The Bible has a number of remarkable role models for Christian leaders and the quality of their character and the choices they made for how to live their lives provide helpful guidance for us many centuries later.

The Honorable Prime Minister Joseph Jacobovich: Joseph had humble roots. His father, Jacob, and his mother, Rebekah, were of lowly stock and the first mention of Joseph in the Old Testament is in the context of his work as a shepherd for his father’s flock. Being a shepherd was hardly a position of prestige for a bright, young 17-year-old. In addition to his modest upbringing, Joseph came from a family that could best be described as “dysfunctional.” There were twelve sons from four different wives and the rivalry among the boys was intense. Because Joseph was the product of Jacob’s precious wife Rachel, his father favored him above all his other sons and, as an expression of that favor, made a rather insensitive decision to give Joseph a beautiful multicolored robe. Joseph, who already reaped the benefits of his father’s special blessing, then added insult to injury by describing to his brothers a series of dreams in which they bowed down to him. Is it any wonder that his brothers hated him?

Deborah, Judge and Military Leader of Israel: The Book of Judges records the history of the people of lsrael after their forty years of wandering in the desert was over and the land of Canaan was occupied by military force. After impressive military victories under Joshua’s leadership, the Israelites quickly lost their sense of dependence on God, disregarded God’s commandments, and found themselves struggling with a series of crises related to their spiritual malaise.

Esther, Queen of Persia: The last of the seventeen historical books in the Old Testament, the Book of Esther, records the remarkable story of an orphan girl who became the Queen of Persia. King Xerxes, the ruler of an empire that stretched from India through the Middle East to Northern Africa, was the most powerful figure in the world at that time. He ruled an empire that he had inherited from his father, King Darius, for twenty years (486-465 B.C.). The wealth of Xerxes stood in sharp contrast to the poverty of the Jews, who were deported from their homeland and were exiles among other defeated peoples living in the Fertile Crescent.

Daniel, Administrator of Two Empires: The story of Daniel’s life takes place during one of the darkest periods in Old Testament history. The Northern Kingdom of lsrael had been destroyed in 722 B.C. by the Assyrians and approximately a century later the Southern Kingdom of Judah was conquered by the Babylonians. The best and brightest youth of Judah were deported to Babylon for imperial service to King Nebuchadnezzar; Daniel was part of the first group of exiles taken to the capital of their oppressor in the year 605 B.C.