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The Role of Spiritual Leadership In National Transformation
Stats: 7,455 words / Reading Time: 37.28 mins

Published: Friday 24th April 2020

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The Role of Spiritual Leadership In National Transformation

Micaiah, Ahab and Jehoshaphat As Case Study

Nations rises and fall to the degree of how yielded they are to Spiritual Leadership. God no doubt is interested in the affairs of nations. And so, at every point in time, He raises spiritual leaders that are meant to be His mouthpiece in nations. Many countries who only reckon with their political leadership alone and don't have anything to do with men and women that God has raised to be the spiritual watchmen over such countries, are missing out on many grounds. Firstly, such a country would not know the mind of God for her per time. Secondly, political leadership of such nations would miss out in every divine instruction that God will be releasing from time to time.

 

God has men and women that He has raised over nations, over cities, over towns and villages across the globe. Isaiah 62:6 shows us a picture of what they meant to do and achieve and I want us to carefully examine the verses below.

 

"I have set watchmen on your walls, O Jerusalem;
They shall never hold their peace day or night.
You who make mention of the Lord, do not keep silent,"

 

The first thing you will notice from verse six is that God said He is the one who raise these watchmen. There are spiritual leaders that God raised specifically for nations. There sole responsibility is that they speak God's counsel to nations. Jeremiah for example, was raised for such an assignment. God said to him: "Before I formed you in the womb I knew you; Before you were born I sanctified you; I ordained you a prophet to the nations." Jeremiah span of influence is to nations, not just Israel alone. So, that is to tell you that God raises such men as time and occasion demand and He plants them across nations of the world. Any nation who kills his own prophet will definitely pay for it.

 

The role of Spiritual Leadership is to speak and not keep quiet. Sometimes I wonder why certain people try to silence men and women of God, especially when the speak about the ills in their societies. This actually is part of their job description. As long as things are not going well in such nations or cities where they are planted, they are supposed to speak and not hold their peace until something is done to rectify or address the ills in the society. Many in Nigeria for instance criticizes Bishop David Oyedepo simply for asking the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari to do better in the area of economy, security and nation building. When it come to this aspect, spiritual leaders are not meant to be criticized but be allowed to do what God has raised them to do.

 

It is only a man or a woman with little or no understanding of God's word that will conclude that men and women of God aren't supposed to comment on the situations of their nations. They have every spiritual right and privilege to do so really. God put these men in place as watchmen over this nation and everywhere else in the world. For example, President Donald Trump of the United States don't joke with the Evangelicals. He holds spiritual meetings and consultations with their leaders from time to time and as occasion demands. They even go to the White House to pray for the president and his administration. As a matter of fact, president Trump gave a special appointment to Paula White as the Head, White House's Faith and Opportunity Initiative Program, and many Americans refer to her as Donald Trump's Spiritual Adviser.

 

Political leaders must know that spiritual leaders are not a terror or threats to good works. They are there and planted by God to make their work easier and effective. Even though some spiritual leaders could get carried away by what is happening in the polity and get too much and deeply involved in the affairs of the state unnecessarily, it still never negate the fact that God called them.

 

Micaiah, Ahab and Jehoshaphat As Case Study

This story of Prophet Micaiah, Ahab and Jehoshaphat in 1 Kings 22 further buttresses the role of Spiritual Leadership in national transformation. Ahab was the king of Israel, Jehoshaphat was the king of Judah and Micaiah was a prophet in Israel. From verse 1-4, the Bible gave us an account of what was about to happen. The Bible says: "Now three years passed without war between Syria and Israel. 2Then it came to pass, in the third year, that Jehoshaphat the king of Judah went down to visit the king of Israel. 3And the king of Israel said to his servants, “Do you know that Ramoth in Gilead is ours, but we hesitate to take it out of the hand of the king of Syria?” 4So he said to Jehoshaphat, “Will you go with me to fight at Ramoth Gilead?"

