DON’T LET YOUR FOLLOWERS LEAD YOU ASTRAY

WISDOM FOR LIVING DAILY DEVOTIONAL

FEBRUARY 19, 2024

TOPIC: DON’T LET YOUR FOLLOWERS LEAD YOU ASTRAY

BY T. O. BANSO

“And Moses said to Aaron, ‘What did this people do to you that you have brought so great a sin upon them?’” (Exodus 32:21 New King James Version).  

No leader goes into error alone; he takes his people along. The followers can trust a leader so much that they believe and do everything he says even when he is in error. There have been reports of some religious fanatics who lost their lives because they acted on the strange instructions of their leaders.

Whereas a leader can lead his followers astray, the followers can also lead their leaders astray. A leader could be led astray by what his followers say about him or tell him. He could be led astray by their flattery, wrong advice, or false information they give him. The followers could do it deliberately or ignorantly. Either of them is dangerous to the leader, his assignment, or the organization.

Therefore, a leader, whether in business, ministry, family, or whatever, must be careful so that he is not led astray. He must not always take hook, line, and sinker everything he is told. He must not always believe every story he is told without verifying it. Sometimes the writers or originators could have ulterior motives. They could be using the leader to pursue their selfish agenda or settle scores. Jeremiah 17:9 says, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; who can know it?” (New King James Version). A leader must not only read between the lines; he must also listen to the Holy Spirit who knows all things. Some leaders have fallen because they followed what their subordinates or followers said. Be careful.

Aaron was a leader under Moses, but he listened to the Israelites and led them into idolatry. He made for them the golden calf. Exodus 32:1 says, “Now when the people saw that Moses delayed coming down from the mountain, the people gathered together to Aaron, and said to him, ‘Come, make us gods that shall go before us; for as for this Moses, the man who brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we do not know what has become of him’” (New King James Version).

Please note the phrase “Come, make us gods that shall go before us; for as for this Moses, the man who brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we do not know what has become of him.” The people went to meet Aaron because he was next to Moses, their leader who was not around. He had gone to Mount Sinai to meet with God for forty days and nights. When God finished speaking with him, He gave him the two tablets of the Testimony, tablets of stone, written with the finger of God.

Exodus 24:12-15 says, “Then the Lord said to Moses, ‘Come up to Me on the mountain and be there; and I will give you tablets of stone, and the law and commandments which I have written, that you may teach them.’ So Moses arose with his assistant Joshua, and Moses went up to the mountain of God.  And he said to the elders, ‘Wait here for us until we come back to you. Indeed, Aaron and Hur are with you. If any man has a difficulty, let him go to them.’ Then Moses went up into the mountain, and a cloud covered the mountain” (New King James Version). In the absence of Moses, Aaron and Hur were the leaders.

But because Moses stayed longer than the people had expected, they became impatient and told Aaron to make them gods that would go before them since they didn’t know what had happened to Moses who brought them up out of Egypt. What a ridiculous proposal! Unfortunately, Aaron listened to the people as if he had also been thinking about what they proposed!

Exodus 32:2-6 says, And Aaron said to them, ‘Break off the golden earrings which are in the ears of your wives, your sons, and your daughters, and bring them to me.’ So all the people broke off the golden earrings which were in their ears, and brought them to Aaron. And he received the gold from their hand, and he fashioned it with an engraving tool, and made a molded calf. Then they said, ‘This is your god, O Israel, that brought you out of the land of Egypt!’ So when Aaron saw it, he built an altar before it. And Aaron made a proclamation and said, ‘Tomorrow is a feast to the Lord.’ Then they rose early on the next day, offered burnt offerings, and brought peace offerings; and the people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play” (New King James Version).

From what Aaron said after making the gods for the Israelites, they thought they were worshipping the true God, but their hearts deceived them. Aaron even proclaimed that the next day was “a feast to the Lord.” Which Lord? They had left Egypt but Egypt was still in their hearts. They were used to the gods (idols) people could see and carry about. But the living God is not like those gods. Aaron and the people violated God’s commandment: “You shall not make for yourself a carved image—any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; you shall not bow down to them nor serve them” (Exodus 20:4-5a New King James Version).

Aaron’s sin in leading the people into idolatry showed his weakness, at this time, as a leader. Aaron’s explanation to Moses thereafter about why and how he made the calf did not exonerate him (Exodus 32:22-24). He shouldn’t have yielded to the sinful demand of the people. He shouldn’t have allowed the people to set him against God and his leader and brother, Moses, with whom he had been leading the people.

Remember that Aaron acted as Moses’ spokesman before Pharaoh, and as God performed signs through Moses for the release of the Israelites from Egypt, He also did through Aaron (Exodus 4:30; 7:10-13; 19-21; 8:5-6; 16-17). Sadly, Aaron made for the Israelites the golden calf, which was tantamount to leading the people to rebel against God and Moses, their leader.

While Moses was on the mountain, God talked to Moses about Aaron, among other things. He told him to consecrate him and his sons as priests (Exodus 28:1-42; 29:1-37). But Aaron, who was with the people, led them into idolatry because they asked for it. Thank God that he was not disqualified because of this. God wanted to destroy Israel but didn’t because of  Moses’ intercession.

