Second, the Church shall be built upon a strong foundation—cornerstone, tent peg, and battle bow (v. 4)—by which the prophet means to refer to "every ruler" and "all of them together." Jesus is the cornerstone of the Church, and the apostles and prophets are her foundation (Ephesians 2:20). The rulers and church leaders God uses must embody the life of Jesus and follow the example of the apostles as a visible demonstration of what the people of God are to become. This is why the Scriptures put such a strong emphasis on the kind of men God approves for leadership in His churches (cf. 1 Timothy 3:1-13; Titus 1:5-9).

The Church and her leaders will assume the forefront of the battle against every foe (v. 5), as they bring every enemy of the Lord and His Church to heel. Whether that foe is the next lie spun out by the media or pop culture, the peccadillo du jour of the Christian community, or the devil himself, the leaders of the churches must not hesitate to take up the full armor of God, equip the saints for ministry, and confront the enemy head-on. Through example, instruction, church discipline, and activism of various kinds, the leaders must provide hand-to-hand engagement, as well as strategies, equipping, and vehicles through which to lead the people of God to overcome the gates of hell (Matthew 16:18; Ephesians 6:10-20).

The Lord promises to visit His people and establish their greatness in all the earth. And He will raise up a new kind of leadership—leaders like Christ and His apostles—in order to accomplish this lofty vision.

A PLEA TO CHURCH LEADERS
As the New Year begins, let us plead with our church leaders to take up the Lord's vision for His Church, and to submit themselves to becoming the kind of leaders God expects them to be. If the people of God will demand God's vision and God's leaders for their churches, we may begin to realize the promise of that vision for His Church. Then our churches will be better prepared to fulfill the vision of shining beauty, ferocious goodness, uncompromising holiness, and determined mission, that will make her "the joy of the whole earth" (Psalm 48:1-3). Pray that God will raise up leaders who embrace His vision and will lead us to take up our callings in the struggle for the Kingdom.

FOR REFLECTION
Ask the leaders of your church about their vision. Does it sound like God's vision? Are they the kind of leaders likely to take your church to where God wants it to be? How might you help and encourage them?


T. M. Moore is dean of the Centurions Program of the Wilberforce Forum and principal of The Ailbe Fellowship, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He is the author or editor of seventeen books, and has contributed chapters to four others. His essays, reviews, articles, papers, and poetry have appeared in dozens of national and international journals, and on a wide range of websites. His most recent books are The Ailbe Psalter and The Ground for Christian Ethics, (Waxed Tablet).  He and his wife and editor, Susie, make their home in Concord, Tenn.