Some in political circles have been claiming to all and sundry that they are in leadership positions because they have been “divinely” appointed and therefore, no mortal being can question their leadership style .This claim of “divine” appointment, we are made to believe, gives the incumbent leader the sole and exclusive right to rule as long as they want, thus making them appear indispensable,irreplaceable and irremovable by any means enshrined in the constitution of the land. The one who claims this “divine” appointment must understand that they cannot escape the fact that they are professing to be a follower of Jehovah and therefore, their leadership approach must be subjected to a thorough Bible scrutiny as it is obvious that it is the only benchmark against which Jehovah has given those who profess to be Christians to test their characters.
BY AMEN MPOFU
Now, let’s address the claim of divine appointment from a biblical perspective. The idea of having kings over ancient Israel was not Jehovah’s plan as the nation was a theocracy ( directly led by Jehovah). The ancient Israelites envied the way the surrounding heathen nations (worshippers of idols) ruled themselves through kings and consequently, through the prophet Samuel they requested Jehovah to permit them to have kings over them. Jehovah was displeased with this request since it meant that they were rejecting his direct leadership and desiring independence. Because Jehovah doesn’t use force, he allowed them with terms and conditions to show them that they had made a grave mistake by seeking to be like other nations. And the history of ancient Israelites led by rebellious and disobedient kings is tragic as king after king led the whole nation into idolatry and spiritualism and captivity by foreign nations as a result.
With this in mind, it’s important to understand that Jehovah permitted them to do what they wanted as he gives each of us freedom to choose and also for humanity to understand that any deviation from biblical principles leads to grave consequences.
Were the ancient kings of Israel divinely appointed by God? To answer this question, remember that it was not his plan to have kings like other nations, so he allowed them to have kings and in some instances he directly chose certain men to be kings as in the case of David so that he could fulfil his whole purpose of redeeming Israel and the whole world.
What about today’s world leaders? The same principle of allowing humanity to do what it wants still applies because Jehovah, has given each person the power to choose how they want to live. We choose our own leaders, good or bad, through what is called a democratic process and this term doesn’t exist in the Bible. When one says that they have been divinely appointed, they are saying that Jehovah directly hand- picked them like David and then put them into office without anyone campaigning for them or asking them to belong to a political party. In today’s world of politics, this is a rare phenomenon. The existence of a political party implies that there are other parties as well with very divergent views and interests which lead to competing opinions and sometimes antagonism.
So does Jehovah “ordain” political leaders through the democratic processes? It’s not his plan that people use these systems because they are fraught with grave errors, for example, think of character-assassination, mud-slinging and all forms of corruption employed by those vying for political office. He does not partner with evil to fulfil his plan but he overrules events and situations for humanity’s sake. Therefore, the answer is that Jehovah allows certain people (whether good or bad- which are individual choices) through these defective human-made systems to rule in order that he can achieve his grand purpose — saving humanity from sin and eternal death.
Allowing certain people to rule does not imply that Jehovah approves or disapproves their leadership, it simply means that as the Creator of the universe who knows what is best for humanity he permits certain conditions to prevail so that fallen humanity can find him and therefore, be saved from the clutches of sin and the prison of death.
In addition, it does not mean that the one who is ruling is infallible, indispensable, irreplaceable and irremovable. On the contrary, through the same defective systems through which they came into power they can be removed. No one, therefore, can speak for Jehovah and claim that they have been made to rule forever or until they become incapacitated. This will be in fact a sign of too much power clothed in arrogance. The last thing that any leader who professes to be a Christian needs to avoid is an attitude of “I’m better than any one else”. Humility is the hallmark of leadership.
Furthermore, as political leaders are prone to make mistakes, their leadership approach can be subjected to criticism with a view of correcting it before it can become cancerous to them and to the whole nation. The fact that a leader has two eyes like other beings, means that they cannot see other things and everything and therefore, they need extra eyes in the form of constructive criticism from others. This becomes principally important if the leader claims divine appointment since their lives and leadership should be beyond reproach otherwise they may misrepresent and dishonour Jehovah if they live a life that is totally contrary to biblical values they claim to espouse. They are judged by what they say and do as they exert a huge influence, good or bad, on those whom they lead.
Any leader who wants everyone to believe that they lead because of Jehovah must understand that they are putting themselves under a very strict surveillance from God for he expects those who use his holy name to live by the high standards of purity enjoined by the Bible. To use crooked, corrupt and wicked ways to get into power and then claim to be a vessel of Jehovah is nothing but blasphemy and irreverence towards God’s holy name. To use and take advantage of hungry and poverty-stricken masses so as to catapult oneself into political office and then preach about Christian values, is the highest form of hypocrisy and exploitation that is punishable by death at the second coming of Christ. To sow divisions, be they tribal or racial, promote violence directly or indirectly, peddle lies about other people and as a result tarnish their reputation is uncharacteristic of a Christian.
In conclusion, to say that leaders, good or bad, are “appointed” by Jehovah simply means that he has allowed them through the error-riddled democratic systems to rule for a certain time until his all-encompassing purpose of salvation is accomplished. He sometimes overrules certain human actions or events for the sake of humanity as he is in the primary business of saving men and women from sin and eternal death. However, Jehovah is not the source of evil. Evil is self-generated and therefore, Jehovah is not an accomplice to wicked ways used by political leaders. Being allowed to rule does not make one indispensable or infallible. One who claims to be a Christian leader is expected to live according to the biblical principles, to hear and do is the language of Jehovah.
Amen Mpofu is an Evangelist — firstname.lastname@example.org