God’s Recipe for Choosing Leaders

General Election is around the corner! Soon every Singaporean 21 years and above will be casting their vote to elect members of parliament for the next five years. As such, it is very important that we exercise our rights with care. Once we cast our votes, there is no turning back. We will have to live with our decision for the next five years. All the more, as Christians we should choose the right people to govern our nation. What kind of qualities should we look for in our leaders? Does the Bible give us any guidelines? In Deuteronomy 17:14-20, God gave His people specific instructions on how to choose the right man for the throne.

First, they must choose a king who puts the interests of the people above self (Deut. 17:16, 17):

“a. He shall not amass horses for himself; b. He shall not acquire many wives for himself; c. He shall not multiply silver and gold for himself”

Note that the phrase “for himself” is repeated 3 times. Thus the king of Israel is to serve his people and their interest above his own (Deut.17:15, 20). This principle is echoed by our Lord Jesus Christ when He taught His disciples about servant-leadership in His kingdom (Matt. 20:20-28; Luke 22:24-27).

Second, they must choose a king who fears God. Instead of relying on his own ability and wisdom, Israel’s king should trust and obey God (Deut. 17:18-19). He should also diligently seek to know God and His law.

Finally, they must choose a king who is humble and down-to-earth. This person should know how to relate to the people as his brothers and sisters. He must not lord it over them.

We could see all the above characteristics reflected in our Lord Jesus Christ – Israel’s Messianic King. Jesus was selfless. He came to serve rather than be served (Mk. 10:45). He was meek and lowly (Matt. 11:28-30). He was faithful to His Father (Heb. 3:1-2).

In summary, this passage teaches us that we should choose leaders who are God-fearing, and who serve others with humility. May God help us to be wise and prayerful when we cast our votes in the coming election.

Rev. Mark Tay