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Leadership Makes the Difference

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Leadership Makes the Difference

MP3 Audio (21.88 MB)


Leadership Makes the Difference

MP3 Audio (21.88 MB)

Don't fall prey to the spirit of the times. If things are not the way you think they should be in your life, then be a committee of one and make necessary changes. God wants us to stand in the gap.


[Donald Ward] The title today: Leadership Makes the Difference. Leadership makes the difference. How much difference does leadership make in the lives of people? I would say it, basically, makes all the difference in the world. Leadership is a vital component of government – from the individual to the family, from the family to the community, from the community to the city or the county, and from the city or county to the state, and from the state to the nation, and from the nation to the whole world.

An individual, a family, a community, a city, a nation, the world, will always eventually go in the direction of its moral and spiritual leadership. Note what God inspired Solomon to write in Proverbs 29:2. If you would turn to Proverbs 29, and verse 2. Leadership can make all the difference in the world.

Proverbs 29:2 – When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice: but when the wicked beareth rule, the people mourn.

Even if a king, ruler, president, person responsible is not converted, if they teach and live by Godly principles, things will generally go well. God has ordained a hierarchical governmental structure. Now a lot of people don't like to hear that – hierarchical governmental structure – and we will explain more about it. If you turn to 1 Corinthians 11, you'll see it in the Bible. I didn't write it. I wish I had, but I'd have had to be back in the days of Paul – not many Paul’s around – so let's start in verse 1 of 1 Corinthians 11.

1 Corinthians 11:1. Be ye followers of me – of course, one of the great principles with regard to leadership: Before you can be a great leader, many write that you need to become a follower and know how to follow. Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ. Now I praise you, brethren, that ye remember me in all things, and keep the ordinances, as I delivered them to you. But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man, and the head of Christ is God. So he did it in somewhat reverse order. Of course, if you were to look at this in the hierarchical pyramidal kind of structure, you would have God the Father, Jesus Christ, the man, the woman, and of course, the children. And to a large degree, it’s speaking of a family kind of structure, but ultimately, in every kind of governmental structure, eventually, all things will be gathered together under Christ with God at the head. I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man, and the head of Christ is God.

Now does a hierarchical structure mean a dictatorship? Some people, as I said, would immediately ruffle, and of course, whatever the liberal progressives are, they would surely rankle at man being the head of woman. So does a hierarchical structure mean a dictatorship? Now almost every dictatorship in the course of history has ended in disaster – from Cain to Nimrod, to the present time. You could think of Stalin, you could think of Hitler, you could think of Idi Amin, you could think of many different names in more modern times.

Scripture tells us to be submissive one to another. So let's look at that in Ephesians, chapter 5. So even though it is very clear that in the family structure God ordered a hierarchical structure, in the sense that somebody has to lead. Somebody has to be responsible for the overall function of any kind of organized unit, or else you have chaos and confusion. So I want to look now at Ephesians 5, and verse 20.
Ephesians 5:20-24 – Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God. Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church, and He is the savior of the body. Therefore, as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything. Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave Himself for it. That is sacrificial love.

So, someone has to lead. Someone has to exercise vision, set goals, develop strategies for reaching those goals. The Bible outlines a structure of who is responsible, but all Godly authority is supposed to be administered in love – not from “Do you know who is in charge?” point of view. The leader must set the discipline – communicate the consequences for breaking the discipline. God instructed Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden – simple instructions: “Look to Me for the knowledge of good and evil. You may freely eat of every tree in the garden, but of the tree in the midst of the garden – of the knowledge of good and evil – you shall not eat of it.” So here's the instruction setting the discipline: “And the day that you eat therein, you will begin to die.” So you set the discipline. You set the strategy of how to get there. And then you set the consequences if you do not follow the instructions that God has given. So He pronounced the consequences if they disobeyed. So the consequences have to be enforced. A lot of leaders set forth goals and talk about strategies, and yet at the same time, they don't really do what is necessary for those things to be implemented, and if people go astray, they generally don't enforce or cause people to have to deal with consequences. The consequences for Adam and Eve's disobedience was that He drove them out of the garden and cut them off from the tree of life, and pronounced that they would from that point on have to really dig out, eke out – whatever word you want to use – a living from the ground. They were in an ideal environment – apparently just as idyllic as you could get – paradise, as it were – and they couldn't stand prosperity – they couldn't obey God.

