Joseph Esposito
Acts 23:5 Then said Paul… it is written, Thou shalt not speak evil of the ruler of thy people.
Numbers 16:1-4 Now Korah, the son of Izhar, the son of Kohath, the son of Levi, and Dathan and Abiram, the sons of Eliab, and On, the son of Peleth, sons of Reuben, took men: And they rose up before Moses, with certain of the children of Israel, two hundred and fifty princes of the assembly, famous in the congregation, men of renown: And they gathered themselves together against Moses and against Aaron, and said unto them, Ye take too much upon you, seeing all the congregation are holy, every one of them, and the LORD is among them: wherefore then lift ye up yourselves above the congregation of the LORD? And when Moses heard it, he fell upon his face:

There aren’t many things more damaging in a ministry, a home, a workplace, or even in politics, than people who were once faithful and loyal, who turn disloyal and begin to sow discord.  If there’s one thing that Scripture teaches, it’s that the Lord hates discord. He hates slander. He hates disunity. This is especially true when it comes to our relationship with a God-ordained leader. David taught us this very clearly in his life. He refused to lift his hand (and even his voice) against the Lord’s anointed.

Any of us who have been in church any length of time has had instances where we’ve been approached by disloyal (at times, it may be hurt or disgruntled) people who would try to persuade us to join them in their campaign against a God-ordained leader or institution. How can we identify this, and how should we respond?

In the passage above, I see three identifying marks that help us identify disloyal people. First, disloyal people normally start with a small group and hidden/“off the record” chatter. In the passage, it started with just a small group of men talking about what they didn’t like about Moses and how he ran things. It always starts like this! Second, I see that disloyal people aren’t content to keep their comments to themselves. They recruit. We see a small group of men in verse one, to 250 men in verse two. Remember, discord and disunity/disloyalty can spread fast, causing great hurt in its wake. Thirdly, disloyal people will try to pit the leader against the people, or vice versa. We went from a small group to 250, to the entire congregation being involved in the conversation in verse three. They used spiritual verbiage. They sounded like they had the people’s best interests at heart. But they were intentionally trying to drive a wedge between people and the man of God, and their disloyalty proceeded to be on full display.

How then, should we respond when disloyalty comes our way? First, decide not to take part in behind-the-scenes, disloyal conversations. Don’t listen to gossip. Don’t listen to slander. Don’t take part in talebearing. Don’t take part in tearing down God-ordained leadership. Especially be careful about “hear-say”. Secondly, respond biblically! Scripture says that if we have ought against someone, we ought to go to them personally. Tell the person with an issue to go to the one with whom they have a fault. Scripture says that we should never rebuke an elder but entreat him as a father (both in front of him and behind his back). Scripture says that we ought to submit ourselves to those who have “rule over” us. We may not like every decision, answer, or sermon. But we are called to get behind the leader that the Lord has ordained us to be under as he leads us toward the vision God has given.

As with Moses and the children of Israel, God has a great vision for the home, and for our church. God has ordained leaders to help God’s people to go forward and realize that vision. It is going to take a unified front to see the vision come to pass. We have no time or place for disloyalty. It caused major heartbreak in the congregation in the passage we read. For us, let’s understand and apply biblical loyalty when it comes to God’s work, God’s vision, God’s people, and God-ordained leadership in our lives.

Joseph Esposito

Bro. Esposito serves as the vice president of our Bible college, teaches the Cross Point Adult Bible Class, and heads up our children and teen Sunday school ministry. He and his wife Jennifer have six wonderful children.

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