Leadership From A Biblical Perspective

LeadershipPresidential Campaign

Based on the mud-slinging and character assassinations taking place in the media and on the internet, the presidential campaign for the highest office in our nation is in full swing. There is a lot of sounding brass and tinkling cymbals in the air. With all this noise, how does one separate truth from error? Whom do you trust to formulate your opinion about the different candidates? The liberal media? Your friends and relatives? How about your favorite radio talk show host whom you listen to everyday? Hint. None of the above. In a civilized society where I like to think that reasonable people can disagree agreeably, I recognize that in a high-profile presidential campaign where a great deal is at stake, this is virtually impossible. People oftentimes behave in unseemly ways when it comes to the acquisition of power. Lord Acton stated it beautifully when he said, “power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” It appears that some people’s lust for power is insatiable; and some will do anything to acquire it.  Lie, cheat, steal, spread false rumors, and yes, even kill.

As we examine the current presidential candidates from both parties, I would like to propose that we look at leadership from a biblical perspective. After all, the Bible was the foundation of our Founding Fathers when they crafted the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights. As a Judeo-Christian nation, our values are derived from biblical principles that enabled us, in a very short period of time, to become the envy of nations throughout the world. Let’s look at three leaders in the Bible and the qualities they exemplified. In examining these individuals, you can compare their qualities with the current presidential candidates and come up with your own conclusions to see how the qualities of your favorite candidate compares with the attributes of three important individuals in the Bible.

Moses 

Moses was born at a time when the king of Egypt decreed that every newborn male among the Israelites should be put to death. When Moses was three months old, his mother placed him in an ark of bulrushes, sealed it with slime and pitch and placed the little boat on the river’s edge. Walking along the river with her maidens, Pharoah’s daughter discovered the baby, named him Moses and raised him as her son (Exodus 2:1-10).

As a young man, Moses walked among his brethren, the Israelites, and discovered an Egyptian overseer beating a Hebrew. Instinctively, Moses killed the Egyptian and hid him in the sand. When Pharoah discovered what happened, Moses fled for his life to Midian where he eventually married Zipporah who bore him a son, Gershom.

Humility and Obedience 

A number of years passed and the king of Egypt died and the children of Israel prayed to God to deliver them from their bondage in Egypt. God heard their pleas and spoke to Moses in the midst of a burning bush.

Exodus 3:9-10
Now therefore, behold, the cry of the children of Israel is come unto me: and
I have also seen the oppression wherewith the Egyptians oppress them.
Come now therefore, and I will send thee unto Pharoah, that thou mayest bring
forth my people the children of Israel out of Egypt.

Now Moses wasn’t exactly jumping for joy when he heard what God wanted him to do. After all, Moses was a wanted man when he fled Egypt. What was his initial response to God’s request? “And Moses said unto God, Who am I, that I should go unto Pharoah, and that I should bring forth the children of Israel out of Egypt?” (Exodus:3:11). This is a perfectly understandable and human response. Moses then begins coming up with all kinds of objections as to why he didn’t want to do what God called him to do. The objections were: 1) What is God’s name and what shall I say to the children of Israel? 2) The children of Israel rejected Moses in the past, why would they believe that God sent him to deliver them out of Egypt? 3) Moses was not an eloquent speaker; he was “slow of speech and of a slow tongue” (Exodus 4:10). God responded to all of Moses’ concerns and told him that Aaron, the brother of Moses, would be his spokesman. “And thou shalt speak unto him [Aaron], and put words in his mouth: and I will be with thy mouth, and with his mouth, and will teach you what ye shall do” (Exodus 4:15).

In the end, Moses humbled himself to do the will of God and was obedient to perform all that God asked him to do. As a result of his humility and obedience, he was able to lead the Israelites out of Egypt after they were in bondage for several hundred years.

David

David was the youngest of eight sons of Jesse. He came from a humble background and was a simple shepherd boy trained to tend his father’s sheep in Bethlehem.  Because of King Saul’s disobedience to God, Samuel, the prophet was sent to Jesse’s home to anoint the next king of Israel. As Jesse’s sons were brought one by one before Samuel, the prophet assumed that surely Eliab, Abinadab, and any one of the seven sons whom he met would be the next king of Israel. However, God’s response to Samuel was “Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the Lord seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart” (1 Samuel 16:7). After inquiring if Jesse had any other sons, David was then brought before Samuel. God informed Samuel that David would be the next king of Israel. When Samuel anointed David with oil, the spirit of the Lord came upon David (1 Samuel 16:13).