God chastens. Let's look at Hebrews 12, and verse 6. God chastens every son that He loves. And of course, one of the problems in today's world is that there are many goals that are set, strategies and programs that are developed. There is really no way that has really been successfully implemented for having to deal with the consequences, other than as we develop more goals, as we pour more money into education, the inner cities, the worse things become. And of course, there is the missing dimension. And that is, the Godly instruction is not given. And then, if it is given, it's not followed and the consequences are not enforced. Then the cry is we need more money. We need more programs.

Hebrews 12:6-8 – For whom the Lord loves He chastens, and scourges every son whom He receives. If ye endure chastening, God deals with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chastens not? But if ye be without chastisement…. See, if there's not the setting of the discipline, how do you get there? And if you don't get there, what is the price that you have to pay? Today, everything is accepted. No one falls. No one fails. You get a trophy for participation. The race might have been 23 miles, but you ran 100 yards. You get the trophy – you participated. See, in the Christian race, you have to finish the race. “He that endures to the end, the same shall be saved.” How many people have started off very well? I used to run the 100-yard-dash in college. I'm really not a 100-yard-dash man, but he put me out there with that – the 100-yard-dash, the 120-high hurdles. So, in the 100-yard dash, I had a good start. At about 30 yards, I would usually be ahead by, maybe, ahead, and at 60 yards everybody on the track passed me. And then, with the high hurdles, those that I didn't knock down, I ran through. It was quite the brutal race. But if you be without chastisement – verse 8 – whereof all are partakers, then are ye illegitimate, and not sons. And then, he uses the example of physical fathers and chastisement. So there has to be evaluation. Honest evaluation is, perhaps, the best for a person to really take stock of his life. And until you honestly evaluate yourself, then there's not much hope. You know, in the famous 12-step program, how do you break addiction – alcoholism, or whatever it is – the first step really is, you've got to come to admit you are what you are. As I understand it – and I've never been to an AA meeting – but one of the main steps is to say, “My name is John Doe. I am an alcoholic.”

Of course, in the Christian life, with regard to making the first step, you have to say, “I am John Doe. I am a sinner.” You have to take stock. Look at Hebrews 11 again – not Hebrews, but 1 Corinthians 11. Again, the latter part of the chapter deals with the Passover and Passover preparation, but this has application for all time in life. We're breaking in on the thought to some degree, but we want to start with verse 28.

1 Corinthians 11:28-34 – But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that drink. We are told in other places – I think in 2 Corinthians – to examine yourself to see whether or not you are in the faith. Now, this is a big part about leadership, because everybody is a leader. You may say, “I'm no leader.” Oh yeah, you are. You are a source of influence to somebody somewhere at sometime. But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup. For he that eats and drinks irreverently, eats and drinks judgment to himself, not discerning the Lord's body. For this cause – because people fail to examine themselves – many are weak and sickly among you, and many are dead. So God steps in. If you won't judge yourself, then God will judge you. For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged. We would not be judged by God. But when we are judged, we are chastened of the Lord – and we just read from Hebrews 12, that God chastens every son that He loves – that we should not be judged with the world. Wherefore, my brethren, when ye come together to eat, wait for one for another. And if any man hunger, let him eat at home – that ye come not together unto judgment. And the rest will I set in order when I come.

So this part about judge yourself – see where you are – judge yourself, with regard to what the Bible says. See, that's a great lesson that Job had to learn. He had to judge himself and justify God. Until we can do that, we make very little progress in our lives.

When leadership breaks down the result is chaos, confusion, moral decay, and disarray. And you see that throughout the world today. The book of Judges describes the consequences of no leadership in several passages. I'll just read the summary passage. If you'll go to Judges – the book of Judges, the last chapter – chapter 21, and verse 25 – Joshua, Judges – Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, 21 – a similar verse appears in 17, 18, 19 – those chapters, but we'll read this in Judges 21, and verse 25.

Judges 21:25 – In those days there was no king – there was no real leadership – in Israel: every man did that which was right in his own eyes.

They had chaos, confusion, things were in a state of decay and disarray. So why are liberal progressives so upset with the leadership of Donald Trump? Well, there are many reasons, and one of the main ones is that he has voiced moral principles that challenge their lifestyles and their way of thinking. They are addicted to the last verse of the book of Judges. “I'm going to do what I want to do, and who are you to judge me?” See, that's been one of the things from Cain and Abel to the present day. “Who are you to tell me how to live my life?” Well, God has given us His handbook of how to live your life. We, who teach and preach, are merely instruments trying to communicate to you how God says that we should lead, how we should live. So in today's world, they are addicted to everybody doing that which is right in his own eyes and let no man judge what you do.

