Leaders Who Don’t Know What To Do

O our God, won’t you stop them? We are powerless… We do not know what to do, but we are looking to you for help.” (from 2 Chronicles 20:12)

A friend had this posted this morning as a status update on Facebook and it really got me thinking about leadership.  Sometimes we think leaders are the ones with all the answers, but the truth is that leaders sometimes don’t know what to do, either. If we did, we’d never make a bad decision. (Which reminds me of a great sermon from Andy Stanley at Catalyst West in 2009 – here are some similar thoughts I had in a post after that conference.)

The king of Judah was one such leader at the point when he uttered those words. The neighboring nations had decided they’d had enough of the Israelites and were gathering their armies to destroy them. King Jehoshaphat knew they were in trouble. These armies were huge, they were mean, and Judah had just recently split from Israel and wasn’t really a military powerhouse. In short, they were dead meat and their king knew it. At the news of his impending doom, Jehoshaphat “sought the Lord for guidance. He also gave orders that everyone throughout Judah should observe a fast. So people from all the towns of Judah came to Jerusalem to seek the Lord.”

He knew he was powerless in the face of what opposed him, so he brought his people together to seek help from God. As the people stood before God, desperate for his help “the Spirit of the Lord came upon one of the men standing there.” God told the people through him to take courage, that He would be doing the fighting. “Take your positions; then stand still and watch the Lord’s victory.” As the army of Judah marched out against a force much greater than they, the gathered opposition began to turn on each other. So much so, that by the time Judah had come into view of the other armies, the only thing left was a vast field of bodies. They’d killed each other off! The men of Judah spent the next 3 days plundering. The surrounding kingdoms began to fear the God of Judah, and the nation lived at peace.
The most important action in the face of this kind of “Oh crap, what are we going to do?” moment is to ask God what He wants. There are a few additional thoughts that God’s impressing on me with this story as well:

  • We need to be clear on what He wants. (If we’re unclear about His vision for His people, we cannot move forward on His mission. Don’t stop asking what He wants.)
  • We need to remember what He’s already done. (Whatever obstacle we face today, it hasn’t caught God off guard. He’s ready to handle it and able to obliterate it.)
  • We need to admit we don’t know what to do. (Stop pretending your armor has no weak spots and seek guidance from the One who doesn’t.)
  • We need to accept His answer however it comes. (“One of the men standing there” was used by God to deliver the solution. Who’s standing around in your life waiting to be heard?)
  • We need to do what He tells us to do. (“Don’t just be hearers of the word… but do what it says.” Even if that means putting the singers out front and marching straight into a battle you know you can’t win.)
  • We need to give credit where credit is due. (“His love endures forever!” Victory will not come because of our great strategies and programs… “The win” will not happen because of our great resolve and cunning methodology… Never take credit for what only God could have possibly done.)

2 Replies to “Leaders Who Don’t Know What To Do”

  1. This is one of those posts I need continually running across my screen. It’s easy for me to forget things like “the battle belongs to the Lord.” I have to continually strike a balance between the confidence and power I feel from God and bowing down to His power and might.

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