Wednesday, March 26, 2014
by Bill Wilson
In recent days, the Lord has repeatedly placed on my heart Exodus 18:21, “Moreover you shall provide out of all the people able men, such as fear God, men of truth, hating covetousness; and place such over them to be rules of thousands, and rulers of hundreds, rulers of fifties, and rulers of tens.” The context of this verse on Biblical leadership is found in the need for Moses to settle disputes among the Israelites. It was taking so much of his time that it was wearing him out. Asked by his father in law Jethro what he was doing, Moses replied, “When they have a matter, they come unto me; and I judge between one and another, and I do make them know the statutes of God, and his laws.”
Moses was leading the people through the example of the laws and statutes of God. As he did so, he taught the people about God’s ways as Jethro observed in verse 20: “And you shall teach them ordinances and laws, and shall show them the way wherein they must walk, and the work that they must do.” Then Jethro suggested to Moses the representative form of government found in verse 21. But it is not only a representative system, it is a form of leadership that is based on example, efficiency, accountability, and fairness under the law. This very system is the picture of good leadership because it speaks to the character and system of good governance.
Able men are those who are competent to lead. Men who fear God are those who have respect for God and knowledge of his ways because one cannot have respect without some idea of what it is that is respected. Men of truth are those who know and live by the truth. If Jesus is the way, the truth and the life, these leaders must know the Lord in order to know truth. Men who hate covetousness. Covetousness is defined as having or showing a great desire to possess something, typically something belonging to someone else. A government is covetousness when those running it want to take what you have and give it to someone else. The governing body becomes covetous if the men running it are so.
The Hebrew translation of the words for this verse are those that mean competent, God-fearing, honest and incorruptible. These are the qualities of good leaders. This system of government served as the basis for the government of the United States when the Founders framed up the Constitution. The Framers also were consistent in describing the type of leaders that should be elected into this form of government–religious, moral, Christian were words often used by various Founders in their private writings and speeches. If as Christians we accept the word of God as inerrant and infallible, then we should choose leaders who hold the qualities of leadership described by the Bible, and hold them accountable.
Have a Blessed and Powerful Day!