In the millennium, God is going to establish a Godly educational system. He will teach us the discipline. He will instruct us. He will give us the consequences for breaking the discipline and He will enforce it. And people, when they hear something like that in today's world, they are disturbed. So we have people who are college professors, and leaders – the celebrity world – they are so disturbed by the election of someone who would dare to say anything that even remotely hints at “this is the way, walk you in it.”

Look at Isaiah 2. As I said, in the millennium – this is, perhaps, my favorite millennial scriptures right here – Isaiah 2, verse 1. In the millennium, God is going to teach all nations. He is going to instruct them. He's going to tell them how they can reach their goals. And He's also going to tell them what's going to happen to them if they don't.

Isaiah 2:1-3 – The word that Isaiah the son of Amoz saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem. And it shall come to pass, in the last days, that the mountain of the Lord's house – the government of God - shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills, and all nations – great nations, lesser nations, regardless of the geography or political, national structure, the size of the nation, whatever the topography is – and all nations shall flow unto it – no exceptions! All nations shall flow to it. And many people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. And he shall judge among the nations and shall rebuke many people: and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.

Now, if you look at Zechariah – forward several pages here – Zechariah 14 – the last chapter in Zechariah. If nations try to rebel and say, “Well, we're not going to go up to Jerusalem. We're not going to keep the Feast of Tabernacles.” Oh yes, there will be consequences. There will be consequences. In Zechariah, chapter 14, verse 16:

Zechariah 14:16-19 – And it shall come to pass, that every one that is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem shall even go up from year to year to worship the King, the Lord of hosts – the Eternal of hosts – and to keep the feast of tabernacles. Oh yeah, you're going to come. Oh well, let's say they don't come. And it shall be, that whosoever will not come up of all the families of the earth unto Jerusalem to worship the King, the Lord of hosts, even upon them shall be no rain. Consequences. And if the family of Egypt go not up, and come not, that have no rain; there shall be the plague, wherewith the Lord will smite the nations that come not up to keep the feast of tabernacles. This shall be the punishment of Egypt, and the punishment of all nations that come not up to keep the feast of tabernacles.

The teachers will no longer be in the corner. The teachers won’t be the little people quivering in the corner, that the students have ignored and pushed away. Look at Isaiah 30, and verse 20. What's the title that we have today? Leadership Makes a Difference. Leadership makes a difference. In fact, I would say it, basically, makes all the difference. Now in today's world there are situations in which people have grown up in families in which there was not the kind of leadership in the family by the husband, or the wife, or both, and they've been able to examine themselves, and they've been able to come out of it and amount to something, as I say, in life. Of course, there are the exceptions. Generally, we don't preach to the exceptions but to the general rule of things. Here we see in Isaiah 30, and verse 20:

Isaiah 30:20-22 – And though the Lord give you the bread of adversity, and the water of affliction – and there is going to be great tribulation since as never was before the millennium comes – yet shall not thy teachers be removed into a corner any more, but thine eyes shall see thy teachers: And thine ears shall hear a word behind thee, saying, This is the way, walk ye in it, when ye turn to the right hand, and when ye turn to the left. Ye shall defile also the covering of thy graven images. Those things that are not reflective of God's way will be put away. So, in club today, we talked about how that the things in the oval office have been put away – the material the deals with the LGBT agenda, and other items along that line. Another article I read said that all Islamic symbols have been removed. Now we're going to read later how leadership in Israel, when there was a restoration, that those pagan kind of things were put away. Ye shall defile also the covering of thy graven images of silver, and the ornament of thy molten images of gold: thou shalt cast them away as a menstruous cloth; thou shalt say unto it, “Get you out of here and don't have anything to do with ungodly things.”

If we look at the history of humankind – and especially the history of Israel and the church – there were revivals. God raised up leaders at various times who were willing to pursue the truth and God's way above everything else. Whether it be the will of the people or his personal agenda, leaders must pursue with their whole heart God's way above everything else. And if they don't, they are doomed to failure.

Saul's excuse for not obeying God and killing the king and all the animals when he was instructed to go down and to take care of those people – that is, pagans who would not…well they tried to resist Israel coming into the promised land and they were steeped in paganism – they would be better off to await the resurrection, in which God will give them an opportunity… Let's go to 1 Samuel 15, and see why Saul said that he disobeyed. Saul got off to a great start. I mean, the people really loved Saul. He was tall. Saul was tall. Saul was tall. He was a good-looking man. He won several battles right out of the shoot, as it were – getting ahead in the race. But there was some kind of flaw which was revealed with this incident. In 1 Samuel 15, verse 14, we’re basically reading summaries here.

