“And they have thrown the gods of these nations into the fire and burned them. But of course the Assyrians could destroy them! They were not gods at all—only idols of wood and stone shaped by human hands. Now, O Lord our God, rescue us from his power; then all the kingdoms of the earth will know that you alone, O Lord, are God.” ~ Isaiah 37:19-20
When, like King Hezekiah, you are in need of rescue, who do you turn to for help?
Examples are legion of leaders turning to the wrong things to save themselves. In Super Bowl XLIX Peter Carroll turned to the pass when he should have trusted the run. Kodak trusted film more than they trusted the potential of digital. General George Armstrong believed his ego over military reality, and Blockbuster trusted their unproven online ability over Netflix’s offer of a partnership.
As leaders, we must remind ourselves daily that we will be tempted to trust in “idols of wood and stone” of our making instead of God alone.
We are tempted to believe in our “gods” of size, speed, or fame.
We may be tempted to treat our strategy, our significance, our models, our cleverness, and our methods as sources of salvation.
We turn our attendance, our budgets into “gods” that will save us.
We are tempted to look to our social, cultural, political, and economic power as the thing we trust…the “gods” of success.
The world relies on “gods of wood and stone” to save itself.
The world trusts what it can create.
The world trusts size, speed, status, and significance.
The world trusts strategies, methods, and models.
The world trusts intelligence, cleverness, and education.
The world trusts social, cultural, political, and economic influence and power.
The world trusts big budgets and big attendance.
The world makes idols of these things. Good things turned into ultimate things, turned into “god” things. Things made with their own hands, shaped with their own minds, become objects of misshapen and misdirected worship.
But they cannot be trusted. These idols, these “gods” can be burned and destroyed.
We must trust the Lord alone.
What am I trusting in to save me?
Temporal or eternal?
Of my hand or God’s?
Myself or God?
Do I believe in the same “gods” the world is trusting in to save me or bring success?
Why is it that we are confident in ourselves and the idols we have carved with our head, heart, and hands over the God of all creation? Why do we as leaders trust our resources instead of the source?
The battle of a leader is not to produce success, results, or achievements, but for faithfulness, trust, and dependence on God above ourselves. It is to allow God to carve our heart, soul, mind, and strength into an image of Himself instead of allowing ourselves to carve “gods” and idols of our inclination and image.
The leader’s battle is to trust God-directed surrender over personal strength and significance. To identify with God or over and against our idols.
“What fools they are who carry around their wooden idols and pray to gods that cannot save!” Isaiah 45:20