KEYWORDS: leadership, god, lord, leaders, way, army

Obey Them That Have the Rule over You

David Berg

—Heb.13:17 DO 2417 2/88—"Trust & Obey" Part II!

1. This Family started out as a tough Army for the Lord‚ with strict discipline for all of its soldiers!—And I still believe that's God's way! That's the way He runs His Family & His Church! In fact, I believe the Lord, in a sense, permitted or created or allowed the World's armies & military to be a physical example of what He expects of His Army: Total absolute unquestioning loyalty!—Total absolute obedience & faithfulness!

2. Way back in our earliest days, in the "Revolutionary Rules", we made it clear what we expect of our members: "The Discipline of Jesus' Revolutionaries must be absolute `obedience to them that have the rule over them, for they care for your souls, as they that must themselves give account.’—Heb.13:17. You must obey implicitly, quickly & without question your officers in the Lord, if you wish to remain a member of this Team!" (See ML No.S)

3. It's just a sad fact of human nature that if you don't have somebody standing right over you making you do the right things, some person in the flesh, then you often won't do them. This is why we have to have officers & leaders to lead & coordinate our troops to win victories for the Lord. It virtually has to be this way in any kind of organisation. There is no army in the World, there's no organisation in the World, there is no business in the World, there's not even a family in the World that doesn't have a boss!

4. But some people are like the guy at my Florida missionary training camp who told me, "I'm not going to take orders from you or your wife or anybody but God!" So I said, "Okay, Buddy, get out of my trailer & out of my yard & go somewhere where all you have to do is serve God, & that's fine with me! But as long as you're living in my yard & my trailer & eating my food, you're going to take orders from me! Period!"—And that's the last I saw of him & his wife & his nine children!

5. People like that who think they don't have to take orders from anybody but God don't belong in this outfit!—Because we are a Family of unified leadership & totally dedicated followership of all-out, forsake-all‚ do-or-die disciples who are willing to obey God & follow His God-given leadership anywhere, anyhow, anytime in anything to the very end of the Earth!—With anybody in order to reach everybody! Hallelujah!—That's why we've succeeded & gotten the job done while countless other groups & churches have failed!

6. Sometimes when the battle is raging as we launch our attacks against Satan's strongholds, split-second battlefront decisions must be made.—And sometimes this means following leadership blindly by faith on the spur of the moment, when there isn't time for them to explain, or even ask you if you'd like to. But when the emergency is over, it's best for leadership to try to readjust & explain things afterwards if possible.

7. When my first set of children were small, I used to always try to explain to them why I was asking them to do certain things, & would try to get them to choose to do them of their own accord after they understood the reasons why it was necessary.—That is, if we had time! However, in certain sudden emergencies, when we had to do something quick, when there wasn't time to discuss it or argue, I had to tell them to do it, "Just because I said so!—I'll tell you why later!" And they usually obeyed in such emergencies, because they knew I was usually right.—And that I usually tried to explain to them when I could, & let them make their own choice when it was possible!

8. But when we didn't have time for this, they trusted me to make the right decision. And this is true of any general in battle. In peacetime, there's more time for training & explaining, & even suggestions from the ranks, & even requests for transfer, if some buck private feels like he's a square peg in a round hole & wants a change.

9. But in wartime we're in a hurry, & we can't always take time to explain or figure everything out in advance & wait for you to volunteer. Sometimes‚ when the battle is raging & the fighting is furious, we have to move, & move fast‚ before the Devil moves in ahead of us!—And you'll just have to trust your leadership under such circumstances, that they're doing what's best, the best way they know how‚ & hopefully will be able to explain it to you later!


10. I've made it clear in the Letters that all of our leaders should be willing to consider various points of view in order to base their decisions on good‚ well-rounded counsel. And though I believe in unity & loyal & faithful obedience to leadership in the Lord, I still do not believe that these are total absolutes which must be put above reason‚ right, Scripture & personal conviction of God's Truth! Blind obedience can sometimes be too blind, & it's always best that "every man be fully persuaded in his own mind!"—Rom.14:5.

