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Ruling from the Heart

January 14, 2010 Leave a comment

Flight into Egypt by He Qi

I’ve decided to cross post the following series on DouglasFloyd.com and at Doug Watching.

Last fall I spoke to several groups on the theme of leadership, power and authority in business, civics, church and family. Instead of using sociology or other social sciences models for leadership, I attempted to think within the framework of Biblica revelation. Starting with a study on Jesus Christ as the fulfillment of Torah, I noticed patterns of contrasting leadership models in the Old and New Testament. For simplification, I focused on the contrast between two Semitic words used for leaders: adon and baal. (For a more complex set of comparison, check out Eugene Peterson’s “Follow the Leader“) ┬áIn Hosea 2:16-17, the Lord rejects the name of baal for himself:

16 “And in that day, declares the Lord, you will call me ‘My Husband,’ and no longer will you call me ‘My Baal.’ 17 For I will remove the names of the Baals from her mouth, and they shall be remembered by name no more. (Hos 2:16-17)

Why does he reject that name? And what might we learn about lordship, rule and authority by contrasting the two words for lord: adon and baal? That’s what I explored in the talks and what I hope to explore in these blog entries. I am also attempting to record each entry, so you can listen along if you choose (provided I figure out the audio upload part).

As you think about the contrast between adon and baal, look at the picture above by He Qi. Jesus, the Lord Supreme of the Universe, is seen as an infant, relying on frail human parents to escape from the threat of the power-mania of Herod. In the background of the same picture, we see the symbol of Egyptian power and rule, a Great Pyramid. This contrast of Jesus, power in embodied in human form, with Egypt, power embodied in overwhelming images, might help us begin to think about adon and baal in our own realms of power relating to family, business, church and civic spheres.

Mp3 Audio of Adon vs Baal part 1

David and Goliath, St. George and the Garden of Eden

August 25, 2008 1 comment

When Goliath challenges Israel, King Saul and the people shrink back in fear (1 Samuel 17:11). Saul’s fear betrays his loss of true authority. He stands head and shoulders above all Israelites, yet he cannot protect his people from the giants in the land.

Goliath stands before Israel clad in “scales of armor.” Peter Leithart emphasize the allusion between Goliath’s scales and the serpent in the garden. Goliath threatens Israel, the beloved, just as the serpent threatened Eve in the garden.

Adam failed his test in the garden, allowing the serpent to attack Eve and not coming to her defense. The image is repeated again her. King Saul, like Adam, is helpless before the threat.

David appears as God’s chosen King. He stands before the serpent and kills it in the name of the Lord. Then what does he do? He cuts off the head. The wicked authority is overthrown, which sends the wicked army into chaos.

As I think about that story and look at the St. George and the dragon icon on my desk, I realize that the St. George story is simply a retelling of the Garden of Eden story yet again. George fights the wicked dragon that threatens the city and rescues the maiden from the dragon’s grasp.

These stories paint a picture of what the true king does. The king and the land are one. He does not act for his own glory, his own power, his own pleasure. He lays down his life to defend the bride, the beloved, from the dragon.

Jesus fulfills this Adamic commission completely, thus He is the true King, the true Adam, the true Messiah. He fights the dragon, lays down his life, and crushes the head of the serpent with His heal. This act of total love does not fail. The Father vindicates the Son on the day of Resurrection by the power of the Spirit.

This pattern of the king laying down his life for the beloved gives us a model of true authority–be it in the home, the business, the church or even the government. Unfortunately, most of us are used to seeing Sauls rule the land. These Sauls are not true shepherds, thus they plunder the beloved.

Think of the CEOs that get rich while their company (and the people in the company) suffer and bleed. These men are not true leaders, but hirelings. Jesus says to the faithful servants, “You were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things.”

Part of this faithfulness includes the willingness to lay down our lives, our reputations, our livelihood for those we lead. Whether it is a father with his family, a manager with her employees, a pastor with his church
or whatever the position of authority.

True authority is revealed in the boldness of David to lay down his life on behalf of the beloved. May the Spirit of Christ raise us up and reveal his true kingly rule and authority in and through us.

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