May he endure as long as the sun...
May he rule to the ends of the earth...
May all kings bow down to him and all nations serve him.
- Psalm 72, excerpts (NIV)
The founding fathers of our nation were quite clear that the U.S. would not be a monarchy. Their intent was manifested in the establishment of three co-equal branches of government and by the incorporation of the impeachment process.
In comparison to the intent of America’s founding fathers, Psalm 72 appears to be an unrestrained endorsement of a leader’s power and authority, not just in the leader’s own nation, but in all nations.
But a complete reading of Psalm 72 reveals that the writer is far from speaking in support of monarchical despotism. The psalmist enumerates the criteria that qualify anyone deemed worthy of wearing the crown of leadership.
The leader must be an advocate for the poor and the leader must rescue the children who are in need. The leader must wage war against all who oppress others. The leader must rescue the poor who cry out and be a defender of all who are defenseless. The leader must be a strong supporter of the weak and the leader must take a stand against any brand of destructive violence.
I would have no problem giving my full endorsement to any leader who met such qualifications. I wouldn’t mind if that leader remained in leadership without any term limits. It wouldn’t bother me if that leader had the allegiance of every political party and affiliation in America. And I would be quite pleased if that leader had power and authority in every other nation on the planet.
The rule of law is not oppressive if that rule is grounded in God’s love for all.
God, help us to choose leaders who are worthy of being entrusted with power and authority. Amen.
Kenneth L. Samuel is Pastor of Victory for the World Church, Stone Mountain, Georgia.