Words of Wisdom: Perspectives on Godly Leadership in the Land, Proverbs 28:1-5
The wicked flee when no one is pursuing [them], but the righteous are as bold as a lion. When a land is in rebellion, it has many rulers, but with a discerning and knowledgeable person, it endures. A destitute leader who oppresses the poor is like a driving rain that leaves no food. Those who reject the law praise the wicked, but those who keep the law battle against them. Evil men do not understand justice, but those who seek the Lord understand everything. Prov 28:1-5 (HCSB)
In recent years, there has been a constant outcry in the land for the elected leaders of our country to listen to the people, and be more sensitive to the needs of the people. However, there has been a stream of leaders making it to Congress and into the White House who have felt a mandate was given to them to only do what they thought was right in their eyes and in their heart, regardless of public opinion. So how do we find the righteous leaders among these self-serving leaders?
Well, the wicked ones are the self-interested, self-centered leaders who are trying to make a name for their selves, even when nothing worthy is happening around them. However, the truly righteous leaders in Congress and in the White House stand tall against the political insider activity and forgo their own interests when issues come up that impact the people they have sworn to protect, and they know what the people desire, and act in response to it.
What person is so arrogant to tell the people what they need even when they are causing a major contention in the hearts of the people? Leaders are under God’s accountability and ultimately will be judged by His standards, and the hearts of the people are a reflection of God’s will on most matters. When a leader stirs up contention is another sign of leadership problems; when other leaders rise up in protest to compete for the hearts of the dissenting people there will be contention. That is certainly a sign of another leader whom is not leading according to the will of God and the will of the people, but is guided and inspired by his or her own will.
In ancient China the term was “Mandate of Heaven” and it referred to the course of events in the reign of a ruler that dictated that ruler’s destiny. If he was successful and the crops were plentiful and enemies defeated, the ruler was reportedly receiving an affirmation of his right to rule from heaven. However, when dissension and rebellion resided in the land and events were threatening the security and prosperity of the people then those events marked the end of the ruler’s effectiveness and the ruler was replaced.
In America, the Mandate of Heaven is played out in the elections of our leaders, and when there is dissension stirred up in the hearts of the people, then even the oldest and most secure leader in Congress is subject to being replaced. An elected leader should never feel so secure that he or she can forget that it is the will of the people that elected them into office, and that is why they are there. When they begin to feel empowered with wisdom that is greater than the people, they fall at risk to the outcry of the people at the next election.
And, one certain way to gather a storm against yourself as a leader is to place undeserving and burdensome stress of uncertainty upon the people, immediate and long term. Throughout God’s history of man, government leaders who have suppressed their citizens with excessive debt and taxes have faced rebellion and even civil wars. The Roman Empire crumbled upon itself because of such issues.
How can leaders remain the leaders that they were elected to be? We need righteous leaders who walk in humility before an awesome God. Godly leadership seeks after God’s will, God’s ways, and God’s wisdom according to God’s Word. These leaders will outlast all the others and the people will rally around them. In the Bible there were many examples of godly versus ungodly rulers and their fates are clearly recorded. And, we saw what happens when even godly rulers lose sight of God’s leadership in their lives – division, rebellion, and dissension reside. Inquire about Saul, David, Solomon, and all the kings that followed. Consider the Sanhedrin of Jesus’ era: they were selfish in their motives and power hungry, and paid a huge price in the course of history.
Consider carefully the kind of leaders you elect into office. Support for re-election only those who continue to submit to the interests of the people and the will of God.
But Jesus called them over and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles dominate them, and the men of high position exercise power over them. It must not be like that among you. On the contrary, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first among you must be your slave; just as the Â Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life – a ransom for many.” Matt 20:25-28 (HCSB)