Listen to this blog post which will, at a future date, be added to The Explanation Podcast
Leaders and followers and their relationships. How to organize all levels of the population in a nation.
For any successful venture, leaders and followers must have a way to communicate and cooperate. Solve this dilemma. A bus full of fifty tourists with one guide. They get off for a visit and the guide gives them 30 minutes of free-time before leaving for the next destination. How does the guide verify ALL passengers are onboard BEFORE departure? The guide does this in TEN SECONDS. How?
I once read a story of a scuba-diving tourist boat with about 70 people aboard that spent the afternoon at sea. Everybody enjoyed exploring the marine flora and fauna, and the boat arrived back in port. The next day, as they were cleaning the boat, they found some clothing and ID under a seat. They’d left ONE diver out at sea!!! It has a happy ending because the story is about how the diver survived his night afloat in the middle of nowhere. There was a problem between leaders and followers on this excursion.
Here’s a Bible Proverb, “The king that faithfully judges the poor, his throne shall be established for ever,” Pro. 29:14.
How can a king judge a poor person? All nations have MANY poor. How can a king judge MANY poor?
Leaders and followers can be in different worlds. Certainly, a king and a pauper are. In a nation of one, fifty, two hundred million, or more subjects, how do you communicate and cooperate? A king and a pauper will NEVER meet. Palaces and slums don’t mix.
The Explanation broaches this subject of communication between top leadership and street citizens in the organization of a country. How can the top be in touch with the bottom? By saying bottom, I do not intend to be pejorative, we all know the chasm between high-level administration and the person-on-the-street. Although, yesterday, French President Macron visited a few flood-devasted towns in the SE of France and talked directly with the victims.
Does the Bible say anything about such a complex, yet down-to-earth subject? Many consider the Bible an antiquated collection of folkloric fiction. A book written in the dinosaur age that cannot have an application in 21st century civilization. Nothing could be further from reality. We’re going to see some practical wisdom about leaders and followers.
As we approach this subject, we have to define some basic principles. What characterizes a leader? What are their real goals and aspirations? If we don’t establish real leadership qualities then we’re wasting our time. Our leader must be a genuine leader!
When is comes to leaders and followers, a leader knows they’ll have ALL types and classes of followers. Age differences, cultural, racial, backgrounds, intelligence, you name it. The chief-of-state must have a plan that encompasses ALL the strata under their leadership. In Audit of Humankind, there’s a chapter entitled Government for the People is also Concern for the Poor. We’re not just referring to the monetarily poor, there are also poor education, poor health and other poor areas. This is the relationship that leaders and followers must develop. The King and the pauper.
A leader has a strong plan and communicative conviction that includes all people.
Here’s an interview with Carlos Tavares, who brought the automobile manufacturing company Peugeot in France, back from bankruptcy. I suggest you read the entire article about leadership. However, concentrate on the principles he highlights regarding relations and communication between leaders and followers. This quote reveals a given. FIRST, you’ve got to have a competent leader.
Head of a Car company (Tavares) who started at shop level and can discuss the inwards of motors!
Tavares: A project should unite people and constitute an essential lever for attaining one or more objectives. Even the best plan will never reach its full potential if it is not put into perspective, patiently explained, and executed with discipline and focus at all times. A project rarely brings about the ultimate performance by itself, nor does it cement the group, unless a leader brings it to life.
Create the Team
Leaders and followers, two groups of people, both in plural. A leader with a BIG idea cannot do it alone. S/he needs an organization, sometimes a vast organization. All sorts of questions arise. How do you recruit? How do you develop? You can’t do it alone. How do you grow the organization? And our key question today, how do you set-up and always maintain that communication between the upper and lower echelons, all echelons of the organization?
The goal of this article is to point out practical Bible wisdom. It’s in Exodus with Moses. He was the leader of some 600,000 people (Ex. 12:37) whom he’d lead into the desert under God’s guidance. Through him, God revealed the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20) and all the statutes (Ex. 21-23) that permitted this nation of people to live harmoniously.
