As part of a larger section in chapter 16 of Proverbs, about how a ruler can be Godly, Solomon writes this guideline about wrongdoing. It’s a verse many world leaders, past and present, would do well to follow–how many world leaders can we think of who have been caught in acts of injustice, greed, or unrighteousness? In each case, when such acts are brought to light, the welfare of the country often falls away and the scandal surrounding the leader is of paramount importance. These acts undermine authority and take away credibility, leaving nations often floundering for a leader they can trust again.
Even though human leaders are just that–human–they are still responsible for leading their people in a safe and trustworthy manner. Politics and its “deals” and “votes” comes second to God. When a leader is truly prayerful, considering God at every option, it shows, in a leadership that is firm without being brutish, gentle without being weak. Such leaders may not always appease everyone, but their actions are more centered on God, and for that, their leadership will be blessed, as David’s leadership was blessed in his reign of Israel.
This Goes for ALL Leaders–Including Us
This verse isn’t just for CEOs, presidents, and the like; it’s for any Christian who accepts a leadership position. We too have to take this same prayerful stance when we are given authority. We must not be caught in wrongdoing of any sort, because we are examples to the people we lead, and we are being observed, if not by others, then by God. Godly teachers must not cheat; Godly accountants must not fudge numbers; Godly managers must not treat employees harshly, and so on. (For example, in every lesson I do for the Sunday School class I lead, I must make sure that I am studying the Bible as deeply as I hope my class members are, and I must do my best to read Scripture as it was written and not just accept someone else’s interpretation.)
When we lead with God first and forget about all the politics and the pride of leadership, we might just find that leadership is a little bit easier, if not always a cakewalk. Sometimes, God puts us in power to help us guide others, and sometimes God puts power in our hands to teach us something, but in either case, we have to uphold righteousness in order to overcome our human weaknesses.