What Godly Leadership Looks Like

Yael Eckstein  |  August 12, 2021

David anointed King of Israel at Hebron

It is to be with him, and he is to read it all the days of his life so that he may learn to revere the LORD his God and follow carefully all the words of this law and these decrees. — Deuteronomy 17:19

Each week in synagogue, Jews read through the Torah from Genesis to Deuteronomy. The Torah portion for this week is Shoftim, which means “judges,” from Deuteronomy 16:18–21:9.

Have you ever thought about what it must have been like to live under a king? Israel, where I make my home, and the United States, where I was born and raised, are both democracies. I am grateful to be part of a society in which the people choose their own leaders. I have never once thought that I would be better off living in an era when kings and princes ruled.

And yet, as a person of biblical faith, I pray every day for the restoration of the throne of King David. In the Book of First Samuel, God promised David that his children would be the kings of Israel forever. Even as I pray, I wonder to myself, “Do I really want to live under a king?”

When we think about life under a king, we picture all-powerful rulers governing by their own personal whims. But that’s not what the Bible describes. It’s certainly not how King David and King Solomon ruled. What made the kings of Israel different?

What Godly Leadership Looks Like

In Deuteronomy 17: 18-19, we read, “When he [the king] takes the throne of his kingdom, he is to write for himself on a scroll a copy of this law, taken from that of the Levitical priests. It is to be with him, and he is to read it all the days of his life so that he may learn to revere the LORD his God and follow carefully all the words of this law and these decrees.”

This is what godly leadership looks like. The Jewish sages explained that the king of Israel was required to personally write a complete scroll of Torah, the five books of Moses. Furthermore, as the Bible states, the king was obligated to keep this Torah scroll with him and to read from it every day, “so that he may learn to revere the LORD his God,” and be wholly obedient to God’s law.

Now we know the secret of the righteousness of the kings of Israel. Just imagine if this was a requirement of our world leaders today! May God grant us righteous leaders who revere the Lord and are faithful to His will.

Your Turn:

Take a moment to pray for our leaders at the local, state, and national levels, that they would reflect godly leadership.

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