1 Samuel 15:14-18 – And Samuel said, “What means then this bleating of the sheep in mine ears, and the lowing of the oxen which I hear?” And Saul said, “They have brought them from the Amalekites: for the people spared the best of the sheep and of the oxen, to sacrifice unto the Lord thy God; and the rest we have utterly destroyed.” Then Samuel said unto Saul, “Stay, and I will tell thee what the Lord hath said to me this night.” And he said unto him, “Say on.” And Samuel said, “When you were little in your own sight were you not made head of the tribes of Israel and the Lord anointed thee king over Israel? And the Lord sent thee on a journey, and said, ‘Go and utterly destroy the sinners, the Amalekites, and fight against them until they be consumed.’”So then he says, “Why didn't you do it? Why did you rebel against the word of God?” And the answer in a summary is verse 24.

V-24 – And Saul said unto Samuel, “I have sinned: for I have transgressed the commandment of the Lord, and thy words: because I feared the people, and obeyed their voice.”

You see, in the latter days, many shall turn from the faith because iniquity shall abound. See, the peer pressure…and basically, this peer pressure thing has controlled the youth, and now it controls the political leaders. The political correctness controls the whole political agenda and the leadership of the nation. And from reading this, you can understand that God is not very well pleased with this. When the leaders and people of Judah were faced with a decision to crucify Jesus, the righteous king of the Jews, or to release the murderer, they chose to release the murderer.

Now let's look at this. There are some big lessons here. Look at Matthew 27, and this, which I'm going to pursue after this. In Matthew 27, here's Jesus before Pilate. Judas betrayed Him that night. They had the mock trial. Eventually, He was sent to Pilate, because the Jews did not have the authority to put anybody to death. The authorities appointed by the Romans had that authority.

Matthew 27:17-26 – Therefore when they were gathered together, Pilate said unto them, “Whom will ye that I release unto you? Barabbas, or Jesus, which is called Christ?”And Christ literally means the anointed one. For he knew that for envy – for envy – they had delivered him. He was threatening the political, religious structure of the day, and they could not abide that. When he was set down on the judgment seat, his wife sent unto him, saying, “Have thou nothing to do with that just man: for I have suffered many things this day in a dream because of him.” She had had, evidently, nightmares which tormented her to the very marrow of her being. But the chief priests and elders persuaded the multitude that they should ask for Barabbas, and destroy Jesus. The governor answered and said unto them, “Which of the twain will ye that I release unto you?” They said, “Barabbas.” Pilate saith unto them, “What shall I do then with Jesus which is called Christ?” They all say unto him, “Let him be crucified.” And the governor said, “Why, what evil hath he done?” But they cried out the more, saying, “Let him be crucified.” When Pilate saw that he could prevail nothing, but that rather a tumult was made, he took water, and washed his hands before the multitude, (symbolically) saying, “I am innocent of the blood of this just person: see ye to it.” Then answered all the people, and said, “His blood be on us, and on our children.” Of course, they've had a tough road to hoe for 2,000 years. Then released he Barabbas unto them: and when he had scourged Jesus, he delivered him to be crucified. Note they delivered Him because of envy. Cain killed Abel because of envy.

Look at James, chapter 3. See, one of the great problems, historically, with humankind, from Adam and Eve to the present day – oh yes, it has affected the Church of God – to a large degree, our problems and divisions reside in this arena – that of envy – that of wanting to exalt oneself over the other and to put the other person down. If you can find any kink in his so-called armor, let's highlight that.

James 3:13-18 – Who is a wise man and endued with knowledge among you? Let him shew of a good conduct his works with meekness and wisdom. But, if ye have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, glory not, and lie not against the truth. This wisdom descends not from above but is earthly, sensual, devilish. It is from the devil.And one of the reasons why Satan rebelled was out of envy. For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work. But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be entreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy. And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace. If the world could learn that….

See, we often quote Proverbs – “in the midst of counsel, or in the multitude of counsel, there is safety.” Let's turn and read that – Proverbs 11 – and let's note, with almost everything, there is some kind of qualification. We have seen in the annals of human history, very often the masses are wrong. The people very often are wrong. Sometimes the people are right. At the present time, I would say the masses in this nation are wrong, and they want to stop their ears from hearing the truth.

Proverbs 11:14 – Where no counsel is, the people fall: but in the multitude of counselors there is safety. The multitude of counselors.

Also look at Proverbs 24:6. It says something quite similar.

Proverbs 24:6For by wise counsel thou shalt make thy war: and in multitude of counselors there is safety.

