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A Sobering Scriptural Warning to Rulers and Leaders

October 30, 2016
Photo by Jacyln Lippelmann for the Catholic Standard.

Photo by Jacyln Lippelmann for the Catholic Standard.

During the current political period, when many leaders will be elected, we do well to recall the strong admonitions of God to those who attain to leadership, whether as politicians, community leaders, teachers, or others of significant influence.

The Book of Wisdom (6:1-25) contains a stern warning for those of authority and influence. I present it here along with a few comments (in red) of my own.

In my commentary, I deliberately do not mention specific leaders or parties. This problem is older than the current year; it is a human problem that has beset every age. But I would also argue that it is a particularly serious issue today. To be fair, though, it has been emerging in stages and growing in severity for several decades now, since the cultural revolution.

With those disclaimers in mind, consider with me this admonition from the Lord in the Book of Wisdom.

Hear, therefore, kings, and understand;
learn, you magistrates of the earth’s expanse!
Hearken, you who are in power over the multitude
and lord it over throngs of peoples!
Because authority was given you by the Lord
and sovereignty by the Most High,
who shall probe your works
and scrutinize your counsels!

We live in times when government officials often rule more than they serve. Laws are passed that are increasingly burdensome. And many of these laws are coming, not from elected officials who must answer to their voters, but from unelected judges and government bureaucrats. Some of these new policies violate religious liberty and impose obligations that violate the consciences of many. But these considerations are set aside and those in power lord it over the people they serve, forcing them to comply with unjust and immoral laws or else face fines and/or jeopardize their careers. To the degree that those leaders transgress the proper bounds for a ruler, they will answer to God for what they do.

Because, though you were ministers of his kingdom,
you judged not rightly, and did not keep the law,
nor walk according to the will of God,

Consider how many laws are proudly passed today that are direct violations of God’s moral law (e.g., legalization of abortion, same-sex “marriage,” and euthanasia/assisted suicide). Those who craft such laws, support them, and/or fund them, will answer to God.

Terribly and swiftly shall he come against you,
because judgment is stern for the exalted—
For the lowly may be pardoned out of mercy
but the mighty shall be mightily put to the test.
For the Lord of all shows no partiality,
nor does he fear greatness,
Because he himself made the great as well as the small,
and he provides for all alike;
but for those in power a rigorous scrutiny impends
.

Yes, many seek power in this world without recalling the important truth proclaimed here. Judgment is indeed weightier for those who are powerful, wealthy or influential. We seek these things even though the Scriptures warn that it is hard for the rich to inherit the kingdom (Matthew 19:23), that not many of us should be teachers (James 3:1), and that to whom much is given much is expected (Luke 12:48). Those who attain to such levels must be very humble before God, seek his help and remember that they will answer to him.

To you, therefore, O princes,  are my words addressed
that you may learn wisdom and that you may not sin.
For those who keep the holy precepts hallowed shall be found holy,
and those learned in them will have ready a response.
Desire therefore my words;
long for them and you shall be instructed
.

Fear God, not man. Seek his wisdom, not what is merely politically advantageous. Yet sadly most of our leaders, powerful though they are, do fear man more than God. To attain to high positions, many have made serious moral compromises and been willing to dismiss divine mandates in favor of often immoral demands of sinful human beings. Rare indeed is the ruler that recalls divine judgments and refuses to compromise God’s law, or teaches his people to do the same.

If, then, you find pleasure in throne and scepter, you princes of the peoples,
honor Wisdom, that you may reign as kings forever….
A great number of wise men is the safety of the world,
and a prudent king, the stability of his people;
so take instruction from my words, to your profit
.

How are we doing, America? Not so well, if you ask me. Our current leaders (political, judicial, and academic) have diverged severely from the Law and Wisdom of God. Any examination of recent legislation, legal decisions, or academic offerings will reveal this. A tyranny of relativism has been created and leaders lord it over others through law and political correctness. Punitive laws and executive fiats oppress. College campuses are beginning to resemble indoctrination camps rather than places where debate and discussion of ideas can take place.

Even more sadly, our leaders indicate the moral condition of our country. True leaders should lead and answer to God, but our modern leaders often cater to the whims and unseemly demands of their people. Americans are demanding many excessive and immoral things; we get the leaders we deserve because they emerge from who and what we are.

This is tragic on two counts. It is tragic for the leaders, who will answer to God for what they do; it is also tragic for us, who can only be further dragged down by poor and immoral leaders.

Consider, well, this admonition from Sacred Scripture. Consider its message to us, both as individuals and as a country.

Pray and heed!

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Comments (6)

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  1. Robertlifelongcatholic says:

    Improvising to the music of the harp, like David, they devise their own accompaniment.

  2. Nick says:

    We are kings in Christ, so this warning is for us commonfolk too.

