What To Look For In A Leader

As you consider the future during the next election cycle, know that God has considered it as well. God has prepared guiding rules for us to use when selecting political leaders. When we think of government controversies and ethics problems, the rules of Deuteronomy 17 offer evidence that the Bible is relevant to all of the issues of modern life.

In Deuteronomy 17:15 God outlined what kind of leader He wanted for His chosen people:

“You shall surely set a king over you whom the Lord your God chooses.”

How do we find out who God chooses for us? There are two simple ways: Study of the Word of God and prayer. Each of us must seek God in prayer for His choice of leadership. It was Israel that chose Saul as their king, but their process for selecting leadership didn’t conform to God’s desire for His people. The result was a nation that God’s chosen leader, David, had to rebuild after Saul’s death.

“Moreover, he shall not multiply horses for himself, nor shall he cause the people to return to Egypt to multiply horses…” (Deuteronomy 17:16)

Here we see a reference to the accumulation of wealth through political means. Using the nation’s public resources to accumulate private wealth is sin.

“Neither shall he multiply wives for himself, lest his heart turn away; nor shall he greatly increase silver and gold for himself” (Deuteronomy 17:17)

Materialistic fervor, supplied by political power here is mixed with a leader’s relationship to the opposite sex. Chaste behavior is the intended norm for a leader. The quality of learned faithfulness to a single person is critical for a leader to maintain fidelity to his nation. Private behavior always affects public behavior.

“Now it shall come about that when he sits on the throne of his kingdom he shall write for himself a copy of this law…in the presence of the levitical priests. And it shall be with him, and he shall read it all the days of his life…” (Deuteronomy 17:18-19).

I notice three things in the above passage: Bible knowledge, study, and accountability. Writing a copy of the law for yourself will saturate the Bible into your mind, regular study will help you to know and apply it your daily decision-making; but a lone reader is reckless. God required Israel’s leaders to be accountable to a religious authority that represented God—an authority other than the king. Leaders are to be religiously accountable.

Finally, speaking of a leader’s obligation to know the Word of God and be accountable, God provides the reason:

“That his heart may not be lifted up above his countrymen…” (Deuteronomy 17:20).

Humility in a leader is essential. God’s design of spiritual wealth, material contentment, and purity in relationships perpetuates humility. No political leader is above the law. If anything, political leaders have a higher place of accountability than the average citizen.

Only one person meets the leadership requirements of Deuteronomy 17 perfectly: Jesus Christ. He remained poor and in touch with the common man. He had no wealth, wives, or girlfriends. He not only knew the Word of God, He was the Word of God in human form. Jesus prayed, was accountable to God, and had the kind of humility that none of us have ever known.

While we look for a political leader with good qualifications, remember that Jesus Christ has the final say on leadership and personal rule, for both the citizen and the leader.

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