 

Apparently it appeared that the King of Syria had annexed some part of Israel's land, and Ahab, the king of Israel was not really satisfied with it. He wanted this land back as much as possible and so, he beckoned to Jehoshaphat the King of Judah to go with war with him. He knew getting the territory back would not come easily. He knew the king of Syria would not just let go except they battle for the Ramoth land in Gilead. So, Jehoshaphat said it would not be a problem to go to war with him but first, they must inquire of the Lord whether that was the right thing to do at the time. I mean, this was a matter that would involve about three nations to go head to head. Still, Jehoshaphat would not leave God out of it, even though they had the manpower to go to war.

 

So at the insistence of Jehoshaphat king of Judah, Ahab, king of Israel summoned all his prophets so that they can reveal the mind of God concerning the war they were about to embark upon. Four hundred prophets within the King Ahab's jurisdiction, Ahab summoned them and inquire saying: "Shall I go against Ramoth-gilead to battle or shall I refrain?" And surprisingly, all the four hundred prophets had no contrary opinion as to what the king had inquired. They all said "go up, for the Lord will give it into the hand of the king." This response somewhat looked arbitrary to Jehoshaphat, the king of Judah. He knew immediately that there was something wrong and there was no way all four hundred prophets could have spoken in the like manner.

 

Even though God would have them go to battle, Jehoshaphat knew there could have been one or two out of all the prophets who would have given more details and the intricacies of the journey. And so, Jehoshaphat would not take this decision to go to war hook, line and sinker. He knew immediately that there was a need to double-check this message. And so Jehoshaphat said in verse 7: "Is there not still a prophet of the Lord here, that we may inquire of him?" Now this is the point in Spiritual Leadership that every spiritual leader should be aware of. The need to not rush hastily into taking certain decisions which would probably have a long lasting effect. There is need to check and double-check to really be sure that this is the next move of God.

 

David said "Once have God spoken, twice have I heard that all powers belong to God." Even though God spoke once to David, he said he heard twice; which means that he heard clearly and he was sure that God was the one speaking to him. So Jehoshaphat requested for the ministry of another prophet different from the entire four hundred prophet that had spoken earlier. Jehoshaphat knew that an amorphous mass of men could not have agreed on the same issue. Something was definitely not aligning somewhere. So after insisting, king Ahab reluctantly said to Jehoshaphat; "there is still one man, Micaiah the son of Imlah, by whom we may inquire of the Lord; but I hate him, because he does not prophesy good concerning me, but evil."

 

So, it became apparent from here that Ahab did not like prophet Micaiah because the man was always saying the truth and how he heard God speak to him concerning everything. Micaiah would not manipulate the word of God to suit the narrative of the king. Micaiah would not hear God say "blue" and went ahead to tell the king it was black or light green that God was talking about. He would say it the way God would tell him. Because of this, Ahab did not so much like him because he believed there is never a time he would prophesy goo about him. Apparently, all the other prophets that he had surrounded himself with are the people who would always tell him what he wanted to hear.

 

On the contrary, Micaiah would not always tell him what he wanted to hear, but the real and hard truth. He had been excommunicated from the king because of this reason. But on this particular matter, he remained the only prophet who would tell them what they really needed to hear. But Jehoshaphat did not mind really. All Jehoshaphat cared about was that he would not go to any war unless God sanctioned it. And the truth here is this; nations need prophets like this would rise up and speak truth to power. We have today in the world commonised the office of these spiritual leaders. Some nations don't even reckon with them and that is why they have remained in the mess that they find themselves.

 

Some spiritual leaders too have reduced their own influence and authority simply because they want to appear to be on the side of the authority. Because of the largesse that comes from the government of the day and because of the benefits that many spiritual leaders that God has placed over nations enjoy today, majority of them have remained mute in the face of tyranny, corruption and ineffectiveness within the corridors of power. But Micaiah would not relegate his spiritual authority and leadership because of what he would gain from King Ahab. He would always say the truth come what may. Let us read the rest of this story so that we can see what happened eventually and what Micaiah said when he was summoned.

