When Leader's Look The Wrong Way


As children we were taught to look both ways before crossing the street. Failure to do so could be deadly. When leaders look the wrong way the outcome can be just as devastating.

The book of Isaiah is sixty-six chapters of judgement and comfort. In Isaiah twenty-two, God had strong words of condemnation for Jerusalem's leaders. Why? Because they were looking the wrong way.

In that day you looked to the weapons of the House of the Forest,and you saw that the breaches of the city of David were many. You collected the waters of the lower pool,and you counted the houses of Jerusalem, and you broke down the houses to fortify the wall.You made a reservoir between the two walls for the water of the old pool. But you did not look to him who did it, or see him who planned it long ago. Isaiah 22:8-11 ESV

Faced with threatening enemies, the leaders of Jerusalem did the things one would expect: they shored up their defenes and secured their water supply. They were "wise" and they were totally foolish. They devoted massive energy to military readiness and yet were totally inattentive to the sovereign God who controlled the situation.[1]In short, they were looking to pragmatic matters but not to the Lord.[2]

There is a big leadership lesson here. The leader's bias for action can lead to assessing challenges, pouring over spreadsheets, developing strategies, and raising up leaders . . .  all the while forgetting, neglecting, or ignoring God. How foolish and yet how often it happens. 

The words of Proverbs come to mind:

In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.[3]

Don't get caught looking the wrong way. What leadership challenge do you need to bring before God today?


[1] ESV Study Bible note at Isaiah 22:8b-11.

[2] Walter Brueggemann. Westminster Bible Companion: Isaiah 1-39. Louisville: Westminister John Knox Press. 1998, page 177.

[3] Proverbs 3:6 ESV