What are the guidelines in choosing the next president, senator, congressman, mayor, and so on?
The Bible gives us principles we can draw from the different leaders and kings that have ruled in the Old Testament.
One of them is Abimelech.
Abimelech was one of the sons of Gideon. His name meant “my dad is the king.” This would already give you an idea of what kind of character he was.
Gideon was one of the judges in Israel. A judge was one whom the Lord raised as a temporary and special deliverer and rescued the Israelites from their oppressors. After Gideon and his 300 won the war against the Midianites, the people wanted to make Gideon king. His response?
“I will not rule over you, and my son will not rule over you; the Lord will rule over you.” (Judges 8:23)
Gideon was reiterating what already has been established in Deuteronomy 33:5 that the Lord Himself was their King. They weren’t a monarchy but a theocracy.
GREAT LEADERSHIP ACKNOWLEDGES WHO THE ULTIMATE LEADER IS.
All of us are under authority.
Whether you’re the head of your house, student council president, unit manager, CEO or board chairman, you have delegated authority.
God is the Supreme Authority and there’s no authority that we are able to wield apart from Him delegating it to us.
Now, since Gideon chose to not become king, guess who aspired for it? His son, Abimelech did.
Abimelech goes to his mom’s house and hires her to be his campaign manager. After which, he goes to his relatives and gets their loyalty. And then, he goes to the key leaders of his city to explain his platform. He had great execution but with bad intention.
He was hungry for power and desired to get it whatever it took.
As a result, he killed his half brothers – all seventy of them. For whatever reason he had in mind, he needed to get rid of all the possible hindrances from him becoming king.
HUNGER FOR POWER CORRUPTS JUDGMENT.
As he started his campaign, his relatives spoke to the leaders of Shechem .
“So Abimelech’s uncles gave his message to all the citizens of Shechem on his behalf. And after listening to this proposal, the people of Shechem decided in favor of Abimelech because he was their relative.”(Judges 9:3, NLT)
It’s not wrong to have a relative rise in leadership. Moses and Aaron were brothers as they led Israel out of Egypt. But relationship is not the main qualification but character and competence.
Does the person have integrity? And does he have the skills to lead the city, region, province, nation?
David led God’s people well. And the Bible says that he led them “with integrity of heart and skillful hands.” (Psalm 79:72)
During the campaign, Abimelech’s relatives gave him 70 pieces of silver out of the house of Baal-berith. (Judges 9:4)
Campaign funds are necessary but somehow, they started using funds from evil sources. And here’s the principle:
MONEY FROM EVIL SOURCES IS RARELY USED TO HONOR GOD OR HELP OTHERS.
In choosing the next leader, it is important to know where they get their campaign funds for where they get it from is where they will be grateful towards.
With these campaign funds, Abimelech “used the silver to hire some lawless, dangerous men as his followers.” (Judges 9:4, NET)
He then goes to his father’s house and set out to kill his 70 brothers.
Be wary of men of violence.
MEN OF VIOLENCE ARE OFTEN SURROUNDED WITH MEN WHO ARE VIOLENT THEMSELVES.
But as the story goes, the very people who crowned Abimelech as king were the same people who plotted to get rid of him. The way he started his kingship was also the manner he was exiting it.
While the men of Shechem was trying to pursue him to get rid of him, he ran to a tower. As he approached the entrance, a woman dropped a millstone on his head and cracked his skull. Bad leaders and bad people attract each other, use each other and destroy each other.
But before we ask why we have bad leaders, let’s ask ourselves, “Are we a bad people?”
Are we manipulative? Are we clannish? Are we selfish in our thinking?
The leaders will come from the very people they will lead in the future. The leaders of tomorrow are already the leaders of today. Are we living in integrity? Is there a sincere love for the nation? Do we pay the right taxes? Do we still go when the traffic light’s red? Do we put the litter in our pockets or flippantly throw them on the streets?
What then is a sign of good leadership?
Jesus told us in Matthew 20:25-28:
Jesus called them together and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave— just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
A LEADER THAT SERVES IS A LEADER WORTH FOLLOWING.
Why do the candidates have to say, “When I am elected, I will do this and that…?”
Why wait till they’re elected? What have they done now? What is their track record?
A leader is one who serves now and not when he is elected.
These are thoughts from the life of Abimelech and are by no means exhaustive.
I pray that God will give us the insight and pray through who we will write on the ballots when the time comes we go to the precincts.
But most of all, to those who follow Christ, we are called to pray for our leaders and our nation.
We are told in 2 Chronicles 7:14:
If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.
As the people of God we are called to:
1. Humble ourselves.
3. Seek His face.
4. Turn from our wicked ways.
Because of this, God will hear our prayers and heal our land.
God bless the Philippines.