#094: 4 Steps to Leadership Failure

No leader is perfect. We all make mistakes. Even the good kings of the Old Testament made mistakes and God still used them. Which is good news for me, because that means God can use me even if I’m not perfect!

Failure 2 Chronicles 16:9

Three weeks ago our topic “What to do when you are stuck cleaning up someone else’s mess” examined seven lessons we learned from King Asa as he cleaned up the mess left by his father and grandfather ( 2 Chronicles 14-15).

Asa’s heart was “fully committed to the Lord all his life” (2 Chronicles 15:17). Things went well for Asa for about 35 years, but in the 36th year of his reign things changed. Baasha, the King of Israel, fortified a city just a few miles north of Jerusalem. This gave Baasha the strategic position he needed to watch Asa in Jerusalem while preparing to mount an attack.

Asa stripped the gold and silver from the Temple treasuries and made an alliance with his enemy Ben-Hadad, the king of Syria. Ben-Hadad broke his treaty with Baasha and attacked several cities in Israel. Baasha retreated, and Asa plundered the cities that Ben-Hadad had conquered for him. Asa then used the plunder to build up the cities of Geba and Mizpah (2 Chronicles 16:1-6).

From a human perspective Asa’s actions appear to be reasonable, and in some ways very successful. He made an alliance with a troublesome neighbor, he paid his neighbor to go to war against his enemy, and he took the spoils and used them to build up two important cities. Sounds pretty good right? Too bad it’s not what God had in mind!

 4 Steps to Leadership Failure

  1. Asa did not turn to God. Unlike years before, when Asa immediately turned to God (2 Chronicles 14:7) to fend off an invading army, this time, Asa relied on his own power rather than on God.

Lesson for us. It’s tempting I know, especially for leaders, to make decisions quickly, and move ahead with our solutions on our own power. When we are confronted with a seemingly impossible task or a looming disaster we need to remember that our God is all-knowing and all-powerful. We should always turn to Him first!

  1. Asa established an unholy alliance. Asa established an alliance with Syria, an unbelieving nation, which explicitly violated God’s direction (Exodus 34:12). To compound the error, Asa stripped the Temple treasury of riches previously dedicated to God and turned them over to his enemy as a bribe to pay for the alliance (2 Chronicles 16:2-3).

Lesson for us. The Bible warns believers over and over against being unequally yoked with unbelievers. Making an alliance with an unbelieving enemy is never a good idea. It may seem like an expedient solution to your problem, but in the long run, it rarely turns out that way.

  1. Asa rejected God’s prophet. Hanani the prophet came to Asa to confront him for making the alliance with Syria rather than turning to God for deliverance. Rather than repenting, Asa was so angry with Hanani for confronting him that he imprisoned Hanani, and brutally oppressed some of the people (2 Chronicles 16:10).

Lesson for us. We need to listen to the Holy Spirit, especially in those difficult times when we are tempted to power difficulties through on our own. We also need to be open to listening to the wisdom of other believers.

  1. Asa stubbornly hardened his heart. In his 39th year Asa was stricken with a severe disease in his feet, but again he refused to repent and return to God while relying on help from doctors (2 Chronicles 16:12). Asa remained in this stubborn, hard-hearted position for two more years until he died.

Lesson for us. No one is a perfect leader. Mistakes are bound to happen. But when the inevitable error comes we need to be sure that we are not acting out of a stubborn, hardened heart. If we are, we need to repent of our stubbornness, return to God, and earnestly seek His direction.

One Final Thought

Asa’s actions may have seemed like the right way to deal with a potential invasion, but by acting in his own power rather than turning to God he missed God’s blessing on himself and more importantly, for his kingdom.

God could have protected Asa from Ben Hadad’s invasion, and dealt with neighboring Syria all without stripping the Temple treasury of its gold and silver. God’s best was not realized because Asa chose his path rather than following God’s.

Join the Conversation

As always questions and comments are welcome! Have you worked for a leader who failed in some regard? If so, how did they fail? How did their failure affect you and the organization?

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Category: Personal Development | Dependence on God


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