A Sobering Scriptural Warning to Rulers and Leaders

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, transgenderism). 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!

8 Replies to “A Sobering Scriptural Warning to Rulers and Leaders”

  1. This is a great blog post as usual. Sadly, I think much of this post applies to religious leaders (a few bishops come to mind), in addition to political, judicial, and academic leaders.

  2. Much indeed will be required from leaders and teachers on that day but not only from them but of ourselves for knowing their corruption and yet electing them over and over again. When the bulwark of faith diminishes in a country it is reflected in the quality of the leaders we choose. Yes, we deserve the leaders of today for we chose them or allow them to steal their office.

    1. ‘we chose them’
      Indeed, you did have a choice. It amazes me that men consistently choose men in an attempt to solve man-made problems.

      You were shown a super-human leader, who offered himself at Mt 6:9,10. There he instructed his followers to look to his Father’s kingdom government for solutions to all our problems.

      Corruption? Ps 9:8; Acts 17:31
      Wars? Ps 46:9; Micah 4;3; Dan 2:44
      Disease? Isa 33:24

      Not for nothing did the psalmist counsel us against putting our trust in men, not even in ‘leaders’. Ps 146:3

      As in the cases of Noah’s day, Sodom, Egypt, Jericho and even Jerusalem there was 1) a warning period, 2) an opportunity to escape, and 3) the lowering of the boom.
      The OP implies we’re now in the second period and that applies this time to the entire inhabited earth. I agree.

      A significant question can be asked as you make your choices: How many arks did Noah build?

  3. Beautiful, Msgr. Pope. Thank you for your constant, prudent teaching, and for calling those in authority to task. This applies to all of us, really, in whatever authoritative capacity we have.

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