15–21 April 2018.
Every day when we read the news we are confronted with a world full of problems. No matter where we look we see injustices and suffering, evil, hatred and violence. We know that this world isn’t perfect. But is there any hope? Of course there is. As Christians we know that God doesn’t command us to reject this world or give up on it. Instead God commands us to co-operate with him in changing this world, making things better, and helping God’s kingdom on earth to grow.
For this to happen it’s important to have good leaders. The writer of Psalm 72 understood this well. Psalm 72 offers up a long prayer asking God to bless Israel with a good leader. It’s a prayer that asks God to guide and support Israel’s king, and it pleads for God’s blessings on the king to allow him to change society into a place of goodness, justice, and peace.
When we look closely, we see that this psalm describes the characteristics that make a great leader. In v. 2, the writer prays for a leader who has the wisdom to judge people in the right way and to treat the poor fairly. Today we too often see leaders using their position for their own gain, but in v. 4 we hear that a good leader will defend the poor and lowly rather than abusing them or taking advantage of them. A great leader will help those who are in need, and protect others from being hurt. In v. 7 we learn that a great leader is like a gardener who plants righteousness and peace all throughout our world and who helps goodness to flourish and grow. And in vv. 12–13 the psalm’s writer prays for a leader who will listen to people in need, someone willing to help rescue people in trouble – someone full of empathy, compassion, and mercy.
Sadly, we don’t always have leaders like this. That’s one reason why it’s important for us to pray for our leaders and encourage them to do what’s right. But even if our leaders aren’t good, that should never be an obstacle for us. After all, as Christ’s disciples we always have the opportunity to do these things ourselves – to love others, to care for and support those in need, and promote goodness – even if our leaders don’t want to. It’s great to have leaders who are on God’s side; but even when we don’t have that, we still have the power and responsibility in our hands to go into this world with love, and make this world a better place.
Pastor Stephen Lakkis