Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Undivided Leadership

The link between good leaders and successful ventures is undeniable. In corporate America, the best companies do not take leadership for granted, but spend a great deal of time and money promoting those with leadership skills and grooming the best leaders to take the reins at the right time.

In the same way, nations need leaders who are undivided in their ways. And nations that have undivided leadership themselves remain undivided. Even more, nations who rally under the banner of God enjoy His blessing – not randomly but in a focused and targeted way. God gives blessing to righteous nations who vow to follow Him.

For proof, look no further than the Israelite nation of the Old Testament. Though they started out relatively small and they had no place to call their own for a time, God gave them victory after victory to overcome enemies who should have defeated them easily. This was not a chance event – God gave them success because they were His chosen people. However, the Israelites eventually grew jealous of the leadership structure of other nations and asked their God-appointed leaders for a king. Though he clearly did not like the prospect, Samuel anointed Saul as the first king of Israel, and things began to worsen.

Saul did not turn out to be a good king, and faltered in his governing, losing sight of God to the point that he called on a witch to predict his future. That event led directly to his death (1 Samuel 28:19). Saul was followed by David, a much better king overall, and the nation of Israel enjoyed God’s blessing for a time. At the end of David’s reign, Israel enjoyed a peace and prosperity that they had never known before.

David’s son, Solomon, took over the throne, and though he started out strong, his final years signaled the beginning of the downfall of God’s chosen people. 1 Kings 11:4 says, “As Solomon grew old, his wives turned his heart after other gods, and his heart was not fully devoted to the Lord his God.” When Solomon had finished building the temple, God promised that the nation of Israel would be cut off and rejected if he ever turned away from God. Isn’t it interesting that this promise hinged on the faithfulness of one man in the entire nation – the leader? The result of Solomon’s divided heart was a divided people. Israel would soon split into two nations and would never attain her previous glory. God is faithful to all of His promises.

Proverbs 14:34 tell us that “righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a disgrace to any people.” Indeed, it seems the leaders of our own beloved United States have plunged us into the same state as Israel after Solomon’s rule. In nearly every area, our nation’s leaders equivocate on truths that should never have been placed in doubt. The role of government vs. the family, education, the loss of individual freedoms, abortion, and even the current high state of taxation all rail against the principles set out by God in his word. We are witnessing a presidential election in which both political parties have thrown out many of God’s basic tenets as outdated or inapplicable.

What would happen if just one voice in politics stood up and proclaimed to follow God’s laws, strictly and fully, while in office? That candidate would be the object of ridicule, cast aside as out-of-touch and possessing a skewed mindset. But that attitude is exactly what God demands of our leaders – an attitude that is undivided, unwavering and humbled to God’s laws. And if we were to elect such a candidate, the blessings of God would return and righteousness would exalt our nation, just as it did over two centuries ago.

And that can happen. It requires the faithfulness and efforts of God’s people to bring about that change, just as it has throughout history. If there is one thing that the Bible teaches us, it is that God is willing to forgive and start anew with His people. Pray for our country, that we might return to living (and leading) under God’s laws and that His blessing will return to us.

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