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  • Writer's pictureAlan Fong

Failed Leadership

Today’s Verse:

Dan shall judge his people, as one of the tribes of Israel. Dan shall be a serpent by the way, an adder in the path, that biteth the horse heels, so that his rider shall fall backward. ~Genesis 49:16-17


Richard M. Nixon was the 37th President of the United States. During his two terms, he championed several accomplishments that gave him a feared respect among global leaders. Sadly, he resigned from the office of President due to the Watergate scandal. This scandal overshadowed the many good things he did as President. Mention Mr. Nixon’s name, and the Watergate scandal is what people remember most. In many ways, Mr. Nixon is remembered as a leader who failed. This morning, we are looking at Jacob’s son, Dan. He, too, represents failed leadership.

We see a positional SIGNIFICANCE.

“Dan shall judge his people.” Leadership is the ability to influence other people to buy into your idea, to contribute to your cause, to follow your path, or to do what you say. Leaders are noted for their persuasive power. The judges of Israel presided over the affairs of the nation. They dealt with all civil, criminal, and spiritual matters. They always had the final word on a matter brought to them. They had the approval of God and of the people to serve in this role. Samson was a descendant of the tribe of Dan, and was one of its most prominent judges. Leaders must be respected in order for people to voluntarily follow. They must be men who are honest and of good report. Leaders are men who hold a positional significance.

We see a perilous STYLE.

“Dan shall be a serpent by the way, an adder in the path, that biteth the horse heels, so that his rider shall fall backward.” Dan’s leadership style is described as stealthy, as a serpent by the way. He did things with an element of surprise. He is described as being deceptive and subtle. This description is a picture of leadership that takes advantage of others. It uses leadership to accomplish a personal agenda instead of seeking to transform followers into leaders. Samson was entrusted with the position of Judge of Israel. Sadly, he used his office to satisfy his lustful appetites. He placed the Israelites at risk to their enemies. As leaders, we must place our followers’ interests and needs above ours, and be careful not to lead them down a wrong path.

We see a poisonous STUMBLINGBLOCK.

Years later, the city of Dan became one of two locations for the worship of golden calves. Golden calf worship became the bane of the Israelites, and eventually led to their destruction as a nation. Idol worship was a serpent by the way, an adder in the path that biteth the horse heels, so that his rider shall fall backward. Idol worship bit the Israelites and made them fall backwards. King Jeroboam, who established Dan as one of the centers of worship, was a stumblingblock to Israel and its love for God. A stumblingblock influences the weak conscience of others down a pathway of sin and heartache.

Failed leadership is a breach of trust. It is an abuse of power that has been entrusted. It is a flagrant misuse of one’s influence. It was Samson losing his power and not knowing it was gone. It was David using his position to satisfy his desires and eventually causing those closest to him to diminish their trust in him.

Leadership is a privilege. As leaders, we must work hard at keeping trust. Our influence is too valuable and important to throw away. Be a leader who is a blessing and leads others to accomplish more in their lives.

Have a faithful God Morning!

Bible Reading Schedule: Judges 13-15

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