They were divided into 13 groups called tribes. The basis is the 12 sons of Jacob. However, there are 2 modifications. One son, Joseph, had his tribe divided in two: Manasseh and Ephraim. Which makes 13 tribes. However, one tribe, Levi, became the spiritual representatives of the nation. They did not receive a territory, but rather cities in the territories of the remaining 12 tribes. The narrative of the organization of Levi in relation to the other tribes is a story in itself. It also contains much practical Bible wisdom.
Moses was the leader of the leaders (Numbers 1) of these thirteen tribes of followers. How do you structure such a group?
Exodus 18 is the answer to top-down government. I hear you, in the West, we have democracy, which is bottom up governance. True, but can you apply the principles of top-down leadership? Definitely. Because once the elections are over, you have a top-down structure. It’s a matter of placing the right people in the right governmental positions.
In Ex. 18, two points are obvious. God Is in charge and He’s appointed Moses as the human leader of the nation. Moses’ father-in-law meets him in the desert.
1 When Jethro, the priest of Midian, Moses’ father in law, heard of all that God had done for Moses, and for Israel his people, and that the LORD had brought Israel out of Egypt;
6 And he said unto Moses, I thy father in law Jethro am come unto thee, and thy wife, and her two sons with her. 7 And Moses went out to meet his father in law, and did obeisance (H7812), and kissed him; and they asked each other of their welfare; and they came into the tent.
There are multiple good and bad examples of how to lead one’s life in the Old and New Testament. It goes without saying what we are to do and not to do. Moses conduct is exemplary. His father-in-law, Jethro, is a priest of Midian. Go to unlockbiblemeaning.com and study Midian. You will see that their religion has nothing to do with Old Testament Israel practices. Yet, the leader of a major nation, Moses, paid homage (obeisance – H7812) to this man. This reveals Moses’ humility, these two men were close to one another with an excellent relationship. This difference of religious opinion did not cause a rift between them.
In fact, the Israelite Exodus experience opened the mind of Jethro because he came to see who the true God is. “Now I know that the LORD is greater than all gods: for in the thing wherein they (the Egyptians) dealt proudly he was above them” (verse 11). What transpired in this episode was beneficial to both men. It is this reciprocal relationship that sets the stage for a change in the governing of a nation. Now for the leaders and followers.
13 And it came to pass on the morrow, that Moses sat to judge the people: and the people stood by Moses from the morning to the evening.
14 And when Moses’ father in law saw all that he did to the people, he said, What is this thing that you do to the people? why sit you yourself alone, and all the people stand by thee from morning unto even?
15 And Moses said to his father in law, Because the people come to me to inquire of God:
16 When they have a matter, they come to me; and I judge between one and another, and I do make them know the statutes of God, and his laws.
In one word, there was a problem of a long, long waiting line. It reminds me of lines outside stores when rationing of foodstuff was in effect, or now with COVID-19 with only so many people allowed in stores, while others form long lines outside. You know what it’s like just to stand in a queue waiting for a cashier. Here was Moses, ALONE teaching AND judging 600,000 people, Imagine how long EACH case must take. Jethro immediately saw the problem and proposed a leaders and followers solution.
18 You wilt surely wear away, both you, and this people that is with you: for this thing is too heavy for you; thou are not able to perform it yourself alone.
19 Hearken now unto my voice, I will give you counsel, and God shall be with you: Be you for the people to God-ward, that you may bring the causes to God:
20 And you shall teach them ordinances and laws, and shall shew them the way wherein they must walk, and the work that they must do.
21 Moreover you shalt provide out of all the people able men, such as fear God, men of truth, hating covetousness; and place such over them, to be rulers of thousands, and rulers of hundreds, rulers of fifties, and rulers of tens:
22 And let them judge the people at all seasons: and it shall be, that every great matter they shall bring to you, but every small matter they shall judge: so shall it be easier for yourself, and they shall bear the burden with you.
23 If you shall do this thing, and God command you so, then you shall be able to endure, and all this people shall also go to their place in peace.
