A leadership crisis will destroy a nation, business, church, and family. Leaders who do not respect, obey, implement laws, and govern according to God’s Word cannot help but act in selfishness, lawlessness, and sinfulness. Proverbs 29:2 says, “When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice: but when the wicked rule, the people mourn.” In Psalm 58, David addressed the wicked leadership crisis under King Saul. First, Samuel shows us how Saul slipped more and more into spiritual and moral decay and ruin and led a nation in that direction. Saul disobeyed God’s Word, rejected God’s choice of David as King, and appointed wicked people in authority who led out of selfish gain instead of the public’s good. When the ruler of a nation rejects God’s Word, creates evil laws, celebrates evil, and appoints corrupt officials who do the same, it is time for the men and women of God to stand up, call them out, and ask God to take away their power.
David started Psalm 58 by saying the rulers and judges, including King Saul, were people who did not act with equity or justice (v. 1). He said they had wicked hearts that schemed injustice and violence (v. 2). David pointed out the problem of all men: we are evil and sinful from birth (v. 3). Everyone desperately needs Jesus to save them, change their heart, mind, and actions, and make them holy as He is holy. In essence, David says those who do not act, think, and rule according to and in direct opposition to God’s Word are not followers of the Lord. When evil rulers promote atrocities in blatant opposition to God’s Word, they are not on God’s side and are operating from a platform of lawlessness, immorality, and sin and should be removed from power. Examples of these sins are racism, abortion, redefining marriage, celebrating sexual sin, and failure to protect God’s people.
David asked the Lord, the All-Powerful One, to remove their power, and so should we. He was so serious about this that we must remember Psalm 58 was set to music and sung among God’s people when they gathered for worship! This Scripture was not a private opinion of David’s to be kept from discussion among God’s people. The church should speak openly, unashamedly, and unapologetically concerning the promotion of evil and sin by a nation’s leaders. David said these leaders spewed venom and refused to be tamed (vv. 4-5). These wicked leaders had a plan they would not even let God amend. “It is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the living God (Hebrews 10:31). David asked the Lord to take away the unrighteous leaders’ power in several ways. He asked that they become lions without teeth, waters without rapids, and bows without arrows (vv. 6-7). The wicked rulers must be brought down quickly (vv. 8-9) and replaced with righteous rulers who fear the Lord and His Word. As king, David would soon “shepherd them with the integrity of heart” (Psalm 78:72). The removal of wicked rulers and installation of righteous ones will make the righteous glad (v. 10) and uplift and reflect the true “God who judges the earth” (v. 11).
- What is your response when unrighteous rulers promote wickedness?
- Are you praying for your leaders to be saved and govern righteously?
- Are you promoting righteous rulers, even stepping up to lead yourself in local government, school board, and church leadership?
Lord, help me not sit idly by when injustice and wickedness are imposed upon the godly. Help me counter it with prayer, trust in You, a holy lifestyle, and desire to exalt You. Help my agenda match Yours. Help me lead with the gospel message that Jesus saves and changes the hearts and minds of all men. Help me remember that if not for Your salvation in my own life, the voice of Your Spirit, and the truth of Your Holy Word, I would also promote wickedness, lawlessness, and sinfulness. May we be holy as You are holy. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.
Stephen and his wife Haley have called Arkansas home all of their lives. Stephen has served in several ministry roles over the last 25 years and as a lead pastor for the last 8 years. Stephen attended Williams Baptist College and earned a BA in Biblical Studies from Ouachita Baptist University, an MA, MDiv, and DMin in Christian Leadership and Pastoral Ministries from Liberty University. When not pastoring, Stephen enjoys running, cycling, reading, writing, camping, fishing, and spending time with his family.