The first time I stepped into an ocean I was probably 13-years old. I was only in the water up to my knees but as the tide went out the pull of the water nearly sucked my feet out from under me.
I found to stand up I needed to dig my feet into the sand and anticipate the pull of the water. Otherwise, I could not stand against the pull of the tide.
Leaders often find themselves in a similar situation. The pull of popular opinion sucks at your feet threatening to pull you under unless you are firmly rooted in your principles.
How often in the last few years have you listened to a politician say one thing while he/she is running for office and then say something else once they are elected? How quickly do they change their tune when polling data goes against them? They excuse their changed minds and lack of principles while claiming their “thinking has matured.”
Their behavior begs the question, “Is there a point at which a leader must dig in and stand against the pull of popular opinion in defense of their principles?”
Yes, I believe there are times when leaders must be willing to stand against popular opinion. It is whenever men defy God’s principles.
One such example comes from a young prophet named Micaiah. His story is recorded in 1 Kings 22.
Micaiah Stands Firm
King Jehoshaphat of Judah had foolishly aligned himself with King Ahab of Israel against the king of Syria, King Aram. Before attacking Aram, Ahab called for 400 prophets to discern the will of God, and all of the prophets told him to go ahead and attack Aram.
Jehoshaphat asked for a real prophet of God, so Ahab reluctantly suggested they consult Micaiah.
Messengers sent to Micaiah told him all the other prophets had unanimously told the kings to attack Aram and suggested he should fall in line with the other prophets.
When Micaiah was brought before the two kings, he sarcastically told the two kings to attack Aram. But King Ahab told Micaiah to swear to tell the truth of what the Lord had told him. Micaiah then told the two kings all the other prophets had lied to them; the Lord had revealed they would be defeated and their armies scattered.
As a result of opposing all 400 of the prophets and telling the truth of what the Lord had revealed, Micaiah was turned over to a jailor and put in prison where he was to remain until after the battle.
The two kings proceed to wage war against Aram. Just as Micaiah had prophesied Ahab was killed, and the armies of Israel and Judah were defeated.
Stand Firm Against the Tide
Imagine the pressure Micaiah felt as he stood before the kings of Israel and Judah surrounded by 400 prophets. Every eye is on him. It certainly would have been easier to say what they wanted to hear. Instead, Micaiah’s message opposed 400 prophets. He called them out as liars, and told God’s truth regardless of the consequences.
As leaders, we must be willing to stand firm for God’s principles. We must, as Micaiah was, be willing to oppose the wisdom of the world regardless of the consequences. This kind of courage is the mark of a real leader.
I wonder if Paul had this in mind when writing to the Ephesians. He told them, “Put on the full armor of God so that you can stand against the tactics of the Devil. For our battle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the world powers of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavens” (Ephesians 6:11-12).
Let us join together as leaders with our feet firmly planted in God’s Word. Let us put on the whole armor of God that we might stand against the tide of popular opinion that opposes God and His righteousness!
Join the Conversation
As always, questions and comments are welcome. Are you the kind of leader who stands firm on your principles against those who oppose God regardless of the consequences?
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Category: Personal Development | Leader Qualifications