How to Choose a Leader

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We are about to elect many leaders of this country in November at the presidential level as well as at the state and local levels. What should you look for when choosing a new leader?  Everyone will tell you you have to educate yourself on the issues and how that person stands on those issues.  I agree. But I would also say you have to a look at the person themselves and where God stands in their life.  I am going to compare Israel’s first two kings, Saul and David, as an example.

After leaving Egypt and settling in the promised land, the Hebrews were first lead by judges. Judges were homegrown individuals that would rise up to lead during a time of attack from another nation or other difficulty. That person would continue to lead under the rule of God as the “King” (see 1 Samuel 8:7). But the Hebrews realized the surrounding nations were led by kings and wanted to have a king themselves.

The people presented their request for a king to Samuel, the religious leader at that time. However, Samuel explained to them what it meant to have a king instead of a judge. “But the people refused to listen to Samuel. ‘No!’ they said. ‘We want a king over us.  Then we will be like all the other nations, with a king to lead us and to go out before us and fight our battles’ When Samuel heard all that the people said, he repeated it before the Lord. The Lord answered, ‘Listen to them and give them a king.'(1 Samuel 8:19-22).

The first king of Israel chosen was Saul. Saul did not follow God’s commands on many occasions instead choosing his own way. When confronted about his actions, Saul claimed he feared the people, therefore, he chose to listen to them instead of listening to the voice of God (1 Samuel 15). From that time on, Saul’s days as king were numbered.

Then God sent Samuel to appoint Saul’s replacement. The Lord chose David, described as a “man after God’s own heart.” Being human, David still made mistakes, but when David realized that he didn’t follow God’s way, he asked for God’s forgiveness (see Psalm 51 for David’s prayer of forgiveness after he had disobeyed God). God chose David not because he was perfect but because of his willingness to humble himself and follow God. 1 Samuel 16:7 says, “for God sees not as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” 

Our leaders will all come under attack, and many of these attacks happen in the public’s view.  The key is how they handle the attack. Do they ask God for His guidance?  And when they make a mistake, do they blame others or cry out to God and repent of their misdeeds?  How do you know which response the leaders you vote for will take? Again, look at where they stand on issues, and look at their actions. Finally, pray that the Lord leads you to the proper candidate because He knows their heart.

No matter who wins in November, always remember, God is still in control. 

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