Leadership Lessons from King Asa

King Asa of Juda Destroying the Idols (16th Century) by François de Nomé

King Asa was the third king of the southern kingdom of Judah, living from around 913 BC to 873 BC (An account of his life is in 2 Chronicles 14-16). He was a godly leader known for his revival of true worship in the country. Towards the close of his 41-year reign, however, Asa turned  away from following God. While reflecting recently on his commendable legacy and tragic decline, I could discern certain lessons on leadership.

1. Until we have leaders who genuinely pursue change, regardless of personal interests, our nation will remain the same. Asa’s commitment to restoring righteousness was such that he could depose his own mother when she set up an idol.

Even Maacah, his mother, King Asa removed from being queen mother because she had made a detestable image for Asherah. Asa cut down her image, crushed it, and burned it at the brook Kidron. (2 Chronicles 15:16)

His priority was for God’s glory and the good of his people.

2. As you progress in leadership, your commitment to principles wanes. You must fight to remain steadfast. You must fight to maintain them.

3. The challenge of leadership is not in starting; many bad leaders began well. The challenge is in maintaining the momentum, preserving the commitment to truth and righteousness, upholding the devotion to principles, sustaining the passionate care for others above oneself. Leadership, in other words, is dogged faithfulness.

4. The leader who desires to maintain an enduring legacy must seek God’s help. The pitfalls are too many. So many things are stacked against you. And your intelligence, zeal, and character alone will not keep you.

Or do you have eyes at the back of your head? Can you read the minds of your partners and team members? Can you gauge the motives of fans and supporters? Are you privy to the plans and schemes of Satan? Do you know what the conditions of society or the church will be in the next 2 years. Can you even predict tomorrow?

But there is a God who knows all things. If you rely on him, he can help you navigate them. He can help you make decisions today that will seem prescient tomorrow. The best part is that when you are in covenant with this God through Christ, he makes himself your shepherd. And he himself leads you in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake (Psalm 23:3). Where Asa failed, you can succeed.


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