11. Besides his responsibility to obey, I believe sometimes if an under–officer or a follower has a question or feels a doubt about carrying out his superior officer's order, then it is also his responsibility to voice it: "Excuse me, but I had a question about such-&-such. I wonder if perhaps we should do so-&-so? What about this or that, don't you think maybe so-&-so?"—It's almost like a form of witnessing, of delivering your soul if you think your leader's wrong.

12. I think if you have any serious question about an order or decision, that you should mention it. If you have any reservation about it, any doubt about it, if it just doesn't seem right to you, you ought to at least mention it‚ you should try to discuss it with your leadership. Good leaders will welcome questions, suggestions, & even ideas contrary to their own! They know they need to see all sides, & to consider others' opinions prayerfully before the Lord, & will try to agree together on a unanimous decision with their co-workers if possible!

13. So if you have strong convictions about something, & your leadership is wise, they will be willing to try & test it. I know when people question me, I often say‚ "Well, I don't know, maybe you're right, maybe you're wrong. We'll see." Sometimes I might even say, "Well, I doubt it, but let's try it & see." Often the only way we're going to know if something is right or wrong is by putting it into effect & trying it. That's the acid test. (See Jn.7:17; Mat.7:20.)

14. But on the other hand, if I've gotten something directly & specifically from the Lord on a matter, it is my duty to obey that, & not be too dissuaded or stopped by others' doubts or questions. (Maria: So what is the responsibility of the officer who questions something?) It is only to question it & to mention it & to say it, but if this does not change the mind of your superior, then you have to carry it out, whether you like it or believe it or not, without murmuring & without bitterness, knowing that the Lord is in control & if something is wrong, He'll eventually straighten everything out.

15. The superior officer should be willing to change his decision if he finds that it wasn't the right choice after all. But if you don't agree with your superior officer & he doesn't agree with the counsel you've given, then it's your place to just pray & obey! God's Word says, "Obey them that have the rule over you, & submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy & not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you."—Heb.13:17.—Even if they're wrong!

16. One of my first under-officers once told me long ago, "I think you're wrong, but you're still the boss, so I'll do what you say!" If reasoning, discussion & prayer with your leaders in love cannot change their minds about something you don't agree on, then you are still obligated to obey them whether you like it & them or not. Otherwise you are breaking the chain of cooperation, which is anarchy & will bring chaos!

17. (Maria: But if you are persuaded that your superior is wrong, are you ever obligated to report it to an even higher authority?) If there is a higher authority to whom you can appeal & bring your question to & say‚ "I don't think this is the right thing they're telling me to do"‚ yes. If you are personally convinced that something is really wrong with your leader's actions or orders, & that God's Work is being damaged or His sheep are being abused, mistreated or hurt as a result, then it is your duty to report it to a higher authority! Remember the old saying, "Failure to report a crime is a crime!"

18. If the situation is that bad & you've faced somebody with it‚ if you don't get any action & you think it's really serious, then you should definitely try to get help from somebody else. But while you're waiting for help or for word or counsel, you shouldn't be disobedient & have a mutiny & refuse to cooperate with your leadership. If no help comes, you're going to have to trust the Lord. If you're convinced that it's the Lord's work, then you need to have faith that somehow, sometime, the situation is going to be straightened out & that the Lord is using it in some way for His glory‚ even though it may not look like it to you.


19. If you can't persuade your superior that you're right about something‚ you still have to obey, because, right or wrong‚ he's still the boss. Insubordination & rebellion against leadership cannot be allowed in any man's army, regardless of who the leadership are & what the problem is! Regardless of what mistakes they may have made in the past, if they continue to be left in charge by their overseers, then you continue to owe them your allegiance‚ respect & obedience.

20. You are supposed to love, honour, respect & obey your leadership, not only for their words, their works & their good fruits, but because God has chosen them & placed them in that position of responsibility. They are His officers, His representatives‚ & any lack of respect for them shows a lack of respect for the Government of God which He has ordained. This is regardless of whether you like their personality or always agree with their way of doing things.

21. As they used to teach us in the army, "It doesn't matter what you think of the man, respect him for his position, his authority. If you don't like the guy, at least salute him for the sake of the uniform he wears & the position & authority he bears & the Government he represents, the fact that the Army has entrusted him with such a position." In other words, it's like you're saluting the Army, not just the individual personality.