 

Then the king of Israel called an officer and said, “Bring Micaiah the son of Imlah quickly!” 10 The king of Israel and Jehoshaphat the king of Judah, having put on their robes, sat each on his throne, at a threshing floor at the entrance of the gate of Samaria; and all the prophets prophesied before them. 11 Now Zedekiah the son of Chenaanah had made horns of iron for himself; and he said, “Thus says the Lord: ‘With these you shall gore the Syrians until they are destroyed.’ ” 12 And all the prophets prophesied so, saying, “Go up to Ramoth Gilead and prosper, for the Lord will deliver it into the king’s hand.” 13 Then the messenger who had gone to call Micaiah spoke to him, saying, “Now listen, the words of the prophets with one accord encourage the king. Please, let your word be like the word of one of them, and speak encouragement.” 14 And Micaiah said, “As the Lord lives, whatever the Lord says to me, that I will speak.”

1 Kings 22:9-14

 

Now, the messenger that went to call Micaiah had briefed him how the head of the four hundred other prophets had prophesied and how the other prophets too had agreed with him so that they could encourage the king to embark on the said war. This action became the first indication to Micaiah that something was not adding up somewhere. So, he simply responded by telling the messenger: “As the Lord lives, whatever the Lord says to me, that I will speak.” Let us continue our reading in order to see what Micaiah said concerning the battle they were about to embark upon.

 

Then he came to the king; and the king said to him, “Micaiah, shall we go to war against Ramoth Gilead, or shall we refrain?” And he answered him, “Go and prosper, for the Lord will deliver it into the hand of the king!” 16 So the king said to him, “How many times shall I make you swear that you tell me nothing but the truth in the name of the Lord?” 17 Then he said, “I saw all Israel scattered on the mountains, as sheep that have no shepherd. And the Lord said, ‘These have no master. Let each return to his house in peace.’ ” 18 And the king of Israel said to Jehoshaphat, “Did I not tell you he would not prophesy good concerning me, but evil?” 19 Then Micaiah said, “Therefore hear the word of the Lord: I saw the Lord sitting on His throne, and all the host of heaven standing by, on His right hand and on His left. 20 And the Lord said, ‘Who will persuade Ahab to go up, that he may fall at Ramoth Gilead?’ So one spoke in this manner, and another spoke in that manner. 21 Then a spirit came forward and stood before the Lord, and said, ‘I will persuade him.’ 22 The Lord said to him, ‘In what way?’ So he said, ‘I will go out and be a lying spirit in the mouth of all his prophets.’ And the Lord said, ‘You shall persuade him, and also prevail. Go out and do so.’ 23 Therefore look! The Lord has put a lying spirit in the mouth of all these prophets of yours, and the Lord has declared disaster against you.”

1 Kings 22:15-23

 

So Micaiah went ahead to declare the counsel of the Lord to Ahab and Jehoshaphat concerning what they inquired. But the truth of the matter was that, Micaiah's prohesy was not different really from what the other prophets led by Zedekiah had said really. So, king Ahab became very concerned. He did not believe Micaiah, maybe for the first time, would say something not so much different from the crowd. He did not want to take the prophesy of Micaiah to be truth because he was completely expecting something negative, something different from the man of God. Because of this, Ahab said to Micaiah in verse 16: So the king said to him, “How many times shall I make you swear that you tell me nothing but the truth in the name of the Lord?” The reason is because he wanted to be sure that Micaiah was saying the truth which was not so much different from what others had said.

