God’s Instructions for Rulers

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God’s Instructions for Rulers

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The current U.S. presidential race is an embarrassment to the nation. The two leading contenders fall short of biblical character standards in critical areas. One has a history of multiple bankruptcies, questionable business dealings, marriages and affairs. The other supported her philandering husband for years, lied repeatedly about her e-mail communications while U.S. Secretary of State, and advocates for homosexual marriage and killing the unborn.

The sad fact is that the nation gets the kind of leadership it deserves, and regrettably that will be true in this election.

What kind of standards does God expect in leaders? And once in office, what should they focus on in fulfilling their duties? What would help them be the kind of leaders God would want them to be?

Some 3,500 years ago God set down a “constitution” of sorts for a new nation. The nation was Israel, newly freed from enslavement by the Egyptians. God laid out rules that would bring blessings and empower Israel to be an example that other nations would want to emulate (Deuteronomy 4:5-8 Deuteronomy 4:5-8 5 Behold, I have taught you statutes and judgments, even as the LORD my God commanded me, that you should do so in the land where you go to possess it. 6 Keep therefore and do them; for this is your wisdom and your understanding in the sight of the nations, which shall hear all these statutes, and say, Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people. 7 For what nation is there so great, who has God so near to them, as the LORD our God is in all things that we call on him for? 8 And what nation is there so great, that has statutes and judgments so righteous as all this law, which I set before you this day?
American King James Version×
). The key to those blessings was following their new “constitution,” God’s laws as revealed in the first five books of the Bible.

No one would be above the law or exempt from it. In fact, leaders were instructed to intimately familiarize themselves with it so they could rule humbly, wisely and righteously, leading to blessing for both themselves and the nation. Notice God’s instruction in Deuteronomy 17:18-20 Deuteronomy 17:18-20 18 And it shall be, when he sits on the throne of his kingdom, that he shall write him a copy of this law in a book out of that which is before the priests the Levites: 19 And it shall be with him, and he shall read therein all the days of his life: that he may learn to fear the LORD his God, to keep all the words of this law and these statutes, to do them: 20 That his heart be not lifted up above his brothers, and that he turn not aside from the commandment, to the right hand, or to the left: to the end that he may prolong his days in his kingdom, he, and his children, in the middle of Israel.
American King James Version×
that kings were to write out a copy of God’s law and to read and rule by it continuously:

“When [the new king] sits on the throne as king, he must copy for himself this body of instruction on a scroll in the presence of the Levitical priests. He must always keep that copy with him and read it daily as long as he lives. That way he will learn to fear the Lord his God by obeying all the terms of these instructions and decrees.

“This regular reading will prevent him from becoming proud and acting as if he is above his fellow citizens. It will also prevent him from turning away from these commands in the smallest way. And it will ensure that he and his descendants will reign for many generations in Israel” (New Living Translation, 2015).

Consider these words of wisdom. Think on this deeply. How different would any nation be if its leadership took to heart this simple and plain instruction? What an astounding difference it would make!