We have seen from the scriptures that one must be careful as to which counselors they listen to. Be careful who you listen to. Who are you listening to? I preached sermons out in Houston before the split on – I guess it was Christmas Day, December 2010 – be careful who you listen to. You'd better be sure of your source. There will always be flattering sycophant counselors. Dr. Baker spoke with a little regarding this in recent times. Be careful of sycophant counselors. There will always be flattering, sycophant counselors who are trying to achieve their agenda through flattering the leader. From Satan's rebellion to the present day, that has sadly been the case.

Now, what is a sycophant? A sycophant is a person who acts obsequiously – ob-see-quas-ly. What is obsequiously? It means to flatter; to fawn over; a self-seeker; by analogy, a parasite, who clings to a person of influence or wealth to achieve his personal agenda. That's what a sycophant is. Oh yeah, we have had sycophants in the Church of God. Any leader who is subject to sycophant flatterers is doomed for failure. There is only one way and that's God's way. There's just one way.

Look at Psalms 12, and verse 3. Of course, there are many, many scriptures along these lines, but just a word of caution to every person.

Psalms 12:3The Lord shall cut off all flattering lips, and the tongue that speaks proud things: Who have said, With our tongue will we prevail; our lips are our own: who is lord over us? Well, I can tell you there is a Lord over all of us, and the world is going to find that out. So any sycophant flatterer is doomed for failure.

When Solomon became king of Israel, he prayed to God for wisdom and God's revelation for leading and ruling the people. And once again, leadership and ruling go hand in hand. So let's note one of the key elements of Solomon's prayer. He was made king of Israel in a great leadership role. Let's go to 1 Kings 8:36. We're breaking in on Solomon's great prayer here. There are two prayers of Solomon recorded in 1 Kings. Now one thing about Kings and Chronicles – you find a lot of duplication between Kings and Chronicles. Kings, basically, deals with political, military action of the kings. Okay – the political-military action of the kings. Chronicles, basically, deals with the religious, spiritual activities of the kings.

1 Kings 8:36 – Then hear thou in heaven, and forgive the sin of thy servants, and of thy people Israel, that thou teach them the good way wherein they should walk, and give rain upon thy land, which thou hast given to thy people for an inheritance. Teach them the good way. Then look at verse 54. You should read this whole chapter, of course, and this prayer by Solomon.

V-54 – And it was so, that when Solomon had made an end of praying – remember pray what needs praying, say what needs saying, we're only here a little while. And it was so, that when Solomon had made an end of praying all this prayer and supplication unto the Lord, he arose from before the altar of the Lord, from kneeling on his knees with his hands spread up to heaven. And he stood and blessed all the congregation of Israel with a loud voice saying, “Blessed be the Lord, that hath given rest unto his people Israel, according to all that he promised.Now verse 59:

V-59 – And let these my words, wherewith I have made supplication before the Lord, be nigh unto the Lord our God day and night, that he maintain the cause of his servant, and the cause of his people Israel at all times, as the matter shall require. That all the people of the earth may know…. See, what is the ultimate goal? The ultimate goal is leading to the end of the age, the great tribulation, the battle of the great day of God Almighty, the millennial reign. That all the people of the earth may know that the Lord is God, and that there is none else. Let your heart, therefore, be perfect with the Lord our God, to walk in his statutes, and to keep his commandments, as at this day. And the king, and all Israel with him, offered sacrifice before the Lord.

So Solomon got off to a great start. He prayed what needs praying. He said what needs saying. And the nation, Israel, prospered under Solomon. Even though Solomon eventually failed, because he fell prey to the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the pride of life. The reign of Solomon was a type of the millennium. The name Solomon means peace, and during Solomon's reign, there was great peace and prosperity in the land.

Notice back in 1 Kings, chapter 4, that the millennial symbols that you find in – which we will read in a moment, which we'll find in Isaiah and Micah – are found here – 1 Kings chapter 4, verse 20. What is our title once again? Leadership Makes All the Difference. You can let things go, or you can, as they say, take the bull by the horns, and you can do that which is right. No matter where you find yourself – at what time, what place, what situation – wise as serpents, harmless as doves, but that doesn't mean what a lot of people think it means.

