The first chapter of Judith opens up with a powerful + shocking intro.
King Nebuchadnezzar wages war against King Arphaxad. He orders people to fight for him, but they refuse.They’re not afraid of him and sent back his messengers empty-handed.King Neb is, obviously, outraged + furious. How dare they turn down a king. How DARE they!
Well, that didn’t stop King Neb from raiding Ecbatana and killing Arphaxad. But what’s the REAL takeaway from this first chapter?Well, here is a figure of authority + power gone completely haywire. Downright crazy-pants. He’s stubborn, tyrannical, and proud. He is so full of himself that when he doesn’t get things his way, he will wage war. You’ll see later on in this study just how far he takes his anger.
But you can tell that he’s not someone who takes no for an answer. He killed Arphaxad anyway, and he’s getting ready for something even more fiery (1:12).
Do you know people like that? Sure you do.
We see people in government, business, education, even ministry — any one who is in a position of leadership + influence. When they have reached a certain high point in their careers, they’re overcome with power that they ABUSE it.
I’ve been blessed in my young life to have been in numerous leadership positions. I've been a drum major (leading a marching band of 100) and president of several organizations from as early as middle school to college.In leading others and being the face of those organizations, I learned some truly life-changing lessons on leadership. The biggest one that has stayed with me to THIS very day is this --To be a leader is to be of service.
SERVICE. To get down in the trenches with the people you’re leading. To have compassion for them, their fears, their weaknesses. To empower, strengthen, and support.
Unfortunately, King Neb lost sight of this. He was so concerned with his power and glory that he forgot what it meant to be a leader. All he cared about was building his own kingdom, and he did whatever it took to get there. What does this have to do with being a Christian? EVERYTHING.
As Christians, we are ALL leaders. We’re all called to be of service. If you’re in a position of leadership — at work, in ministry, in your community, or even at home with your family — you have the responsibility of empowering + strengthening those around you in a godly way.
And their attitude is a reflection of your leadership. In this chapter, we see that the people refused to listen to King Neb, and you have to ask, WHY? Why did they have this attitude towards this king? It’s simple — they did not respect him. They had no reason to.
As Christians, we’re faced every day with criticism from non-Christians, and to be honest, from each other. Whether it’s how we parent, if we smoke cigars, have tattoos, etc. people judge us for not being “perfect” Christians. But a sign of our character + leadership is how we respond to criticism. King Neb responded with anger and swore to take revenge. How about you? What action step can you take today to be of service to the people you lead?
I encourage you to prayerfully offer up your leadership to God. That He will grant you wisdom, patience, compassion, and humility to truly be of service to His people. So that we can all build His Heavenly Kingdom, not ours.
Peace be with you, my gorgeous faithful sister.