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Rules In The Fear Of God

by David Johnson

IMG_0666(Transcribed from the Words of Life Radio Program)


It is great to be together again as we look into the Word of God and make personal application and as we share the great news, the great principles, promises and prophecies of God with others. The title for the lesson is, “Rules in the Fear of God,” and the text is found in the Old Testament, 2 Samuel chapter 23 and the first four verses. Listen to the Word of God.

These are the last words of David, the oracle of David, son of Jesse, the oracle of the man exalted by the most high, the man anointed by the God of Jacob, Israel’s singer of Psalms. The Spirit of the Lord spoke through me. His Word was on my tongue. The God of Israel spoke. The rock of Israel said to me: When one rules over men in righteousness, when he rules in the fear of God, he is like the light of morning at sunrise on a cloudless morning, like the brightness after rain that brings the grass from the earth.  This is the Word of God.

We are again in America in the season when many want to be leaders want to rule our nation, to be the next commander in chief, President of these United States of America.  In our history we have actually had already 44 presidents of different parties, different personalities and particulars.  For example, it may surprise you to know that the youngest president who has served our nation was Theodore Roosevelt, who was 42 when sworn in after President McKinley’s assassination.  John F. Kennedy was the youngest president elected into office, however, Theodore Roosevelt was the actual youngest president who served because of the assassination of President McKinley. The oldest president has been Ronal Reagan who was 77 when he left office. Our tallest president, Abraham Lincoln who stood at six foot four inches.  Our shortest president in stature was James Madison who was only five foot four inches. Our heaviest president was William Howard Taft who weighed in at 332 pounds in 1911. The first president born a United States citizen was Martin Van Buren in Kinderhook, New York, born in 1782.  You understand that all of the preceding presidents were born before America was a sovereign nation. The first president born in a hospital was Jimmy Carter in Plains, Georgia in 1924. The first president to appear on television was Franklin Delano Roosevelt at the opening ceremonies for the 1939 World’s Fair.  The first president to hold an internet chat was Bill Clinton in 1999.  The only bachelor president who never married was James Buchanan. The only divorced president was Ronald Reagan. And the most common presidential home state is Virginia that has given us eight presidents.

Most of us probably have a favorite or, at least, respected president. But what kind of leader of the nation was and is genuinely the type of ruler, the type of leader that God desires, the God of the Bible, the one and only living God, that can most bless a nation and its people? The answer is in Scripture, a model, an example for all leaders of any nation and of any people today.  Certainly not perfect, but pursuing the heart and will of the one and only God.

So consider our text in 2 Samuel chapter 23 and verse one. It says, in part: These are the last words of David, the oracle of the man exalted by the most high, Israel’s singer of psalms.  These last words were David’s final literary legacy, that is, written words to his people and nation Israel, not David’s final oral spoken speech.  In the NIV text oracle, which here means a revelation from God, was given to David.  David, therefore, was not only a king, but also a prophet who spoke for God even as God inspired him to write half of the book of Psalms, because David was highly esteemed, exalted of God.
I wonder how many of our presidents, how many world leaders in the past and even in the present were and are esteemed, exalted of the one true God or even future leaders and presidents, prime ministers, kings? Today a lot of leaders want to leave a legacy of their success, but how many want to leave a legacy of godliness, of decency at the very least from a biblical perspective, even to just rule honorably and honestly, even to one day be exalted by the most high, not just exalted by men?  David was especially gifted of God to have been that kind of man that God chose to lead his original chosen covenant people Israel, Israel’s sweet singer of songs to the Lord.

This points to worship.  There are many presidents who have attended worship services, but how many even just leaders on any level even just any man or woman genuinely have worshipped the living God in Spirit and in truth? Certainly a leader who genuinely, consistently worships God privately and publicly will be highly esteemed of God.  And kings and presidents and prime ministers do not usually humble themselves in awe before God. Usually do not bow their knee, their hearts, their minds, their wills before God. But David did regularly in spirit and in truth.

Of course King David was not perfect. But eventually he did confess and repent even in ashes and sackcloth, in fasting, in prayer.  We need more leaders like that.

In 2 Samuel chapter 23 and verse two it says, in part: His Word was on my tongue.  American presidents used to quote Scripture, but this is rare today of any of our national leaders or even leaders on any secular level for the most part. David knew God’s Word. He wrote God’s Word. In the psalms, especially in later life, he lived God’s Word.  That is why he was a man after the Lord’s own heart.    We need more leaders like that.

In 2 Samuel chapter 23 verse three it says, in part: The rock of Israel said to me: When one rules over men in righteousness, when he rules in the fear of God. So here we have revealed to us two basic imperatives from the King of kings regarding godly leadership. Number one, righteous or true justice and, number two, the fear of God or a deep reverential submission, surrender to divine sovereignty and supremacy, even as a king or a president.  David had both in much of his rule and reign under God.  David was a faithful servant ruler, because it takes more than talent and training to be a great leader, especially in the eyes of God.  It takes integrity. It takes humility even as a king or president. God doesn’t look at the outer. God looks at the heart, the inner man, the inner woman.  Righteousness and reverence usually follow true godly humility. Puffed up human pride usually precedes a fall, before God and before man.

Beware of would be rulers who bask only in their own self righteousness, in their own merits, in their own accomplishments and talents.  In 2 Samuel chapter 23 and verse four it says: He is like the light of morning at sunrise on a cloudless morning, like the brightness after rain that brings the grass from the earth.

Here is David’s imagery, even poetic imagery as David was very accomplished to write of leaders who rule in righteousness and fear of God, because light and rain are necessary for life, but not just for life but for abundant life, for greenery, for a harvest of blessing from the Lord as Israel enjoyed under most of David’s leadership, but always under God in righteousness and in the fear of God.  We need more leaders, presidents like that. What a delight for a leader who brings out the best in us as a servant leader of the people and helps us to produce the fruit for the glory of God. We as Christians should yearn for that and that yearning will one day be realized, because that leader is coming in perfect righteousness and in perfect obedience to God the Father, the greatest descendant and Son of David in his humanity.

It says in the book of Jeremiah, the Hebrew prophet Jeremiah chapter 23 and verse five: The days are coming declares the Lord when I will raise up to David a righteous branch, a king who will reign wisely and do what is just and right in the land.  Notice, in the land, not just in heaven. Jesus Christ is reigning now over the hearts and minds of his people from heaven.  But Jesus Christ is also eventually in his second coming to this earth going to reign wisely and do what is just and right in the land. Messiah king is coming again.
Now presidents in America usually rule for four to eight years. King David ruled, according to 1 Chronicles chapter 29 and verse 27 over Israel for 40 years or for an entire generation. However, Jesus Christ, Messiah King, the King of kings, Lord of lords who is coming and according to Isaiah chapter nine and verse seven reveals of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end, no campaigning, no political ads, not speeches, no voting necessary.
Isaiah chapter nine and verse seven also states: The zeal of the Lord almighty will accomplish this.  As Jesus Christ returns to this earth and eventually we go into the eternal state in the new Jerusalem and the new heaven and the new earth, as our God reigns and rules in perfect righteousness as our leader forever and ever over God’s people.  Don’t you want to be part of God’s people? You just receive Jesus as your personal Savior and Lord in obedient faith believing that the is the Christ, the Son of the living God, repenting of your sin, confessing him with your mouth as the Christ, as your Lord being immersed and baptized into Christ Jesus and persevering faithful to Christ Jesus until he calls us home or until he comes and catches us up in the air.


David Johnson is minister of the Sellersburg Church of Christ, Sellersburg, IN

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