Follow the Leader

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“Now determine in your mind and heart to seek the Lord your God.” 1 Chronicles 22:19.

Everyone should be familiar with the childhood game “follow the leader,” in which one person–the leader–does something and everyone else–the followers–has to do as well. It is a simple game, but very soon, the followers grow tired of doing only what the leader does, and eventually everyone desires their own turn at being the leader.

Much the same could be said of our spiritual lives.

King David is near the end of his reign, and he is preparing his son, Solomon, to follow in his place. David has been faithful to God throughout his reign, and in turn, God has blessed David. David is leaving Solomon with a bit of regal fatherly spiritual advice. He charges Solomon to make up his mind, right then and there, to commit to following after God. In order for Solomon to be a good leader of the people, he must first learn how to be a dedicated follower of God. David understood this, and he needs Solomon to understand it as well.

The heart and mind were seen as being interchangeable in this time, meaning that people viewed the heart as not only as being one’s source of emotion, but also one’s source of intellect and intelligence. One’s character, intelligence, and integrity was measured by their ability to keep their emotions in check. For instance, the ancient Hebrew word for fool and heart both start with the same letter, meaning the two words are related in some sense. David is commanding Solomon to follow after God, in spite of what his emotions might tell him to do and in spite of what his intelligence might lead him to do. Emotions are fleeting; intelligence will fail. Only God remains constant.

We, too, must make this same decision. Quite often our emotions and our intelligence get in the way and lead us astray. It is easy for us to lose focus of God, to feel that we can lead ourselves better than He. It is our human nature to want to be in charge of ourselves and to take orders from no one else. But we must daily submit ourselves to God. We must make the choice each day to give our hearts and minds to Him and to His service.

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