Psalm 101: 6 Characteristics of Moral Leaders

2016 Clown Car Parade by DonkeyHotey, Flickr

2016 Clown Car Parade by DonkeyHotey, Flickr

Even though we are more than a year away from the next presidential election, we are already being inundated with political posturing and debates, especially in the Republican Party as candidates vie to be their parties chosen one. These candidates might well take note of the tips for leadership found in Psalm 101.

King David successfully led his army in battle and united the tribes of Israel under his rule. His human frailties are well known, yet he was able to lead with integrity despite his weaknesses, humbly acknowledging his sins and seeking God’s forgiveness, another example of leadership.

Psalm 101 is attributed to David but it is generally believed to have been authored by someone else. Still the words ring true and could easily have come from David. They are words of humility, words that come from a man aware of his need for God. Words that are simple yet remain true thousands of years later.

The psalmist begins by singing God’s praises, “I will sing of loyalty and of justice; to you, O lord, I will sing.” (1) He goes on to state how he walks with integrity and avoids anything that is base and may draw him away from God. “I will walk with integrity of heart within my house; I will not set before my eyes anything that is base . . . Perverseness of heart shall be far from me; I will know nothing of evil.” (2b-3a, 4)

He continues to list what he will do as a leader, “Him who slanders his neighbor secretly I will destroy. The man of haughty looks and arrogant heart I will not endure. I will look with favor on the faithful in the land, that they may dwell with me; he who walks in the way that is blameless shall minister to me. No man who practices deceit shall dwell in my house; no man who utters lies shall continue in my presence.” (5-7)

He ends by saying how he will seek out and destroy that which is wicked, “Morning by morning I will destroy all the wicked in the land, cutting off all the evildoers from the city of the Lord.” (8)

What, then, are the characteristics of moral leaders according to this psalm?

  1. Moral leaders acknowledge their need for God and strive to walk with integrity, following God’s ways.
  2. They avoid that which is base, not fixing their gaze on things that will lead them away from God. This could include avoiding pornography or anything that degrades humans, as well as not fixating on the things of this world, such as gaining material wealth and/or fame.
  3. They avoid evil.
  4. They have no tolerance for slander, lies or the arrogant.
  5. They surround themselves with people of faith who are also intent on walking with God.
  6. They seek to rid the world of wickedness and evil. Notice the psalmist starts by seeking to rid himself of wickedness through walking with the Lord and avoiding evil, then seeks out evil in the world.

So, how do our political candidates stack up? Do they have these 6 characteristics? I leave you to draw your own conclusions. 🙂

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