There is more common sense and wisdom in these six verses in the Old Testament than in a lot of leadership books. This is practical hands-on, how-to-do information. This has NOTHING to do with worshipping God or how Godly or not Godly a nation is. This is valid for ALL nations today. Why do you think the author devotes a WHOLE chapter to this subject? For our instruction.
What’s going on here?
Delegation down to street level. Rulers over ten.
If you want to have a personal relationship with people, ten individuals is about the maximum. This responsibility is undoubtedly community service on top of your own social life, profession, family. These people were not full-time. There were full-time leaders, the Levites, but that’s another story.
This is a pyramidal structure. From 10 to 50, 100 and 1000. At ground-level, If we have a leader of ten, then the leader of 100 would work with only those first 10 leaders. Likewise, with the leader of 1000, they’d only work with the ten leaders over the 100. If you continue in a leadership structure you’d have 10, 100, 1000, 10000, 100000, 1000000, that means 6 levels to govern a million people. And eight levels to rule one hundred million people.
In this scenario, Moses with 600000 people = 100000 x 6, means he’d have direct contact with only SIX governors. Totally realistic, and each of those leaders would only work with 10 people under them. Leaders are counselors and with 10 subordinates you can take the necessary time to give each one the attention they need. This is how the King is aware of the pauper. There’s a responsible communication channel.
Here, we’re talking about citizen’s needs. We’re not talking about national needs like military or infrastructure for transport or hospitals. Moses was handling citizen needs, and Jethro showed him how to relieve himself of this burden.
Note the benefits.
- You shall endure. No burnout for Moses.
- They shall bear the burden with you. Delegation via a leader development program.
- People shall also go to their place in peace. The citizens know they are heard and cared for.
This is a win-win-win situation. A nation well-governed. Prospects of peace and prosperity. This is practical Bible wisdom.
Reputation of these leaders at ALL levels.
Leaders are to fear God, men of truth, hating covetousness (verse 21). I just wrote above that this concerns all nations, Godly and not Godly. Again, draw on the principle. Even if many people are not Godly inclined in our society, they can still have values and morals. It is those people who we seek as leaders.
Did you notice TRUTH? A big five letter word today. In an era of post-truth, in certain countries we might have gone past the point of no return. Here’s a definition of post-truth,
Post-truth politics is a political culture in which debate is framed largely by appeals to emotion disconnected from the details of policy, and by the repeated assertion of talking points to which factual rebuttals are ignored.
If there’s no TRUTH in leadership, it’s a lost cause. This quality is fundamental. It goes hand-in-hand with FACTS and HATING COVETOUSNESS. Out with bribes, lobbies, influencers. In with facts and competent advisors. Here’s practical Bible wisdom in three words, truth, hating covetousness.
Citizens would have a very favorable and appreciable approach to such benevolent oversight.
Moses, the Teacher.
Moses had a primordial role. He was not just a Head-of-State, in the sense of governing. His number one goal, as Jethro pointed out, “you shall teach them ordinances and laws, and shall shew them the way wherein they must walk, and the work that they must do”
Remember what Carlos Taveres said, “Even the best plan will never reach its full potential if it is not put into perspective, patiently explained, and executed with discipline and focus at all times. A project rarely brings about the ultimate performance by itself, nor does it cement the group, unless a leader brings it to life.”
Jethro liberated Moses from the tasks other people could handle. He needed to get back to leadership. And that means patiently explaining, bringing to life. We’re talking about motivation and guidance. That’s the lot of a real leader, to articulate the GLOBAL PROJECT and handle the overriding issue, which the lower echelon leaders brought to him.
As an aside, that’s exactly what the Bible is, the story of humankind. It starts with the creation of man and woman and ends with all humans transformed in spirit beings. The Bible covers God’s project for humans, a project that lasts 7000 years. But has implications for all of eternity. And the role of God’s delegated Ministers is to PATIENTLY PREACH that PROJECT. It is to articulate HOW God’s people are to walk and what they must do. I leave you with that meditation.
