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Examples of Great Leaders in the Bible

Cholee took several theology classes during college and enjoys partaking in bible studies and diving deep into scripture.

Bible by lantern light.

Bible by lantern light.

Leadership is a quality that everyone can have if they choose to willingly set their life to serving God and others. Although you don’t need to have a relationship or even believe in God to be a great leader, some of the greatest examples of profound leadership can be found within the Old Testament.

These prime examples of great and Godly men are foundations to what a great leader could and should be as well as how they should carry themselves. There are many forms of leaders and I believe that the bible offers three great examples of that. Three of the more common leaders of the bible are those that are called, brave, and anointed.

Five Influential Called Leaders:

Called leaders are those that are called by God to do His work. They are leaders that maybe were not qualified to be leaders, but God chose them and set in them great works to enhance His kingdom. These leaders have a special and important role in the enrichment of the Kingdom of God. Their roles as leaders have been predetermined by God to help Him in bringing His people out of the darkness and evil in this world and into His kingdom of light. Many of today’s leaders that would qualify as called would be any religious leader whether that is a priest/pastor or someone involved in youth ministry or simply volunteering.

  1. Moses
  2. Jeremiah
  3. Job
  4. Gideon
  5. Samuel

Moses and the Burning Bush

Moses (in my opinion) is the greatest called leader of the Old Testament. Born a Levite and raised an Egyptian he is a “misfit” in both cultures. He runs away to the desert where he finds God in a “burning” bush calling out to him. Moses answers God’s call by saying “Here I am” (Exodus 3:4). Moses made a great leader because he was available. He was alone in the desert giving God opportunity to call out to him.

Today we probably will not see “burning” bushes, however that does not mean that God will not call His children to lead. He will continue to speak to us, if we will only choose to listen. Moses had an incredibly hard and unrealistic challenge ahead of him if he would have tried to go it alone. However, God gave him the tools and abilities to lead and become great.

Moses teaches us that leaders do not always have to feel qualified. God will give the qualifications to the leader. God chose Moses to lead His people, because He knew that Moses was capable of great works despite his inability to speak clearly. Moses had a strong will and determination to follow God making him a prime leader in God’s eyes. Don’t let the fear of your insecurities stop you from choosing to lead. Follow God and let His light shine through you. You are bound to be a great leader to those around you.

Statue of the Prophet Moses.

Statue of the Prophet Moses.

Five Influential Brave Leaders:

Brave leaders are those that step up and be courageous in dangerous situations when others would not think about stepping up. Brave leaders are those that stand up for what they believe in and know is right and do not back down, because of the consequences that may come their way for disobeying the king.

They are not just those leaders that go to war, but they can and are leaders like Daniel who persevere through the trials and hardships brought to them through their faith in God. Our soldiers are not just hero’s they are among the bravest of leaders. Honor our soldiers and veterans, they are among the greatest brave leaders we have today. Without them we would not be where we are today.

  1. Daniel
  2. Joshua
  3. Caleb
  4. Jonathan
  5. Elijah

Daniel and the Lion's Den

Daniel is a wise, faithful, and brave leader. He was taken from his Israelite home and forced to serve in the king’s palace. Although he was with the king, he refused to follow the same customs and laws. God found favor with Daniel and gave him knowledge and skills in every aspect of literature and wisdom. Daniel also had the insight into all dreams and visions. “In every matter of wisdom and understanding about which the king questioned them, he found them ten times better than all the magicians and enchanters in his whole kingdom” (Daniel 1:20).

Throughout his time at the palace, he never failed to follow faithfully his God even after the new decree was put in writing. “Three times a day he got down on his knees and prayed, giving thanks to his God, just as he had done before” (Daniel 6:10). Because of his faithfulness to God Daniel was to be thrown into a den of lions for praying to his God and not the king. He trusted in the Lord and knew that no harm would be done to him, so he went to the den and survived for his faithfulness to God.

He found favor with the king and the king changed his decree saying that all his peoples and nations throughout the whole world should tremble and fear the God of Daniel. “For He is the living God and He endures forever; His kingdom will not be destroyed, his dominion will never end. He rescues and He saves; He performs signs and wonders in the heavens and on the earth. He has rescued Daniel from the power of the lions” (Daniel 6:26-27).

