Government Officials Who Make God Angry
With the 2020 campaign marathon coming on strong, we can’t turn on the news without hearing about the candidates. It’s a good time to ask, what are characteristics in a political leader that make God furious and bring down his judgment against their town, city, or nation?
I hear some supposedly biblical pastors claiming that when it comes to politics you need to look for a different kind of leader than when you’re looking for a Sunday school teacher or pastor. Well, let’s put aside the characteristics of a godly, church leader presented in 1 Timothy 2 and Titus 1 and carefully consider what God has to say about the actions of political leaders that still make him furious.
Our prophet, Zephaniah, has just finished talking about how God wiped out the pagan nations surrounding Israel to the west, south, and north. We learned that nations like Egypt and Assyria might not have believed the LORD, but this didn’t mean that they could escape his judgment against their arrogance, deception, and brutal violence, especially against the weak and powerless. Now he turns his attention to what’s going on right there in his home city of Jerusalem. What are its political leaders like, and what’s God doing to do about them?
Woe, O rebellious and defiled one, the oppressing city!
She listens to no voice. She accepts no correction.
She does not trust in the LORD. She does not draw near to her God.
Her governmental officials in her midst are roaring lions. Her judges are wolves of the evening who leave nothing until the morning.” Zephaniah 3:1-3
Years ago Mary and I met with several young couples who were just getting started in their careers in business, real estate, law, medicine, and heavy industry. From God’s word we challenged them to commit themselves to being humble before the LORD, to be good listeners and open to correction; and to remember how much the LORD hates arrogance, bribes, partiality, and indifference to the needs of the powerless.
Many of them now hold important positions in our hospitals, courtrooms, police stations, schools, and business offices in light and heavy industry. And I pray that they will remember that God hasn’t changed his mind about the character traits that he looks for especially in political and judicial leaders.
So as we begin to evaluate candidates running for office, we need to be careful not to base our decisions on who we believe will protect our own self-interest. If we think roaring lions and ravenous wolves in power will protect us, we need to take another look at what happened to Jerusalem when God said he had had enough.
LORD, bless my brothers and sisters in Christ today who will enter their courtrooms and have to make wise decisions. Keep them humble, free from deception, bribes, or seeking to satisfy only their own constituency. Help us all to remember that when we as your people act in the same wicked ways as those who reject you, we will not escape your discipline by claiming that we are your children.
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