1 Kings 4:20-25Judah and Israel were many, as the sand which is by the sea in multitude, eating and drinking, and making merry. Oh yes. Good times are here again! And Solomon reigned over all kingdoms from the river unto the land of the Philistines, and unto the border of Egypt: they brought presents and served Solomon all the days of his life. And Solomon's provision for one day was thirty measures of fine flour, and threescore measures of meal, ten fat oxen, and twenty oxen out of the pastures, and a hundred sheep, beside harts, and roebucks, and fallow deer, and fatted fowl. For he had dominion over all the region on this side the river, from Tiphsah even to Azzah, over all the kings on this side the river: and he had peace on all sides round about him. And Judah and Israel dwelt safely, every man under his vine and under his fig tree, from Dan even to Beersheba, all the days of Solomon.

So Solomon's reign was a type of the millennium. Now go to Micah, chapter 4, and you'll see…. Now  Micah, chapter 4, is a prophetic description of Millennium – very similar to what we just read here. What's going to make all the difference in the millennium? Well, it's going to be the leadership of God and Jesus Christ and the sons of God, who have been resurrected to serve with Him as kings and priests. You know, in Revelation 20: thrones were cast and sat upon them.

Micah 4:1 – But in the last days it shall come to pass, that the mountain of the house of the Lord – very similar to Isaiah 2 – the mountain of the house of the Lord shall be established in the top of the mountains, and it shall be exalted above the hills; and people shall flow unto it. And many nations shall come, and say, “Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, and to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths.” For the law shall go forth of Zion and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. Almost identical to Isaiah 2. Now here's something that is added that is not in Isaiah 2. Verse 4: But they shall sit every man – similar to 1 Kings, chapter 4:24,25, in the days of Solomon. But they shall sit every man under his vine and under his fig tree. See, this great poverty cycle – the generational cycle of poverty – is going to be broken. God's system of economics is going to be implemented. We had a speech this morning – or this afternoon – in club of the longest war. And he's going to be giving that as a sermonette one of these days here. But they shall sit every man under his vine and under his fig tree, and none shall make them afraid: for the mouth of the Lord of hosts hath spoken it. The Eternal of Hosts. For all people will walk every one in the name of his god, and we will walk in the name of the Lord our God forever and ever.

So Solomon's reign was a type of what is coming. Of course, it was a small geographical area in comparison to all the earth.

At the inauguration of Donald J. Trump, there were three invocations and three benedictions, from various denominations – some male, some female. Of course, all of that could be criticized, but it's quite a break from what's been. It was the most prayers ever at an inauguration. The next morning there was a prayer breakfast at Saint John's Episcopal Cathedral, there nearby the Capitol. In the early days of his presidency, President Trump has often invoked the name of God. Will he succeed? Well, in the early going, it seems that his leadership has caused quite a flurry of excitement, enthusiasm, and energy in the U.S. and even abroad, and on the other hand, tremendous opposition, in which most of the media tends to delegitimize him in every possible way, leaving no negative stone unturned. Today, people cannot abide the words of God. Leaders, including US Presidents and the Pope, are telling people that when all is said and done we worship the same God. No, Allah is not the God. Buddha is not the God. None of the Hindu gods – Krishna or anybody else – is not the God. Maitreya, the god of the new-agers is not the God. God the Father is the God. So today, people cannot abide the words of God. Leaders, including past US Presidents – you can think of one who lives over in the Dallas area – and the Pope are telling people that, when all is said and done, we worship the same God. The Pope is saying that even atheists can be in the Kingdom of God and that he would baptize aliens from space. I can assure you that the only aliens in space or beneath the earth are demons.

You know I don't know whether we're speaking literally or figuratively, where it says in Revelation 9, that the beast that ascends out of the bottomless pit. It says in Revelation, chapter 11, that the beast that ascends out of the bottomless pit kills the two witnesses. So I can assure you that the only aliens in space or beneath the earth are demons. That's not to say that the US does not have some very powerful and strange weapons that may be unleashed one of these days.

You know, it's difficult to understand how far Israel and Judah strayed at times – sometimes hundreds of years – from God – hundreds of years. It was four hundred years between Malachi and John the Baptist – the end of the Old Testament and the beginning of the New Testament. When deliverance and revival came, it was because God raised up a strong leader who fearlessly followed the way of God.

So let's notice what happened under the leadership of Hezekiah. The two books of Kings, once again – Kings – describes, basically – and I'm saying basically – the political, military action of the kings. Chronicles, basically, describes the religious, spiritual activities of the kings. So let's notice Hezekiah's religious, spiritual leadership. Let's go to 1 Chronicles 29, verse 1. Chronicles was probably written by Ezra, who was of the priestly line. Ezra, according to many sources is the one who canonized – brought together many of the scriptures – not the final canonization by any means – but brought together many of the scriptures up to that time. See, Ezra was one of the ones taken to Babylon during the Babylonian captivity and then was one of the ones who returned later on. 1 Chronicles 29 – I said first. I'm sorry, it's second – 2 Chronicles, chapter 29, and verse 1.