 

From verse 17, we saw Micaiah now going into the details of what would really befall Ahab and the people if they truly embark on the war. It is not as if God would not deliver Ramoth-gilead into their hands really, but that Israel would remain without a leader for some time because Ahab would not return from that same war. Apart from that, he also went into the details of why his four hundred prophets had prophesied the same thing because God has allowed a lying spirit to manipulate all of them. See what he said: And the Lord said, ‘Who will persuade Ahab to go up, that he may fall at Ramoth Gilead?’ So one spoke in this manner, and another spoke in that manner. 21 Then a spirit came forward and stood before the Lord, and said, ‘I will persuade him.’ 22 The Lord said to him, ‘In what way?’ So he said, ‘I will go out and be a lying spirit in the mouth of all his prophets.’ And the Lord said, ‘You shall persuade him, and also prevail. Go out and do so.’ 23 Therefore look! The Lord has put a lying spirit in the mouth of all these prophets of yours, and the Lord has declared disaster against you.”

 

So Jehoshaphat knew something was wrong initially in the way and manner that the prophets have all said the same thing without any disagreement whatsoever. He knew it was not supposed to come so smoothly like that and that something must have been wrong somewhere. If there is anything we must pick from what Jehoshaphat did, it is in the fact that spiritual leaders must be sensitive enough to know when things are right and when they are not right. When everyone around you begins to say the same thing, hailing you and telling you to move forward, then know something somewhere is not adding up. Who would have known that it was a lying spirit from the Lord that has orchestrated events so that Ahab can go into his last battle and die there as prophesied by the Lord?

 

Ahab knew his fate even before embarking on the said journey and what would befall Israel simply because a prophet, a spiritual leader foretold what would before him. But Jehoshaphat's insistence paid off. He knew he would go to the battle with Ahab and nothing evil would befall him. He was not just acting on impulse, he was acting on the word and the instructions of God. Let us read further what eventually befall Micaiah for declaring the counsel of God and what spiritual leaders must take from this when it comes to speaking about your nations and speaking truth to power. Sometimes, it comes with a negative consequence, and this we are about to find out.

 

Now Zedekiah the son of Chenaanah went near and struck Micaiah on the cheek, and said, “Which way did the spirit from the Lord go from me to speak to you?” 25 And Micaiah said, “Indeed, you shall see on that day when you go into an inner chamber to hide!” 26 So the king of Israel said, “Take Micaiah, and return him to Amon the governor of the city and to Joash the king’s son; 27 and say, ‘Thus says the king: “Put this fellow in prison, and feed him with bread of affliction and water of affliction, until I come in peace.” ’ ” 28 But Micaiah said, “If you ever return in peace, the Lord has not spoken by me.” And he said, “Take heed, all you people!”

1 Kings 22:24-28

 

When it comes to speaking the truth to power for a spiritual leader, it is not without its own consequences. Many men and women of God today will not address the ills befalling their nations simply because they don't want to be labeled "anti government" or be strip off of certain benefits they enjoy from the government. And as a result of this, evil persists in the land because good men, spiritual leaders refused to do something. Micaiah would not mind the consequences of his prophesy to Ahab, but he still went ahead to declare the counsel of God. He was imprisoned for speaking the mind of God and afflicted. But he will still not bother because he knew he had delivered the message of God to Ahab. With the message from the mouth of Micaiah, Ahab still would not desist from embarking on the war because the Lord has prepared his destruction. He even said so boldly that Micaiah should be punished till return in peace. But we read he never returned.

 

"So the king of Israel and Jehoshaphat the king of Judah went up to Ramoth Gilead. 30 And the king of Israel said to Jehoshaphat, “I will disguise myself and go into battle; but you put on your robes.” So the king of Israel disguised himself and went into battle. 31 Now the king of Syria had commanded the thirty-two captains of his chariots, saying, “Fight with no one small or great, but only with the king of Israel.” 32 So it was, when the captains of the chariots saw Jehoshaphat, that they said, “Surely it is the king of Israel!” Therefore they turned aside to fight against him, and Jehoshaphat cried out. 33 And it happened, when the captains of the chariots saw that it was

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not the king of Israel, that they turned back from pursuing him. 34 Now a certain man drew a bow at random, and struck the king of Israel between the joints of his armor. So he said to the driver of his chariot, “Turn around and take me out of the battle, for I am wounded.”

