“When you come to the land which the LORD your God is giving you, and possess it and dwell in it, and say, ‘I will set a king over me like all the nations that are around me,’ you shall surely set a king over you whom the LORD your God chooses; one from among your brethren you shall set as king over you; you may not set a foreigner over you, who is not your brother. But he shall not multiply horses for himself, nor cause the people to return to Egypt to multiply horses, for the LORD has said to you, ‘You shall not return that way again.’ Neither shall he multiply wives for himself, lest his heart turn away; nor shall he greatly multiply silver and gold for himself.
“Also it shall be, when he sits on the throne of his kingdom, that he shall write for himself a copy of this law in a book, from the one before the priests, the Levites. And it shall be with him, and he shall read it all the days of his life, that he may learn to fear the LORD his God and be careful to observe all the words of this law and these statutes, that his heart may not be lifted above his brethren, that he may not turn aside from the commandment to the right hand or to the left, and that he may prolong his days in his kingdom, he and his children in the midst of Israel.
DEUTERONOMY 17:14-20 NKJV
Kings are to concern themselves with the Word of God.
It was the duty of an Israelite king: “When he sits on the throne of his kingdom, that he shall write for himself a copy of this law in a book… “
Writing out the law meant that kings would have to focus on what it said. This made it personal to the king.
It is clear from the Word of God that kings are to have intimate knowledge of what it says and to use it as a manual of governance and leadership. We have a tendency to reduce God’s Word to something applicable in a church/religion setting rather than see it as the centrepiece of society and something that dominates our leadership thinking and practice.
There was a time when God’s Word had such prominence in society. Scripture was regularly debated in the Houses of Parliament.
Speaking of Westminster, an Evangelical Times article states:
Within the tiled floor is a verse from Psalms, ‘Unless the Lord builds the house, the builders labour in vain’ (127:1), a striking reminder of the divine perspective on parliamentary affairs.
Other biblical quotations are emblazoned throughout the building. In the floor tiles of the Royal Gallery are the words, ‘The heart of the Queen is in the hand of the Lord’ (Proverbs 21:1). Above many of the offices are carved in wood the words, ‘Fear the Lord’.
Benjamin West’s 1784 painting of Moses receiving the Ten Commandments on Mount Sinai hangs over the entrance to Westminster Hall; the British law-courts used to occupy the Hall before they moved to the Royal Courts of Justice on the Strand in the 1880s.
The problem with society, it could reasonably be argued, is that leaders in the so-called secular sphere do not lead from God’s Word. Some wise and effective leadership principles in secular life can easily be traced to the Bible but the whole counsel of God is, sadly, not sought by leaders. When we reduce the application of the Bible to a merely church or religion role, we rob the wider world of the one true source of wisdom, power and societal transformation.
Now in those days, when the number of the disciples was multiplying, there arose a complaint against the Hebrews by the Hellenists, because their widows were neglected in the daily distribution. Then the twelve summoned the multitude of the disciples and said, “It is not desirable that we should leave the word of God and serve tables. Therefore, brethren, seek out from among you seven men of good reputation, full of the Holy Spirit and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business; but we will give ourselves continually to prayer and to the ministry of the word.”
Acts 6:1-4 NKJV
There is a principle here that, although applicable in an ekklesia setting, also has massive ramifications if it were taken into “secular” realms.
The principle is that senior leaders spend their time in prayer. Also, in the ministry of the Word. Imagine a world in which business and civic council leaders spent serious time in God’s Presence then came with a message from God for the institutions and people under their leadership.
Imagine kings, presidents and heads of state leading like this.
The reality is that this is exactly how leaders of nations and organisations are supposed to lead.
And imagining such a world is your job as a Christian leader.
The job of a Christian leader is to totally immerse him/herself in the Word and lead based on what it says. Bringing that mindset out of the religion mountain and into all the other mountains that shape culture is a massive part of our task.
Fellowshipping the Lord with prayer and the Word is the vital job of every leader in every field.
Rulers and leaders must teach the fear of the Lord to those who follow them – and they learn this themselves by spending serious time in the Word and prayer.
Notice from the passage in Deuteronomy 17 above that the Word keeps kings humble and also prolongs their days. This is a vital leadership principle.
Leaders must function and live from the place of Presence i.e. from ttime spent in the Presence of God.