6 Signs You’re Following the WRONG Leader [Judges 4:13-17]


We are all followers of a leader, be it a politician, a boss, or even a spiritual guide.

Sometimes, a nagging doubt might linger, leading you to wonder, are they truly leading me closer to God or down a path of their own making?

The Bible offers a cautionary tale about Sisera, a Canaanite general whose arrogance and flawed leadership led to the spectacular downfall of his people.

By examining Sisera’s mistakes, we can identify six crucial signs that might indicate you’re following the wrong leader.

This isn’t about questioning authority or disrespecting those in positions of leadership.

It’s about becoming a discerning follower, one who can recognize the qualities of a true spiritual shepherd.

So, let’s delve into Judges 4:13-17 so we can discover the red flags to watch out for.

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6 Signs You’re Following the WRONG Leader [Judges 4:13-17]

#1 – Overconfidence

And Sisera gathered together all his chariots, even nine hundred chariots of iron, and all the people that were with him, from Harosheth of the Gentiles unto the river of Kishon.” [Judges 4:13]

Sisera’s overconfidence in his military strength and technology was evident when he amassed his 900 iron chariots, believing they made him invincible.

His reliance on these resources without considering potential weaknesses or the strategic advantages of his opponents showcases a dangerous arrogance.

Overconfidence can lead leaders to underestimate challenges and ignore critical details, making them vulnerable to unexpected setbacks.

Leaders who prioritize outward displays of power over genuine connection with those they lead should raise a red flag.

One such kind of leader is those who boast of their achievements, disregarding the contributions of others or dismissing dissenting voices.

True leadership fosters collaboration and humility, recognizing that success is a collective effort.

#2 – Underestimation

“And Deborah said unto Barak, Up; for this is the day in which the Lord hath delivered Sisera into thine hand: is not the Lord gone out before thee? So Barak went down from mount Tabor, and ten thousand men after him.” [Judges 4:14]

Sisera severely underestimated the Israelites, not considering their determination and faith.

This lack of recognition of his enemy’s strengths and potential led to strategic missteps.

Similarly, leaders who underestimate the capabilities, talents, or resilience of those they lead are setting themselves up for failure.

This underestimation can manifest in various ways.

A leader might dismiss the concerns of their followers, failing to address their needs.

Also, they may overlook the potential of younger or less experienced members of their team.

Effective leaders, however, recognize the value of every individual and unlock their potential by fostering a culture of empowerment and inclusion.

#3 – Ignorance

And the Lord discomfited Sisera, and all his chariots, and all his host, with the edge of the sword before Barak…” [Judges 4:15a]

Sisera failed to recognize or respect the potential for God’s intervention in the Israelites’ favor.

Effective leaders must recognize and respect forces beyond their control, including spiritual and moral elements that can influence outcomes.

True leadership requires a well-rounded perspective, acknowledging the importance of both practical considerations and moral grounding.

In our own lives, leaders who are blind to the ethical implications of their decisions or who lack empathy for the consequences of their actions should be approached with caution.

Effective leaders strive for a holistic approach, balancing practical goals with a strong moral compass.

#4 – Self-Preservation

“…so that Sisera lighted down off his chariot, and fled away on his feet.” [Judges 4:15b]

When the battle turned against him, Sisera abandoned his troops and fled.

This act of self-preservation at the expense of his followers highlights a critical leadership flaw.

Leaders who prioritize their safety over their responsibilities betray their team’s trust and loyalty.

Effective leadership requires standing firm in the face of adversity and demonstrating solidarity with one’s followers.

Effective leaders stand shoulder-to-shoulder with their team, sharing the burdens and celebrating the victories.

#5 – Poor Communication

But Barak pursued after the chariots, and after the host, unto Harosheth of the Gentiles: and all the host of Sisera fell upon the edge of the sword; and there was not a man left.” [Judges 4:16]

Sisera’s downfall was exacerbated by poor communication and coordination with his troops.

This led to a disorganized retreat and the total decimation of his forces.

Clear communication is essential for effective leadership, especially during crises.

Leaders must ensure their strategies and instructions are understood and followed to maintain cohesion and effectiveness.

Leaders who are unclear in their instructions, who fail to provide timely updates, or who dismiss questions and concerns ultimately create confusion and hinder progress.

Effective leaders foster open communication, creating a safe space for questions and feedback.

#6 – Poor Judgment

Howbeit Sisera fled away on his feet to the tent of Jael the wife of Heber the Kenite: for there was peace between Jabin the king of Hazor and the house of Heber the Kenite.” [Judges 4:17]

Sisera’s poor judgment in seeking refuge with Jael, misjudging her character, and trusting her hospitality eventually led to his death.

Leaders who fail to assess people’s true intentions and choose their allies wisely can put themselves and their mission at risk.

Sound judgment is crucial for making strategic decisions and ensuring the safety and success of the team.

Leaders who consistently make rash decisions, who are unwilling to admit their mistakes, or who surround themselves with people who agree with them should be approached with caution.

Effective leaders have the discernment to choose wise counsel, the courage to course-correct when needed, and the humility to learn from their experiences.

The story of Sisera is a timeless reminder that effective leadership is not just about having resources or power. It’s also about;

  • Using those resources wisely.
  • Understanding the strengths and weaknesses of both oneself and one’s adversaries.
  • Maintaining the trust and loyalty of followers.

Have you ever doubted a leader’s decisions?

What signs helped you identify the issue?

Tag a friend Who needs to be reminded of the signs of a bad leader!

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