2 Chronicles 29:1 – Hezekiah began to reign when he was five and twenty years old, and he reigned nine and twenty years in Jerusalem. So you add 25 and 29, and you see 54. We would consider that quite young today to die. And he did that which was right in the sight of the Lord, according to all that David his father had done. So, he was a descendant of David. He, in the first year of his reign, in the first month, opened the doors of the house of the Lord, and repaired them. Now that's the temple. The temple had been in a state of decay and disarray. They had thrown junk and everything else in there. And they discovered, “Oh, here's the law!” He in the first year of his reign, in the first month, opened the doors of the house of the Lord and repaired them. And he brought in the priests and the Levites, and gathered them together into the east street, And said unto them, “Hear me, ye Levites, sanctify now yourselves” – set yourselves apart – “and sanctify the house of the Eternal” – in other words, “Clean it up” – and carry forth the filthiness out of the holy place. For our fathers have trespassed, and done that which was evil in the eyes of the Lord our God.” He gave a real dark speech, according to what some would call it. Actually, it's a speech of light. “…and have forsaken him, and have turned away their faces from the habitation of the Eternal” – the temple – “and turned their backs. Also, they have shut up the doors of the porch, and put out the lamps, and have not burned incense nor offered burnt offerings in the holy place unto the God of Israel. Wherefore the wrath of the Lord was upon Judah and Jerusalem, and he hath delivered them to trouble, to astonishment, and to hissing, as ye see with your eyes. For, lo, our fathers have fallen by the sword, and our sons and our daughters and our wives are in captivity for this.” Of course, ten tribes were taken already into captivity into Assyria.“Now it is in mine heart to make a covenant with the Lord God of Israel, that his fierce wrath may turn away from us. My sons, be not now negligent: for the Lord hath chosen you to stand before him, to serve him, and that ye should minister unto him, and burn incense.” And the Levites they got busy and they started cleaning up the place.

Now drop down to verse 16.

V-16 – And the priests went into the inner part of the house of the Lord, to cleanse it, and brought out all the uncleanness that they found in the temple of the Lord into the court of the house of the Lord. And the Levites took it, to carry it out abroad into the brook Kidron. Brook Kidron is down there below the Temple Mount. Now they began on the first day of the first month to sanctify, and on the eighth day of the month came they to the porch of the Lord: so they sanctified the house – the temple – of the Lord in eight days; and in the sixteenth day of the first month they made an end. Of course, Passover is supposed to be observed on the fourteenth day of the first month. Then they went into Hezekiah the king, and said, “We have cleansed all the house of the Lord, and the altar of burnt offering, with all the vessels thereof, and the shewbread table, with all the vessels thereof. Moreover, all the vessels, which king Ahaz in his reign did cast away in his transgression, have we prepared and sanctified, and, behold, they are before the altar of the Lord.” Then Hezekiah the king rose early, and gathered the rulers of the city, and went up to the house of the Lord. Leadership makes all the difference. And they brought seven bullocks. And they sacrificed those bullocks.

Look at verse 27:

V-27-28 – And Hezekiah commanded to offer the burnt offerings upon the altar. And when the burnt offerings began, the song of the Lord began also with the trumpets, and with the instruments ordained by David king of Israel. And all the congregation worshiped, and the singers sang, and the trumpeters sounded: and all this continued until the burnt offering was finished. It goes on talking about the great joy in what they did.
You look at verse 36:

V-36 – And Hezekiah rejoiced, and all the people, that God had prepared the people: for the thing was done suddenly. You know, just almost in a matter of days the nation is being turned around. Why? How? Leadership! A person who turns to God with his whole heart.

Chapter 30, verse 1 – You really need to listen closely to this, because it might help you when all is said and done.

