Biblical Leadership

As I read Psalm 72 this morning, I thought about how it is a really pretty good summary of what might be called “biblical leadership.” At least, these are the qualities the psalmist sought in the “ideal king.” In this political season, when so many are wearing their faith on their sleeves, perhaps this psalm might be a good reflection piece for us all:

(Verse) 1 Give the King your justice, O God, and your righteousness to the King’s Son — so what does justice and righteousness mean here? Read on:

2. That he may rule your people righteously and the poor with justice — so, “rulers” are to treat poor folks “rightly” and with justice.

3. That the mountains may bring prosperity to the people, and the little hills bring righteousness — assuring economic security and justice for all is part of the role.

4. He shall defend the needy among the people; he shall rescue the poor and crush the oppressor — sounds like “a preferential option for the poor” to me. Beware, oppressors!

7b. there shall be abundance of peace till the moon shall be no more — rulers are to be peacemakers.

9. His foes shall bow down before him, and his enemies lick the dust — yes, there is a “commander in chief” role here, in our broken world.

12. For he shall deliver the poor who cries out in distress, and the oppressed who has no helper. 13 He shall have pity on the lowly and poor; he shall preserve the lives of the needy. 14. He shall redeem their lives from oppression and violence, and dear shall their blood be in his sight — sounds like the ideal leader has compassion for those in the realm who are victims of violence and mourns every loss of life (maybe even with tears).

15. Long may he live! And may there be given to him gold from Arabia; may prayer be made for him always, and may they bless him all the day long — best wishes and adequate support must be given the ideal ruler. And it wouldn’t hurt to offer our prayers and blessing as well!

Interesting how much more attention is give to the leader’s concern and actions for the poor than to “national security.” Both are there. It’s just that justice is at the heart of the people’s security. Or, so it seems to me.



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