Courage, Boldness, Conviction

The story of David and Goliath is a story of a young man’s courage, boldness, and conviction in confronting the enemy of God and His people. David was sent as an errand boy to deliver food to his brothers who were in the midst of a battle between the armies of Israel and the Philistines.  When David arrived on the battlefield, Goliath, the champion of the Philistines, emerged and started trash talking to the armies of Israel. David was offended by the words of Goliath and said to the Israelites, “who is this uncircumcised Philistine, that he should defy the armies of the living God?” (1 Samuel 17:26). With fearless courage, boldness, and conviction, David volunteered to fight Goliath. He told Goliath exactly what he planned to do:

1 Samuel 17:46-47
This day will the Lord deliver thee into mine hand; and I will
smite thee, and take thine head from thee; and I will give the
carcases of the host of the Philistines this day unto the fowls of
the air, and to the wild beasts of the earth; that all the earth
may know that there is a God in Israel.
And all this assembly shall know that the Lord saveth not with
sword and spear: for the battle is the Lord’s, and he will give
you into our hands. 

Noteworthy in this bold declaration is David’s reliance on God and the acknowledgement that God would bring the victory to pass. Not utilizing any high tech weaponry, David relied simply on his sling shot and a few smooth stones to slay the giant. True to his word, after Goliath fell to the ground, David used Goliath’s sword to cut off his head and the battle was won for Israel.

Jesus Christ

Reliance on God and Moral Courage

Perhaps the greatest example of a leader is the only begotten Son of God, Jesus Christ. Jesus always did the will of His Father. “I can of mine own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is just; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me” (John 4:30). Prior to his public ministry, Jesus was led into the wilderness and after forty days and forty nights of fasting, he was tempted by the Devil. One of the temptations Jesus was confronted with was that if Jesus would bow down and worship the Devil, the Devil would give him all the kingdoms of the world.

Matthew 4:8-10
Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth
him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them;
And saith unto him, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and
worship me.
Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt
worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.

As tempting as it may have been, Jesus had the moral courage to resist the Devil’s offer and did not sell out to the Devil’s temptation. Jesus recognized the snare of the Devil when he taught the people this truth. “For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?” (Mark 8:36).  Unfortunately, there are many politicians and individuals in the public and private sector who have sold out in order to gain fame, fortune, and power.

Honesty and Humility

Jesus Christ always held to the standard of God’s Word. He wasn’t a politician who shifted his views with every political wind of doctrine, nor was he a moral relativist who changed his ideas to fit the culture, society or prevailing ideas of the day. Jesus was an outsider who was never politically correct. He criticized the religious leaders for being hypocrites and accused them that their father was the Devil (Matthew 6:5, John 8:44), he cleaned out the temple because it was made into “a den of thieves” (Luke 19:46), he hung out with a tax collector (Luke 19:4), he defended a woman accused of adultery (John 8:7), and even healed the sick on the sabbath day (Luke 13:14). He was marginalized, underestimated, and considered extremely dangerous to the status quo. He was never boastful of the miracles he performed and always directed the glory to God, his heavenly Father.

Servant Leadership 

Above all, Jesus was a servant who gave his life so that we would receive remission of sins and  have eternal life. He fought against the evil corruption of his time and recognized the spiritual competition that people were engulfed in.

1 John 3:8
He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning.
For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the
works of the devil.

In due time, Christ died for the ungodly (Romans 5:6) so that we could have life and have it more abundantly (John 10:10). Jesus Christ started a revolution and the world has never been the same since.

Pray for Wisdom

As we examine the different presidential candidates, it is not enough to hear the words that they speak and the promises that are made. Matthew 7:15 warns us to “Beware of false prophets which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.”

2 Peter 2:18-19
For when they speak great swelling words of vanity, they allure through the
lusts of the flesh, through much wantonness, those that were clean escaped
from them who live in error.
While they promise them liberty, they themselves are the servants of corruption:
For of whom a man is overcome, of the same is he brought in bondage.

Romans 16:18 warns us that “Good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple.” Furthermore, we must examine the fruit of their lives; “Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them” (Matthew 7:20).

Researching the presidential candidates, whether it involves reviewing their voting records if they are politicians, their accomplishments, whether they are in government or the private sector, and reading about their lives in books that they, and others have written, will help inform our decisions. It is not enough to research the candidates themselves, but equally important is researching and educating ourselves about our Founding Fathers, the Declaration of Independence, the United States Constitution, and our Bill of Rights. John Adams stated that “liberty cannot be preserved without general knowledge among the people.” As a Judeo-Christian nation, we have the inherent belief that God is the giver of rights and not man.

Another way to separate truth from error is to read the Bible. The Bible is our litmus test to separate truth from error. Just as Jesus Christ knew the Scriptures, it is important to read and apply the principles from the Bible in our lives. “Be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves” (James 1:22). True wisdom can only come from God through a knowledge and application of His Word.

I believe our nation is at a crossroads in history. It is incumbent upon each and every one of us to pray for our country, our people, the military, and for wisdom that God will select the right presidential candidate to lead our country during this critical time in our nation’s history. “If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land” (2 Chronicles 7:14).