2 Chronicles 30:1-5 –And Hezekiah sent to all Israel and Judah – all Israel and Judah – I didn't write it – and wrote letters also to Ephraim and Manasseh, that they should come to the house of the Lord at Jerusalem, to keep the Passover unto the Lord God of Israel. For the king had taken counsel, and his princes, and all the congregation in Jerusalem, to keep the Passover in the second month. They couldn't get everything ready in the first month. The thing was done suddenly. Imagine turning around a nation – the religious, spiritual condition of the nation – in the course of two months. For they could not keep it at that time, because the priests had not sanctified themselves sufficiently, neither had the people gathered themselves together to Jerusalem. And the thing pleased the king and all the congregation. So they established a decree to make proclamation throughout all Israel, from Beersheba even to Dan, that they should come to keep the Passover unto the Lord God of Israel at Jerusalem: for they had not done it for a long time, in such sort as it was written. They might have kept it sort of halfheartedly sometime, but it had been a long time before it was kept the way that was instructed in the books of the law, especially Leviticus. So the posts went with the letters from the king and his princes throughout all Israel and Judah. Now imagine how long the post has been running in the world. This has been circa, 600's – you know, 670, 680 – somewhere along in there – BC, not AD, of course. So the posts went with the letters from the king and his princes throughout all Israel and Judah, and according to the commandment of the king, saying, “Ye children of Israel, turn again unto the Lord God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, and he will return to the remnant of you, that are escaped out of the hand of the kings of Assyria.” So, of course, some escaped at the very beginning. Much and most of the population was taken to Assyria, but some escaped. So the identity of the tribes still there. You remember Anna, the prophetess, of the tribe of Asher – 80 years and so on in the temple – rejoiced when she saw Christ. And be not ye like your fathers, and like your brethren, which trespassed against the Lord God of their fathers, who therefore gave them up to desolation, as ye see. Where are they now? Well, they're in captivity. They're gone. Now be ye not stiffnecked, as your fathers were, but yield yourselves unto the Lord, and enter into his sanctuary, which he hath sanctified for ever: and serve the Lord your God, that the fierceness of his wrath may turn away from you. You want to dwell in the sanctuary at that time. Of course, you could go in there literally – not the Holy of Holies – only the high priest – because that was where God placed His presence. Today, He dwells in the temple, not made by hands – in you. For if ye turn again unto the Lord, your brethren and your children shall find compassion before them that lead them captive, so that they shall come again into this land: for the Lord your God is gracious and merciful, and will not turn away his face from you, if ye return unto him. So the posts passed from city to city through the country of Ephraim and Manasseh even unto Zebulun: but they laughed them to scorn, and mocked them.Nevertheless – not everybody – Nevertheless different ones of Asher and Manasseh and of Zebulun humbled themselves, and came to Jerusalem. Also in Judah, the hand of God was to give them one heart to do the commandment of the king and of the princes, by the word of the Lord. And there assembled at Jerusalem much people to keep the feast of unleavened bread in the second month, a very great congregation. And they arose and took away the altars that were in Jerusalem, and all the altars for incense took they away and cast them into the brook Kidron. Then they killed the Passover on the fourteenth day of the second month. When did they kill it? On the fourteenth! And the priests and the Levites were ashamed, and sanctified themselves, and brought in the burnt offerings into the house of the Lord. And they stood in their place after their manner, according to the law of Moses the man of God: the priests sprinkled the blood, which they received of the hand of the Levites. For there were many in the congregation that were not sanctified: therefore the Levites had the charge of the killing of the passovers for every one that was not clean, to sanctify them unto the Lord. For a multitude of the people, even many of Ephraim, and Manasseh, Issachar, and Zebulun had not cleansed themselves, yet did they eat the Passover otherwise than it was written. But Hezekiah prayed for them, saying, “The good Lord pardon every one that set their heart to seek God.”

So Hezekiah said what needs saying and prayed what needs praying. And Hezekiah was only here for a little while. And he turned the nation around in a short period of time. This shows what leadership can do. Yes, leadership can make all the difference.

Now the question is: Are you – am I willing and prepared to lead? You know, both Moses and Isaiah both protested mightily when they were asked to lead, but later consented after God dealt with them. So do you protest when God's Spirit is knocking on the doors of your heart – tugging on your heartstrings? Are you ready to pray what needs praying and say what needs saying? So don't fall prey to the spirit of the times, that wants to pass the responsibility on to others as they sit in the seat of the scornful. If things are not the way you think they should be, then you can be a committee of one to do what you can do to change things. Don't fall prey to those who sit there in the seat of the scornful and riot in the daytime, while they persuade people to call evil good as we see today.

So God is looking for men and women just like you to stand in the gap, make up the hedge, and pray what needs praying, and say what needs saying, for they know that we're only here for a little while. Some people die and say, “I have no regrets. If I had everything to do over, I'd do it the same way.” Well, I cannot say that. I would not do a lot of things the way I did them in the past. I would do a lot of things differently. And I hope you would too because we have all sinned and come short of the glory of God. But hopefully, we are all judging ourselves, repenting and growing so that we are being conformed to the image of His dear Son, Jesus the Christ.