“When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice: but when the wicked beareth rule, the people mourn.” (Proverbs 29:2)
A good leader realizes that God is over him. Babylon’s King Nebuchadnezzar learned this lesson the hard way. The prophet Daniel had warned him to repent of his arrogance and sin. He didn’t listen. God let him lose his sense and act and live like an animal in the wilderness for a time. Look at what he said afterward! “Now I Nebuchadnezzar praise and extol and honour the king of heaven,” (Daniel 4:37)
A good leader also realizes his dependence on God’s grace and mercy, and trusts in God to help him: “For the king [or president, senator, governor, or congressmember] trusteth in the LORD, and through the mercy of the most High he shall not be moved.” (Psalm 21:7)
A bad leader despises God. When Moses and Aaron told Pharaoh of God’s command to let the Hebrews go, he replied, “Who is the LORD, that I should obey his voice to let Israel go? I know not the LORD, neither will I let Israel go.” (Exodus 5:2) A bad leader may not openly defy God like that. He may admit that God exists and even belong to a church, but his conduct shows he doesn’t fear God: “He that walketh in his uprightness feareth the LORD: but he that is perverse in his ways despiseth him.” (Proverbs 14:2)
A good leader cares about his people. Not long after Solomon became king, God asked him, “Ask what I shall give thee.” (1 Kings 3:5) Solomon didn’t ask for riches or power, but for wisdom to rule Israel. Solomon wanted to be the kind of king that God wanted: a wise king who cared about his people.
A bad leader, on the other hand, doesn’t care about people. The Pharisees of Jesus’ time were like that. They sent officers to arrest Him. When the officers came back without Him, they explained that they were impressed by His words. They said, “Never man spake like this man.” (John 7:46) The Pharisees replied, “Are ye also deceived? Have any of the rulers or of the Pharisees believed on him?” (John 7:47-48)
The Pharisees felt they were the ones who would decide who was worth believing in and who wasn’t. They also didn’t care about people under them. They said, “But this people who knoweth not the law are cursed.” (John 7:49) Or in a manner of speaking, “We know the law. We’re in charge here, not these peasants.” No wonder Jesus called them, “Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers,” (Matthew 23:33)
A bad leader cares more about himself than about the people under him. Back in Egypt, the plagues had begun. Waters were turned to blood and were undrinkable. Crops suffered. Frogs, lice, and flies had made the land filthy and vulnerable to disease. The murrain killed all Egypt’s cattle which had supplied their beef and milk. Boils made the people sick, and the hail killed servants and animals and destroyed crops. Pharaoh’s own people were suffering because of his stubbornness, but he still wouldn’t let Israel go.
Moses warned him that the locusts were coming next to destroy what the hail had left. Egypt’s economy was in shambles. Even Pharaoh’s servants begged him to let Israel go: “…knowest thou not yet that Egypt is destroyed?” (Exodus 10:7) Pharaoh could have let the Hebrews go for the sake of his own people, but he didn’t. He cared more about himself and his power than about them. That’s the kind of leader he was.
What kind of leader will you be? America is going through a crisis with the coronavirus; from the virus itself and from economic damage. People are suffering. Will you be like Solomon, and pray for mercy on America and wisdom to make good decisions that help people recover? Or will you be like the Pharisees, too concerned with power for yourself and your political allies? Or like Pharaoh, stubborn and willing to play games with people’s lives as America is being destroyed?
Finally, if you aren’t sure you’ll be in heaven when you die but you would love to be sure, please go to our website, www.clevelandbaptist.org, click “Helpful Links”, then “How Do I Go to Heaven?”
Brian Miller 4/15/2020
Cleveland Baptist Church 4431 Tiedeman Road, Brooklyn, Ohio 44144 216/671-2822