All scriptures are quoted from the King James Version unless otherwise noted. Explanatory insertions within a scripture are enclosed in brackets.

Copyright © 2016 Aleta You. All Rights Reserved.

Comments

  1. Bill Wriston says:

    Thanks. Great article.

  2. Melissa Baker says:

    Dr. You, Thank you so much for your insightful view of leadership from the spiritual lens of God’s Word. As we prepare to vote, I have been reminded by you of the “litmus test” that we must use to measure our presidential candidates against. It is our responsibility as Christians and American citizens to stayed informed and to do our best to preserve this great nation that we’ve been entrusted with. Thanks again and God bless America!

    • Dear Melissa,
      Thanks so much for writing. Yes, as Christians we have the responsibility of ensuring that this great nation of ours continues to flourish so that we are “one nation, under God indivisible with liberty and justice for all.”
      God bless you,
      Aleta

  3. Gale Marchand says:

    Well written, excellent biblical insight, and wonderful depth and breadth. Thank you, Dr. You. – Gale Marchand

    • Dear Gale,
      Thank you. It was a blessing to work on this topic. God’s Word helps us to separate truth from error in assessing our presidential candidates.
      Aleta

  4. Your blog is God centered and excellent as always. Pray first for God’s will. Pray for Trump. 2 Peter 2:18-19

  5. Nice post thanks for sharing the link to your blog. It is good to see a colleague who stands with the household. I teach in the department of communication at The University of North Florida.
    Regards,
    Christine Holland, Ed.D.

    • Dear Christine,
      Thank you for writing and thank you for all that you do to make a difference in the lives of students whom you come into contact with.
      God bless you,
      Aleta

  6. Great piece. It really is disappointing to see so many get caught up emotionally in politics rather than rising up over that with the logic of what you stated is the Judeo-Christian thinking our nation was built on. Tweeted.

    • Thank you for writing Dave. I agree. We need to vote based on logic and reasoning and on the principles that our country was founded on. Hopefully, people will see through some of the emotionalism and fear tactics that some of the candidates are using to win votes.
      Aleta

  7. Linda Gail Berty says:

    God bless Aleta. What refreshing thoughts about our freedom and the biblical perpectives of three great men, Moses, David and our Lord Jesus Christ. Moses was the first leader that formed a republic by way of his father-in-law Jethro. This first republic, called the “ancient Biblical principles”, was what Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson used to help model our Constitution. The Founders were astounded about ancient Israel and its “Peoples Law”. Moses was raised under the “Ruler’s Law, and he at first tried to rule under this law a two and half million people. This did not work very well. Jethro his father-in-law taught him a more perfect way called the “People’s Law”. The “People’s Law” was a model of the first known representative government. I agree we should educate ourselves about the Bible, the leaders in the Bible, the Declaration of Independence, the United States Constitution and the Bill of Rights. Thanks for bringing all these great truths back to our rememberance. We need to believe for sound thinking candidates who are moral and ethical.

    • Dear Linda,
      I appreciate your writing and sharing about the “People’s Law” that Moses instituted on the advice of his father-in-law, Jethro. What a rich heritage we have and the need to preserve it. God bless you!
      Aleta

  8. David Lippold says:

    Dear Dr. You,
    God bless you.

    Thank you so much for taking the time to write this article, to help encourage all Americans, especially Christians to go back to the guiding principles of our Nation’s found – the Bible, the Word of God. Many of our Founders would have agreed with everything you wrote.

    * “It is impossible to rightly govern the world without God and Bible.” – George Washington.
    * “We have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion. Avarice, ambition, revenge, or gallantry, would break the strongest cords of our Constitution as a whale goes through a net. Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.” – John Adams [October 11, 1798].
    * “God who gave us life gave us liberty. And can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are a gift from God?” – Thomas Jefferson.
    * “Let each citizen remember at the moment he is offering his vote that he is not making a present or a compliment to please an individual — or at least that he ought not so to do; but that he is executing one of the most solemn trusts in human society for which he is accountable to God and his country.” – Samuel Adams.

    With love and respect,
    David Lippold

    • Dear Rev. Lippold,
      Thank you for your comments and for the quotes from our Founding Fathers. We, the people, have been given a sacred trust and a responsibility to preserve our Constitution and all that it stands for.

      God bless you,
      Aleta

  9. Wonderful Biblical perspective, Aleta. It reassures me that God is always in control and will work His perfect will and grow us and our leaders during this tumultuous election cycle.

    • Dear Lynda,
      Thank you for writing. Yes, in spite of all the turmoil taking place in the world, God is still on the throne! Thank you also, for the beautiful coffee mug that you sent me. God bless you!
      Aleta

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