You have to prepare your leadership, one by one, little by little. When you look at an overview of God’s plan, that’s exactly what’s happening. The first key leader was Abraham, the father of he faithful. There were others before him like Enoch and Noah, but Abraham started the first leader-example NATION (Deuteronomy 4). Christ founded the first Spiritual Leadership School, His Church of which He’s the Founder and Headmaster, the Foundation and the Capstone, the Alpha and the Omega.
Look at what Carlos Tavares, General Director of Peugeot Automobiles, has to say about collective leadership. It’s a question of leaders and followers, plural.
You might think I’m mixing apples and pears, commercial and spiritual. Yes, but that’s simply to show you how practical the Bible is. Leadership experts have discovered working principles. God recorded them and puts them into action over millennia.
Collective leadership provides the momentum that reinforces innate, sometimes unconscious self-confidence within each leader. It is the catalyst that creates systematically more space for everybody’s potential. It also boosts performance, making it possible to deliver more than the sum of all the individual potentials.
Collective leadership also allows a team to set ambitious objectives that make the company grow, even if these are only partially attained. However, this requires work. Everything needs to be just right, and you must create the conditions that will enable each player along the value chain to act as a leader instead of a follower. A leader’s ultimate satisfaction comes from driving a group of individuals towards an ambitious, perhaps even seemingly unrealistic, goal, and from experiencing the shared pleasure of reaching or even surpassing this goal.
The Father doesn’t call people just for the people themselves. Christianity is not a private-personal-isolated endeavor. His Church is preparing Kings and Priests, in modern language, leaders and followers are to come.
God starts forming leaders from the top down. Christ came to form His top echelon leaders, the Apostles. They, in turn, form those who work in the Ministry, Evangelists, Pastors and then there are Elders in various places as well as deacons. The breadth and depth of leadership necessary to manage a Church, an organization, that starts our small but gets larger and larger over time.
I’m sure you get the idea. First leaders and followers afterwards. This next passage is prophetic. It’s after Christ’s Return, during the Millenium when people will come out of probably the darkest moment of human history and begin to live in peace, real peace. That quietude will exist because God’s way of life will be present on Earth. In particular, because correctly trained teachers, leaders (that’s what a teacher is) will be there to guide the people.
19 For the people shall dwell in Zion at Jerusalem: you shalt weep no more: he will be very gracious to you at the voice of your cry; when he shall hear it, he will answer you.
20 And though the Lord give you the bread of adversity, and the water of affliction, yet shall not your teachers be removed into a corner any more, but your eyes shall see your teachers:
21 And your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, This is the way, walk you in it, when you turn to the right hand, and when you turn to the left.
As Jethro told Moses, “shew them the way wherein they must walk, and the work that they must do.” So those prepared leaders and followers will cooperate in a very personal way, “this is the way, walk you in it.”
From the way Moses and Christ, during His Ministry, and in the Millennium, develop and organizes leaders throughout His people, we know and learn the practical Bible relationship between leaders and followers.
How can the guide know everyone is onboard the bus in ten seconds? Well, the leader has delegated leaders and followers. The 50 passengers form groups of 3 (or 4, but not 2). The only stipulation is that the group of 3 can NOT include someone you’re travelling with (husband, wife, friend), it must be someone you don’t know. On departure, each person must look the other two in the eye, no guessing, thus knowing they’re present. Each passenger is responsible for the presence of two others. Two glances in ten seconds and we’re off to our next destination.
Dig Deeper into The Explanation
Join The Explanation Newsletter to stay informed of updates. and future events. No obligations, total privacy, unsubscribe anytime, if you want.
Online Study Courses to Unlock Bible meaning via Biblical Hebrew… with no fuss. Free video courses that put you in the driver’s seat to navigate the Bible as never before. Join now
The Explanation series of seven books. Free to read online or purchase these valuable commentaries on Genesis 1-3 from your favorite book outlet. E-book and paperback formats are available. Use this link to see the details of each book and buy from your favorite store.
Since you read all the way to here… you liked it. Please use the Social Network links just below to share this information from The Explanation, Leaders and Followers. Organization. Practical Bible Wisdom.