A leader must guide against his followers leading him astray. While a leader must listen to his followers, he must know that they are not always right. In the case of the Israelites, what they asked Aaron to do was not only wrong but it was also a sin. “And Moses said to Aaron, ‘What did this people do to you that you have brought so great a sin upon them?’” (Exodus 32:21 New King James Version). He must have learnt a big lesson from this. So the Lord plagued the people because of what they did with the calf which Aaron made” (Exodus 32:35 New King James Version). Don’t let your followers lead you to do what is wrong or sinful. Do the right thing and what the Word of God says even if it is unpopular.

Flattery is another way leaders allow their followers to lead them astray. Don’t listen to flattery by your followers. Don’t create room for it. If your followers know that you like flattery, they will give you an overdose of it rather than tell you the truth. Flattery will lead you astray. Herod died prematurely because he received the flattery of the people of Tyre and Sidon whom he had been angry with. They came to ask for peace because his country supplied their country with food.

While Herod was arrayed in royal apparel, sat on his throne, and gave an oration to them, the people kept shouting, “The voice of a god and not of a man!” (Acts 12:22 New King James Version). But Herod was a man, not a god. If Herod had silenced these people the first time they said the voice of a god and not of a man, they would not have said it repeatedly. They continued shouting it because they saw he enjoyed it. Immediately, an angel of the Lord struck him because he did not give glory to God. He was eaten by worms and died.

Don’t let your followers lead you astray. In 1 Samuel 30, David didn’t allow himself to be led astray by some of the men who went with him to pursue the Amalekites who had attacked Ziklag, burnt it, and taken captive the women and others and went away with them. David and four hundred men pursued the Amalekites while two hundred men, who were weary and could not cross the Brook Besor, stayed behind. The mission was successful. 1 Samuel 30:18-20 says, So David recovered all that the Amalekites had carried away, and David rescued his two wives. And nothing of theirs was lacking, either small or great, sons or daughters, spoil or anything which they had taken from them; David recovered all. Then David took all the flocks and herds they had driven before those other livestock, and said, ‘This is David’s spoil” (New King James Version).

David and his men returned and the two hundred men who had stayed back went to welcome them back. “Then all the wicked and worthless men of those who went with David answered and said, ‘Because they did not go with us, we will not give them any of the spoil that we have recovered, except for every man’s wife and children, that they may lead them away and depart’” (verse 22 New King James Version). Note what these wicked and worthless men said.

Excluding those who were weary and stayed behind from receiving part of the spoil of war was capable of causing disunity in the camp. These men didn’t deliberately withdraw from the war but they were exhausted, and this could happen to anyone.

David refused to endorse such a selfish proposal. He overruled them for the sake of unity. But David said, ‘My brethren, you shall not do so with what the Lord has given us, who has preserved us and delivered into our hand the troop that came against us.  For who will heed you in this matter? But as his part is who goes down to the battle, so shall his part be who stays by the supplies; they shall share alike’” (verses 23-24 New King James Version). From that day forward, David made it a statute and an ordinance for Israel that those who went to the battle and those who stayed by the supplies would share alike the spoils of war (verse 25). Another leader could have followed what these wicked and worthless men said and suffered the consequences.

As you lead others, don’t let them lead you astray. Think carefully before you make decisions based on the information you have been given or the advice you have received. Some decisions have more far-reaching consequences than others. Therefore, consider all the facts, follow what the Bible says, and pray for God’s guidance.

TAKE ACTION!

If you are not born again, you need to give your life to Jesus now. I urge you to take the following steps: *Admit that you are a sinner, and you cannot save yourself, and repent of your sins. *Confess Jesus as your Lord and Saviour. *Renounce your past way of life – your relationship with the devil and his works. *Invite Jesus into your life. *As a mark of seriousness to mature in the faith, start attending a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church. There they will teach you how to grow in the Kingdom of God.

Kindly say this prayer now: O Lord God, I come unto You today. I know I am a sinner, and I cannot save myself. I believe that Jesus is the Son of God who died on the cross to save me and God raised Him on the third day. I repent of my sins and confess Jesus as my Lord and Saviour. I surrender my life to Jesus now and invite Him into my heart. By this prayer, I know I am saved. Thank You, Jesus, for saving me and making me a child of God.

I believe you have said this prayer from your heart. Congratulations! You will need to join a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church in your area where they will teach you how to live your new life in Christ Jesus. I pray that you flourish like a palm tree and grow like a cedar of Lebanon. May you grow into Christ in all things and become all God wants you to be. I will be glad to hear from you. The Lord be with you.

PRAYER POINTS: I shall not be led astray in Jesus’ name. Holy Spirit, help me to make the right decisions based on the information I have been given or the advice I have received. Deliver me from making decisions that I will regret later.

(For over 900 in-depth and powerful messages by T. O. Banso, visit www.cedarministry.org).

T. O. Banso is the President of Cedar Ministry International, Abuja, Nigeria.
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