When it comes to gaining wisdom for good leadership, how much of my confidence is rooted in doing research and how much is in giving attention to God’s timely guidance? I just read the Joshua 9 and the story of how the Gibeonites fooled Joshua and the people of Israel into making a treaty with them when they were supposed to have done away with them. The illuminating line from this passage is, “The Israelites sampled their provisions but did not inquire of the Lord. (vs. 14)”
Israel and Joshua’s careful research was not enough to give them the wisdom they needed to walk in God’s ways. Their failure to ask God’s guidance led them to a rational, but wrong response. They made a rash decision that had generations-long implications.
In what ways am I research-rich and wisdom-poor? How am I learning to discern God’s often surprising guidance that go against how things appear to me? This kind of paradox sounds to me like what the Lord told Paul in the midst of his unresolved suffering: “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9).” Divine power is perfected in the soil of human weakness. My strengths may actually be spiritual liabilities.
For example, when I come across to others as strong, I may alienate people more than attract them. They may rightly assume that they couldn’t be that strong. Transparency in weakness connects me with hurting people. I must not model self-centered strength. I must model Christ’s strength in the midst of my actual weakness. People must see that I am actually weak. I struggle, fall and fail to measure up. If I am pretending I’m always strong, then I am not letting the reality of grace be on the display in my life.
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