Choosing Godly Leaders
All it takes is an election to get people thinking about the importance of leadership. It concerns me, though, when I hear Christians who will obsess over the people leading this country but who will not think twice about those who are leading God’s people. What concerns me even more is that there are Christians who do not think God’s plan for leadership in the church is even necessary. Nevertheless, a reader would have to be blind to look at Scripture and miss the importance God places on godly leaders. If we are to choose the kind of leaders that God desires, however, we must want what God wants.
Israel demonstrably did not want what God wanted when it came to choosing a king. In 1 Samuel 8:4–8, the people of Israel prove how far their hearts are from God by the demands they make for different leadership. “Then all the elders of Israel gathered together and came to Samuel at Ramah and said to him, “Behold, you are old and your sons do not walk in your ways. Now appoint for us a king to judge us like all the nations.” But the thing displeased Samuel when they said, “Give us a king to judge us.” And Samuel prayed to the Lord. And the Lord said to Samuel, “Obey the voice of the people in all that they say to you, for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected me from being king over them. According to all the deeds that they have done, from the day I brought them up out of Egypt even to this day, forsaking me and serving other gods, so they are also doing to you.” (ESV)
The key piece of information here is that the people wanted to be “like all the nations.” It should be sobering to us that God’s own people demanded a leader that would help them be more like all of the people God told them to destroy. Ultimately, wanting to be more “like all the nations” meant rejecting God. Keep in mind, though, that this desire came from the hearts of people in a nation where everyone did what was right in his own eyes. People who want to live their own way will never choose godly leaders.
We set ourselves up to fail when we think we are nothing like Israel. Why would God record so much about the failures of Israel if there really was not much of a chance that we would act just like them? What is it that you really want? Do you really want godly leaders to lead you in God’s ways, or do you want to do your own thing and have everyone else mind their own business? Scripture shows us that when you have godly leaders, the way you are living your life is their business! Do you want leadership at all? If you do, do you want the kind of leaders who will urge you to grow up and be more like Christ? Or do you want leaders who will do all the acts of worship, quote some Scripture, and otherwise let you live inside your comfort zone?
You cannot have the choice without the consequences. If you do not want godly leaders, then God will let you have the kind of leaders you really want, but do not complain to Him when things do not work out the way you hoped they would.
B.J. Young (6-16-19)