The closing paragraphs of an online Christianity Today article this week left me unsettled as we go to the polls to vote next week. The first three pages of the four page article were somewhat interesting, but when author Daniel Block turned on page 4 to “Moses’ Charter for Kingship in Deuteronomy 17:14-20, I starting thinking about our political leaders and candidates.
Block suggested from Moses’ instructions that “rulers [politicians] were to function as servants of their people.” “Moses,” he noted, “focused on the personal character of the king.” Not only that, “they were not to use their position of authority in self-interest.” As most of us would expect, Moses expected the leaders to believe in God and walk in his ways.
Looking at the broader record of the Old Testament and leaders, Block reminds us “God has never demanded moral perfection of those he thrusts into leadership roles.” Commenting specifically on the judges (leaders before there were kings), he notes “most were not models of political leadership upon which to lavish praise as much as an honest look at deeply flawed men [sic] whom God used in spite of themselves.”
As important as all these points are, Block’s summary seems most important to me: “the Israelite king’s primary function was to be a model citizen, so that people could look to him and declare, ‘I want to be like that person!’”
I certainly don’t think we can expect those we vote for to be perfect, but I do think we have every right to have high expectations of them. I believe they should be servants of the people and that they should not use their positions for self-interest. I think they should be good examples for us. I wish they would people we think highly of as well as people we wish we could be like.
Unfortunately, and sadly, I have not seen a lot of these qualities in very many of our political candidates and leaders recently in either party. Have you?
I think we all should vote. I also think we should follow the instruction of I Timothy 2:1-3, “I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people— for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Savior.”
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