverbs 29:18, NIV). There must be clear, understandable rules and procedures to follow in any organization or home. They must be enforced justly and equitably to encourage all who are ruled by them (equal justice for everyone). This gives a sense of security and responsibility.

The sayings of King Lemuel-- an oracle his mother taught him:

“O my son, O son of my womb, O son of my vows, do not spend your strength on women, your vigor on those who ruin kings.

It is not for kings, O Lemuel-- not for kings to drink wine, not for rulers to crave beer, lest they drink and forget what the law decrees, and deprive all the oppressed of their rights.” (Proverbs 31:1-5, NIV)

Men (the principles could equally apply to women), there are some things which can destroy you as leaders of your organizations and homes. Listen to your mother who brought you up and taught you. She wants you to be a good man and succeed in your leadership. Intoxicating drinks and sensuous women can destroy you. They can make you disregard laws and impede your good judgment. King Lemuel’s mother continues,

Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute. Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy." (Proverbs 31:8-9, NIV)

Some, like the poor, disadvantaged, elderly, widows, infants, and the unborn cannot speak for themselves. As men and leaders we must speak up for them. We must be men of God; we must lead righteously, justly, and with mercy.

The last piece of advice given to King Lemuel is to find a good wife who fears the LORD (fearing the LORD means she has a genuine relationship with God and tries to please him, more...). Wise Christian men will heed this same advice. Why? A wife who fears the LORD “… brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life,” (Proverbs 31:12, NIV). A good wife, not only fears the LORD, but is also resourceful and skilled in providing for the needs of her household.

As a fair exchange, the husband, as head of the home, needs to appreciate his wife. In a family there is little that is worse than a married woman who is not loved (Proverbs 30:21-23). Proper treatment of good Christian women will benefit husbands in the respect and honor they are accorded. It is important then that men love their wives, praise their wives, and reward their wives for the things they do. If men will do this, then it will not be difficult for women to submit to their leadership in the home and do them good.

What if we are not under someone who will rule with justice and kindness? Solomon gives this answer:

Many seek an audience with a ruler, but it is from the LORD that man gets justice. (Proverbs 29:26, NIV)

It is tempting to always seek justice and compassion from rulers and administrators since that is their function (Romans 13:1-5; 1Peter 2:13-14), but it is the LORD who can move the hearts of rulers and reorganize events to bring about justice. Therefore, our reliance should be upon Him to help us in our afflictions.

Lessons to Live By: (regarding leadership advice)

  • The character of “significant” individuals can be measured by how they treat the seemingly “insignificant.”
  • Have you been a bad ruler? Do you want to be changed for good? A genuine relationship with God through Christ enables us to do what is right and be a servant (more...). We need to be humble and teachable, instead of lording over our kingdoms, and let God's Word, the Bible, be our guide.
  • Men, to be godly leaders we must be wary of sensuous women and alcoholic beverages for they can destroy us; we must speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves; we must lead righteously; and if we marry, we need to choose women who are Christians, who fear the LORD and will bring good and not evil to us and our families. As a fair exchange we need to esteem our wives and show our appreciation to them.
  • Seek justice from God. Our reliance should be upon Him to help us in our afflictions.
  • Esteem others under your leadership who serve you well, no matter how significant or insignificant they may be.

Today's Bible Memory Verse

Micah 6:8 “He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” (NIV)

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