35 The battle increased that day; and the king was propped up in his chariot, facing the Syrians, and died at evening. The blood ran out from the wound onto the floor of the chariot. 36 Then, as the sun was going down, a shout went throughout the army, saying, “Every man to his city, and every man to his own country!” 37 So the king died, and was brought to Samaria. And they buried the king in Samaria. 38 Then someone washed the chariot at a pool in Samaria, and the dogs licked up his blood while [c]the harlots bathed, according to the word of the Lord which He had spoken. 39 Now the rest of the acts of Ahab, and all that he did, the ivory house which he built and all the cities that he built, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Israel? 40 So Ahab rested with his fathers. Then Ahaziah his son reigned in his place."

1 Kings 22:29-39

 

Why did I share this story with us? It is so that we can see the role of Spiritual Leadership in nation building or national transformation. God did not just plant you over that nation, over that people as their spiritual leader for the sake of being referred to as one, no! Your role as a spiritual leader in your nation, in your community goes beyond just leading the people. You have to see toward the growth and effectiveness of your nation in your lifetime. There is a statement made by Pastor Tunde Bakare one time like that to President Muhammadu Buhari in one of his nation address titled "Roadmap to Successful Change" in 2017, two years after president Buhari became the president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. He said:

 

"Mr. President must galvanize his team to get the job done; square pegs in round holes must be removed or put in appropriate places; the wicked who surround the righteous must be led away from the presence of the king. Those who cannot stand the heat must get out of the kitchen. It is time to demonstrate leadership, wise judgment and astute public policy that guarantees stable and prosperous nationhood upon a foundation of peace; it is time to build a well-ordered nation with strong institutions dispensing justice; it is time to arise with patriotic zeal to build a great nation such that, years from now, generations yet unborn will look back at their history, not with disdain, but with gratitude to God that our generation preceded theirs."

 

This statement exactly demonstrate what it means to speak truth to power. If men and women of God in Nigeria today would constantly hold government accountable and demand a better society from there, I believe Nigeria would make tremendous progress. The role of spiritual leaders is not only limited to the people of God alone, it is also to their nation. Men and women in these positions of leadership must rise and take charge in their nations as well. Even though they are not political leaders in that manner, they must never be afraid to declare the counsel of God concerning their political leaders, just as Micaiah did in the time of Ahab, king of Israel. They must never be afraid to say what God is saying per time concerning their nations. Even if it would result in them being jailed or being imprisoned, they should never mind. This is why God has raised them up in the first place.

 

We can go on and on to cite some other examples in the Bible, but I believe that this the Lord has helped me to put here is succinct enough to drive home the point that spiritual leaders also have a role to play in the transformation of their nation.

 

Thank you!


Thanks for the gift of your time, I am Obayomi Abiola Benjamin!

Feel free to share your thoughts or testimony with me in the comment box below. I promise to respond to them as soon as possible!


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Word of Confession: (Optional)

Lord Jesus, I confess to you that I have sinned against the LORD God - in the rebellion of my heart, I have disappointed your expectations on my life. I have fallen from Your grace and followed wrong influences around me. Today, I retrace my steps back to you - and I ask that in your mercy you accept me as your son and give to me (again) the promise of the Father - the Holy Spirit. Lord Jesus, please, come and make my heart your home, and from there rule in the affairs of all men. In Jesus Name I have prayed.



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Spiritual Leadership National Transformation Nation BuildingApril2020


Character (Self) transformation comes before National Transformation. If God cannot CHANGE you, He cannot use you to CHANGE others!


Published: Gboyega Adedeji | Friday 27th September 2019


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Character (Self) transformation comes before National Transformation. If God cannot
  Character (Self) transformation comes before National Transformation. If God cannot
  Character (Self) transformation comes before National Transformation. If God cannot
  Character (Self) transformation comes before National Transformation. If God cannot
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