22. And if your leadership happens to be younger than you are—in actual age, or in their length of time in the Family—you still need to salute the uniform they wear & "despise not their youth".—1Tim.4:12. Spiritual maturity is not merely a matter of years or time, but it's a matter of a person's connection with the Lord & His Word, & their obedience & their humility!

23. Someone's length of service & age in the Family does not necessarily make them a good leader! It's "by their fruits ye shall know them!"—Mat.7:20.—Not by how ancient they are! So regardless of your leader's age, you should "give honour to whom honour is due!"—Rom.13:7. Amen?

24. We've had serious trouble result from disciples failing to heed the warnings or obey the instructions of their leadership in certain situations! You should remember that obedience to & cooperation with the Lord's leaders could save your life & liberty for the Lord's service! Every good soldier must try his best not to be a casualty!

25. In more than one instance, the Lord's Work has suffered greatly because some stupid, dumb, idiotic, rebellious people have refused to respect their leadership or heed their leaders' warnings! And they independently went ahead doing what they thought was right without even counselling with their shepherds, resulting in such serious mistakes & breaches of security that the Family was forced to abandon entire mission fields!—All because some people never even counselled, never consulted, never obeyed the Letters, never even obeyed direct warnings from their own leaders not to do so-&-so‚ & to do so-&-so!

26. Beloved‚ time is short, & we should all be working together with the Lord & with each other in one great, final united effort to win as many as we can to the Lord before His soon coming! Times are waxing worse & worse until the End comes, so we need to work more & more together in greater strength & unity & power & fellowship & leadership in order to fight the tough battles ahead in united strength together! That's the only way we're going to overcome the Enemy & rescue all the lost souls we can from his fiendish grip!

27. The only way we're going to win this war is to fight it together!—Not against each other, but together with each other against the Enemy! Let's win it together so we can shout the victory together & greet God together in the end! Hallelujah? Praise God!

28. Let's learn to follow leadership, follow suggestions & learn to respect authority, amen? If you can't even take a suggestion, you're probably not going to be willing to take an order. And if you can't take an order, you're not going to be obedient; & if you can't be obedient, let me tell you, you're not going to be in the Family very long!—Because this is an Army run on basic army principles, & one of the main ones is that you've got to be able to follow orders & take commands!—And if you're real smart, you'll even take suggestions!


29. Remember, this is God's Work, the Lord's Army, & although He uses people, leadership, to help lead His sheep into the green pastures of His Will, don't get your eyes on the person, keep them on the Lord! You've got to remember it's God's Work & give Him all the glory! To recognise a leader's position & anointing, & to respect their God-given authority is one thing, & right & good, & should be. But to praise & worship & glorify them personally by giving them the credit instead of God is another! This is wrong & bad & will destroy both them & you, & worst of all‚ can greatly hinder God's Work!

30. So beware of ever letting your obedience to your leadership become what the Bible calls a "voluntary humility" (Col. 2:18)‚ which means a pretended show of obedience & humility to please your leaders & show them how humble & willing you are. This is respect of persons & man-pleasing, eye-service & lip-service, not a heart-service to God above all! God's Word says to obey leadership, yes, but "in singleness of heart, as unto Christ!—Not with eye-service, as menpleasers; but as the servants of Christ, doing the Will of God from the heart!"—Eph.6:5,6. For God's sake, keep your eyes on Jesus, & "Whatsoever ye do, do it heartily unto the Lord, & not unto men!" —Col.3:23.—Amen?


31. And please make sure you stick close to & follow the leaders who have never let you down, who faithfully kept on leading even when most of the Family's other leadership failed!—The only leaders the Family had for years‚ the Lord's Letters! If you'll just read & study them, share them, pray over them & follow the light of their truth, you will be melted together in His Love, blended together in His Truth‚ joined together as one body‚ fitly joined together according to His Word!

32. The Letters are a constant source of leadership that will always keep you on the right track! If you're following the Word, you are following the Prophet, & if you're following God's Prophet, you're following God! PTL! "Kiss the Words of thy father & hide them within thy heart & obey them, if thou wouldst be happy in Me!"