Korah destroyed himself and many others by not following God’s plan of authority and recognizing Moses as God’s leader (see Numbers 16). Saul sinned by not waiting for Samuel, the prophet with God-given authority, to conduct the sacrifice (see 1 Samuel 13). Gehazi did not follow the leading of his master, Elisha. He accepted gifts for the healing of Naaman’s leprosy and, as a consequence, became a leper himself (see 2 Kings 5). God’s order in the family is for the husband to be the leader, for the wife to submit and follow him, and for the children to follow the parents. The Bible is filled with this teaching (see Ephesians 5–6).
But in this teaching there also needs to be balance. Look at the lives of Daniel and Esther. Each had to stand for God in a situation in which there were leaders in authority over them. Daniel was thrown to the lions for his refusal to obey the king’s decree. Esther had to approach the king uninvited, an action that could have led to her death, in order to plead for her people.
Tens of thousands of lives have been destroyed through false teaching and extremism about submission. Some leaders can become unbalanced. I am not just talking about cults. In some congregations, there is a sort of “shepherding theology.” Under its teaching, people are told that they must consult their elders concerning what type of clothes they should wear, what house they should buy and where they should work. In the end, these people stop thinking for themselves and going to God for direction. Instead, they become like slaves, following the ideas of their leader rather than God, and their lives are destroyed.