Friday, October 7, 2016

Electing Leaders .......... Parables 494

December 5, 1995

Every election, disgruntled Canadians (and Americans) look for a special leader. They want improvements in every area from employment to Medicare — without increased personal cost.

The Israelites living in Egypt had the same wants. Joseph, their previous special leader, saved them from famine in their own land. He moved them to the fertile Nile delta where they enjoyed a lush lifestyle.

A few generations later, a new leader decided to make slaves of them. Although God blessed them with increased numbers, they continued to pray, sacrifice their lambs and look to Him for deliverance, both from forced labor and from this new Pharaoh who was ordering all their male babies tossed into the Nile.

One baby escaped. The Pharaoh’s daughter found little Moses, took pity and without knowing it, hired his own mother to nurse him. He was trained to be the next Pharaoh but God had other plans; Moses became the next special leader of Israel.

God’s people were excited. This man was going to take them out of bondage and back to the land God had promised them. Their excitement quickly faded when they faced the cost of freedom: a terrifying escape from Pharaoh and his armies, a dry trip across a barren desert with only manna to eat, and finally a need to battle “giants” before repossessing their land.

They provoked God’s anger by looking for another leader. They complained, “We sat around pots of meat and ate all the food we wanted, but you (Moses) have brought us out into this desert to starve this entire assembly to death.” Out of that entire generation, only two made it to the land of promise.

Hundreds of years later, their descendants were again looking for a special leader. They had experienced another exile and another bondage, this time in Babylon for seventy years. Their captors restricted their sacrifices and made rules against their praying, yet God heard their cries. With leadership of men like Ezra, they were able to rebuild their homeland.

By 400 B.C., the nation entered yet another bondage. God was silent. No prophets were on the scene repeating His promise of a great Deliverer. The Greeks arrived and changed their nation. Then Rome ruled with an iron hand. The people longed for deliverance from political oppression, prayed and sacrificed their lambs, but saw no sign of a special leader.

Finally, another baby was born. The shepherds found Him first. The magi (Persian king makers) gave Him gifts, but the Roman leader tried to kill Him. The child escaped and grew to manhood. One day, John the Baptist declared Him the promised One, the great Deliverer, “the Lamb of God who would take away the sin of the world.”

This was their special leader, sent by God to save them from their greatest bondage — not the rule of Rome but the tyranny of personal sin.

This freedom comes at a price too. Jesus called for repentance. People must turn from sin and from ruling their own lives, and embrace Him as their Lord and Messiah. Most of them said, “We will not have this man rule over us.”

Israelites or not, people are still looking for a special leader — who can produce paved roads, free medical care, and all the benefits of high living without the cost of tightened belts and self-discipline. Many still reject Jesus because they would rather have free indulgence in their sin (and be in bondage to it) than serve Him.

Perhaps today’s leaders can find comfort in the fact that even the Son of God could not please disgruntled people — who want heaven on earth without cost or without change to their lifestyle.

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