you'll hear of someone running unopposed, especially in smaller jurisdictions. But when it comes to the challenge of great leadership, there are always those who believe they've got what we need.
What is interesting about the United States as a country is that, literally, anybody can run for President. Hollywood actor? Peanut farmer? Soldier? Preacher? Sure! Throw that hat right on into the ring! (Now that doesn't mean just anybody can get elected. But everyone is certainly welcome to try.)
See if you can spot it here in these four examples.
"In the seventh year of Jehu, Joash became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem forty years. His mother's name was Zibiah; she was from Beersheba. Joash did what was right in the eyes of the Lord all the years Jehoiada the priest instructed him." (II Kings 12:1-2)
"In the twenty-third year of Joash son of Ahaziah king of Judah, Jehoahaz son of Jehu became king of Israel in Samaria, and he reigned seventeen years. He did evil in the eyes of the Lord by following the sins of Jeroboam son of Nebat,..." (II Kings 13:1-2a)
"In the second year of Jehoash son of Jehoahaz king of Israel, Amaziah son of Joash king of Judah began to reign. He was twenty five years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem twenty-nine years. His mother's name was Jehoaddin; she was from Jerusalem. He did what was right in the eyes of the Lord, but not as his father David had done." (II Kings 14:1-3)
"In the twenty-seventh year of Jeroboam king of Israel, Azariah son of Amaziah king of Judah began to reign. He was sixteen years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem fifty-two years. His mother's name was Jecoliah; she was from Jerusalem. He did what was right in the eyes of the Lord, just as his father Amaziah had done." (II Kings 15:1-3)
This is what you will eventually notice:
1) The lineage of the king. Who was his father? Who was his mother? I think the frequent mention of the mother is especially significant as mothers have such a strong influence from a young age on the moral direction a person goes in as an adult.
2) Who else influences them? Is there a godly influence or an ungodly influence in their life. Because that's the kind of ruler you're getting. Jehu was advised by a priest, at least in his earlier years. Others chose horrendous advisors, Solomon's son Rehoboam most notable. (See I Kings 12 if you're curious.) Most followed the examples of a ruler before them, whether for good or ill.
3) In the eyes of the Lord how did they stand?
As I read through the books of Kings (and Chronicles, too, if you're so inclined) I noticed that the country tended to turn according to the character of the leadership. Evil leadership instituted and encouraged worship of other gods as well as a lot of other bad habits. Godly leadership knocked down idols and re-instituted temple worship. Wishy-washy leadership might remove some of the centers of idolatry, but it left others intact and didn't forbid the practice of worshiping foreign gods entirely. (Perhaps they were being politically correct about freedom of religion?)
Which of course brings us to our current presidential race. (Didn't see that coming, did you?)
Where they came from.
It's not simply a matter of "Who is your Mom? Who's your Dad?" But what or who influences you and what kind of character have you exhibited in the past? That's my strongest clue as to where you may plan to go in the future. Yes, people often have a change of heart, but it's probably not wise to bank on it happening within the four years they'll be in charge of the country and speaking for us to other countries.
As I've been reminded by the Bible, what politicians do is set policy. And if their policy is "Set up those high places and worship. And abandon that dusty ol' Temple." a surprising number of citizens will follow their lead without a second thought, just like Israel followed their kings into either sin or godliness. Don't think for a minute that we're more sophisticated than that. And don't underestimate the power of someone who has the gift of gab, a halfway reasonable argument, and some charisma.
I Kings 16:1-2 - Then the word of the Lord came to Jehu son of Hanani against Baasha: "I lifted you up from the dust and made you leader of my people Israel, but you walked in the ways of Jeroboam and caused my people Israel to sin and to provoke me to anger by their sins."
Think on that a moment. I'll wait. In the interests of fairness I'll throw in another political cartoon here. (I can't seem to get it to shrink to the size of the other one, though.):
You're back? Okay, two points here.
Second point, the direction the leader walked determined the direction of the people. That's why he is called a LEADer. You're not a leader if people don't follow, so if you're being followed, you have a responsibility.
There's also a responsible for the citizenry as to whether we follow or don't follow a certain leader. (But that's another blog.)
First point, God put the country's leader in their position, whether they think God had anything to do with it or not. So in the end they're answerable to Him, if not in this world, then in the next.
Whether you're a mayor of a rural town or a world leader with a seat in the United Nations, character matters. The world today is on a crash course with destiny, and everything we do is all about the will of God.