10 Old Testament Verses that Challenge Me as a Church Leader

As a church leader, I daily need the truth of God’s Word to guide me and give me hope. These Old Testament verses are particularly challenging to me, and perhaps they will be to you as well. In fact, think about memorizing one of these verses each month for the rest of 2017:

  1. Genesis 4:7“If you do what is right, won’t you be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at the door. Its desire is for you, but you must rule over it.”

As a church leader, I’m foolish if I don’t recognize that sin is ever crouching at my door.

  1. Deuteronomy 7:22 “The Lord your God will drive out these nations before you little by little.”

I’m an impatient church leader who needs to remember that sometimes God gives the land according to His time schedule and plan. In fact, He always does that.

  1. Joshua 1:9 “Haven’t I commanded you: be strong and courageous? Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”

I can be weak, afraid, and discouraged all at the same time, so I need this verse in my pocket. 

  1. 1 Samuel 17:47b “. . . for the battle is the Lord’s.”

It’s never my battle unless I choose to fight it on my own – and that’s not very smart.

  1. 2 Chronicles 20:12b“We do not know what to do, but we look to You.”

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve needed to say, “Lord, I don’t know what to do, but my eyes are on You.”

  1. Nehemiah 1:4 When I heard these words, I sat down and wept. I mourned for a number of days, fasting and praying before the God of heaven.”

I want my heart to be so tender that I weep when the people of God and the work of God struggle. 

  1. Job 1:22 “Throughout all this Job did not sin or blame God for anything.”

Job had been upright and faithful, and still he lost everything – but without blaming God. I need this reminder when faithful ministry seems to bring only pain.

  1. Psalm 19:10b“[The ordinances of the Lord are] sweeter than honey, which comes from the honeycomb.”

I want the Word of God to be that way to me – so sweet that I can taste it going down. 

  1. Jeremiah 1:5“I chose you before I formed you in the womb; I set you apart before you were born.”

Many, many times in ministry, I’ve returned to my calling for encouragement to press on.

  1. Malachi 1:8When you present a blind animal for sacrifice, is it not wrong? And when you present a lame or sick animal, is it not wrong?”

Sometimes I’m tempted to give God less than what He demands or deserves. This verse usually changes my direction.

Church leaders, what Old Testament texts challenge you? 


  • david mcbryar says:

    Dr. Lawless,

    When I was much younger the story of Hosea and Gomer bothered me a lot. Hosea 1:2, “2 When the Lord first spoke through Hosea, the Lord said to Hosea, “Go, take to yourself a wife of whoredom and have children of whoredom, for the land commits great whoredom by forsaking the Lord.” The reason it bothered me is because we were taught as young children in church to be pure and holy sexually but here God Himself commands a prophet to marry a prostitute. It just didn’t make sense until I got older and more mature and realized that I, and all people, are Gomer. We are unfaithful to God over and over again and this verse even now makes my eyes swell with tears because just as Hosea bought her back in chapter 3 our God continues to seek us and love us even in our wickedness and unfaithfulness to Him!

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