Daniel was a true and faithful servant to God and God’s people. He never ceased to worship and follow his God, despite the hardships that would come to him. He truly was a brave servant of God and brought many people to believe in God’s power through his wisdom and faith. It only takes one brave person to stand up for what they believe in to become a great leader.

Daniel and the lion's den.

Daniel and the lion's den.

Five Influential Anointed Leaders

Anointed leaders are those that become kings, prophets, priests, or otherwise dedicate their lives to God. Anointed leaders are consecrated in a ceremony with oil. These leaders are anointed to symbolize the introduction of a divine influence. Anointed leaders are called by God to rule over a nation and are to show the people God’s glory and His kingdom. Now today I realize we have very few kings and queens that rule over us, however anointed leaders can also be applied to the clergy.

These are some of my favorite anointed leaders. We can learn some great lessons from each and every one of these very different leaders.

  1. David
  2. Abraham
  3. Aaron
  4. Isaac
  5. King Solomon

David From Shepherd to King

David was a shepherd and the youngest of Jesse’s sons an Ephrathite. The Lord found favor, chose David, and had him anointed by Samuel. “Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the presence of his brothers, and from that day on the Spirit of the Lord came upon David in power” (1 Samuel 16:13). David was a brave man who spoke well and was fine-looking. I’m sure most know the story of David and Goliath and for that reason I’ll keep this short, David went with a sling and a stone and cast down the Philistine killing him when the largest of soliders were too afraid to fight.

David was a great leader because he not only was anointed and brave, but David was called by God to rise up and lead the great nation of Israel. The Lord told Samuel “rise and anoint him; for this is the one” (1 Samuel 16:12). David was a faithful and determined servant of God doing His will despite the cost. Could you imagine taking on a giant with just a sling and a stone?

Not only was he the youngest he was also the smallest son of Jesse. Despite this, David was appointed by God to be the next king and to take Saul's place. God looked at his inward appearance and found favor on him, because of his pure heart. One does not need to be strong or of high status to be anointed by God. He looks at the heart, faithfulness, and truth within a person and anoints them to do His will.

Many different types of personalities and qualities make leaders unique. Moses, Daniel, and David were all leaders in their own way, yet God found favor in all of them and was with them always. Though these leaders had their own qualities they shared many of the same as well. God qualified each of these leaders because they had true hearts for God. They were willing and accepting of the challenges God brought forth and relied on Him fully.

These leaders remained faithful to God when times were good, but also when times were hard and others were turning from Him. No matter what your background, age, sex, or ethnic heritage God will find favor in all His people. God used these men to enhance His kingdom and bring glory to Him. These men followed God faithfully and earnestly until their deaths. He calls us to do the same today, yesterday, and forever.

Whether these stories are just stories, or real events the profound truth and knowledge that we can take from these stories can be used for generations to come; to bring forth great leaders that serve God, others, and ultimately changing the world around us.

Questions & Answers

Question: How old was David when he was anointed?

Answer: There is no context in the bible that gives David's exact age. I cannot give you a definitive answer, because of this; however, I can give some educated guesses on how old David might have been.

Today most people/scholar's believe that David was between the ages of 8 and 15 when he was first anointed by Samuel. There is no mention of whether or not Jesse had any daughters, multiple births (twins), or more than one wife. Those details would shed more light on David's exact age. However, we can still get pretty close to the information the bible does give us.

David was the youngest of 8. Of which we know the three oldest were old enough to fight in the army. During this time you had to be at least 20 years old. This means the youngest of the three eldest had to be 20. Assuming they had a son every year after that, the absolute oldest David could have been being 15. However, we need to remember that David gets anointed in Bethlehem before the war begins. We do not know exactly how much time passes, between when Samuel comes to Bethlehem and when David goes to fight Goliath, but it's reasonable to assume a couple of years have passed since the anointing.

With this information I believe we can make an educated guess that David was probably between the ages of 9 and 11 when he was first anointed by Samuel in Bethlehem.

Question: Are there any female leaders in the Bible?

Answer: There are a plethora of female leaders found throughout the bible. The article focuses on male leaders simply because they are the more well known leaders. Below you can find some of the more well know female leader's and influencer's, but by no means is this an all inclusive list.






© 2011 Cholee Clay

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