    • Douglas Kraeger says:

      Along with that warning is the warning in Ezekiel for shepherds (pastors)
      Ezekiel 34: 1-12, “Thus the word of the LORD came to me: Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel, in these words prophesy to them (to the shepherds): Thus says the Lord GOD: Woe to the shepherds of Israel who have been pasturing themselves! Should not shepherds, rather, pasture sheep? You have fed off their milk, worn their wool, and slaughtered the fatlings, but the sheep you have not pastured. You did not strengthen the weak nor heal the sick nor bind up the injured. You did not bring back the strayed nor seek the lost, but you lorded it over them harshly and brutally. So they were scattered for lack of a shepherd, and became food for all the wild beasts. My sheep were scattered and wandered over all the mountains and high hills; my sheep were scattered over the whole earth, with no one to look after them or to search for them. Therefore, shepherds, hear the word of the LORD: As I live, says the Lord GOD, because my sheep have been given over to pillage, and because my sheep have become food for every wild beast, for lack of a shepherd; because my shepherds did not look after my sheep, but pastured themselves and did not pasture my sheep; because of this, shepherds, hear the word of the LORD: Thus says the Lord GOD: I swear I am coming against these shepherds. I will claim my sheep from them and put a stop to their shepherding my sheep so that they may no longer pasture themselves. I will save my sheep, that they may no longer be food for their mouths. For thus says the Lord GOD: I myself will look after and tend my sheep. As a shepherd tends his flock when he finds himself among his scattered sheep, so will I tend my sheep. I will rescue them from every place where they were scattered when it was cloudy and dark.”
      The danger I see for laity is that we focus on how bad our political or religious leaders are, wag our heads, feel sorry for ourselves, and do not honestly ask what we should do to TRY and fix the problem that is partly of our parents and grandparents and… making and partly the work of the devil in getting unscrupulous people (people who say the ends justify the means) to go into politics and the seminary.
      Back in 1975, I was going to visit for the weekend a college I would attend in the fall. I picked up two hitchhikers about a mile from the school and one left me a piece of advice, a pearl of wisdom: “If you ask the right question, the answer will be intuitively obvious to a casual observer.”
      Just as political and religious leaders have obligations, the laity have similar obligations in trying to help political and religious leaders to be as good as they can be. We have a responsibility to find and publicly ask our leaders the questions that only have one good direct answer that can be publicly given.
      I suggest a “couple” for starts:
      1. Do you believe God is infinitely good and powerful enough to convert the whole world to the one faith He wants all to accept without violating anyone’s free will, by His grace and His peaceful means of verifiable evidence combined with His questions that He wants to give His answers to, and therefore, do you publicly reject terrorism done “in the Name of God”? and
      2. Will you try to do all you can to help all people demonstrate that absolutely essential element of a right faith in God, that of perseveringly seeking to believe all the truths that God wants everyone to know and believe just because God wants everyone to know and believe them, by helping/encouraging all to seek to find all the verifiable evidence, combined with the questions that God wants to give His answer to?
      3. Is it possible that Jury nullification will be a great part in re-establishing the original intent of the Founders in writing the Constitution of the United States, as properly amended, as the supreme law of the land, thereby replacing the defacto “supreme law” of the land in today’s courtrooms, “whatever the Supreme Court rules, even if it is contrary to the original intent of the Founders”?
      4. Will (should?) jury nullification be used to overturn court decisions in abortion, gun control, land use and other cases, once ministers of all faiths encourage laity of their obligation as jurors to uphold the Constitution against illegal legislation by judicial fiat and remind them that the First Supreme Court Chief Justice John Jay wrote in Georgia v. Brailsford, 3 U.S. (Dall) 1 (1794):
      It may not be amiss, here, Gentlemen, to remind you of the good old rule, that on questions of fact, it is the province of the jury, on questions of law, it is the province of the court to decide. But it must be observed that by the same law, which recognizes this reasonable distribution of jurisdiction, you have nevertheless a right to take upon yourselves to judge of both, and to determine the law as well as the fact in controversy. On this, and on every other occasion, however, we have no doubt, you will pay that respect, which is due to the opinion of the court: For, as on the one hand, it is presumed, that juries are the best judges of facts; it is, on the other hand, presumable, that the court are the best judges of law. But still both objects are lawfully, within your power of decision. “?
      I have some more questions on a post at eternalvisionfarmer.blogspot.com

  3. edraCRUZ says:

    If one thinks this election will change the course of this nation towards justice and righteousness, he us wrong for this world is run by worldly principles that has become ingrained in our vary nature unless we choose to return to Our MAKER. Cursed is the man who puts his trust in man and bless is the man who puts his trust in GOD. None of this leading candidates fear GOD. They only fear the consensus of their voters. LORD let these blind leaders regain their sights on the eternal that they may bring others to the narrow road of salvation. YHWH ROPHEH

  4. doc says:

    God please save our country

  5. Tom says:

    We might add, do our leaders lead us to a bleak, scary view of the world? Do they preach to the converted with harsh language and thereby diminish their ability to bring about the change they seek? Do they inspire or scare their followers? Do they find a way to combine the letter of the law with the spirit of love and forgiveness? It would not seem to be enough that this is in their hearts, when we seek to lead it is words and actions that matter. Do our leaders have the wisdom to do both–always?