July 4, 2021
This article is based on Pastor Adrian Rogers' message, The Leadership Crisis in America.
America faces a critical moral leadership crisis today. Leadership is crucial. There’s a saying that asks: “If the gold rusts, what shall the iron do?” That is, if our leadership is poor and opposes God’s truths, what will the people be like? God is greatly interested in a nation’s political life. Some say He ought to stay out of government, but the truth is, to succeed, a government must always look to Almighty God.
Every two years in November, American citizens vote. Voting is a privilege, and it is reserved only for citizens, but for the Christian, it’s more—it’s a duty. A nation gets the sort of leadership it deserves. Do you realize that if, as a Christian, you willingly do not vote, you disobey God? You do, for Jesus said,
In America, “Caesar” is a government “of, by, and for the people.” “We the people” are the government. To fail to participate is to sin against Almighty God.
It’s unthinkable that God would ordain human government and then tell His people to stay out of it. Who then would that leave to lead? I’m not naming any names nor mentioning any political party. When I finish, some will accuse me of being partisan, that I’ve talked about parties, but I’m not. I’m giving you principles straight out of the Word of God. Apply them as you wish. And if anything is partisan, the Bible will be partisan.
Watch carefully. I want to lay four important truths on your heart:
I’ve heard people say, “What difference does character make?”
Character is rooted in God’s principles. A leader without character will contaminate everything he or she touches. If you say “character doesn’t count,” you’re really saying God doesn’t count: “God, we can get along quite well without Your blessing. We’re going to do it ourselves.”
Straight from God’s Word, here are the principles He says a leader should have. Get these fixed in your heart and mind.
An ungodly man or woman is unfit for leadership because the leader acts for God. Romans 13:4 calls a leader “a minister of God.” Psalm 148:11-12 and Proverbs 16:12 emphasize that a ruler’s “throne” is “established in righteousness” It’s vital for a ruler to follow God.
Proverbs 8:12-16 lists the character traits God wants in a leader and plainly states that true wisdom comes from godliness and righteousness.
What’s more important: for a leader to be smart or to be wise? How much better one who is wise! Wisdom is the gift of God. I pray God will give America wise leaders. But a leader cannot have wisdom from God unless that leader is under God in service and worship.
When I vote, I’m looking for a man or woman who is godly, who has real wisdom, not a politician who watches which way the wind is blowing or goes by the polls. President Harry Truman, talking about polls, asked, “I wonder how far Moses would’ve gone if he had taken a poll in Egypt?”
What would Jesus Christ have preached if He had taken a poll in Israel? Would the Reformation have happened if Martin Luther had taken a poll?
Liars and leaders are not the same. Liars shouldn’t be elected. Leaders can’t be people who listen to lies, either, for Proverbs 29:12 says, “If a ruler pays attention to lies, all his servants become wicked.” Men and women with fortitude and honesty, guided by what’s right, make history.
A leader is known by his inner circle. Who does he listen to for wisdom? A leader who isn’t discriminating enough to choose the right people—godly people—to lead alongside him, is unfit to lead. If he surrounds himself with wicked people, his throne will not be established in righteousness.
A leader must stand up for the innocent and defenseless. (See also Psalm 94:20-21 and Habakkuk 2:12.) When people are in peril and can’t speak for themselves, the king should speak for them. If a leader does not have a protective spirit, he’s missed the reason for being a leader.
God gives us leaders to protect us from evil people. Leaders should be defenders of those who cannot defend themselves. That’s particularly true of innocent unborn babies. Some laws are evil in the sight of God. In Jeremiah 22:3-5, God says to the king, “If you shed innocent blood, God swears by Himself that He will destroy your nation.”
Some things may be legal but not right before Almighty God. Wicked people may make wicked laws, but that doesn’t make those laws right. And there’s nothing politically right that’s morally wrong.
Never say character doesn’t matter. You cannot expect God to bless iniquity. He cannot and will not.
God allows you to choose against His will, as He did the people of Hosea’s time:
“They have set up kings, but not by Me. They have made princes and I knew it not” (Hosea 8:4).
When voters choose evil, self-serving, power-mad leaders, and when the level of wickedness within a nation becomes great, God will turn that nation over to unrighteous leaders who bring hardship and calamity.
America will get the kind of leadership it deserves. Remember when the people of Israel wanted a king? Samuel the prophet said, “You don’t need a king right now.” They insisted, “Oh, we want a king.”
Samuel answered, “And you will cry out in that day because of your king whom you have chosen for yourselves, and the Lord will not hear you in that day” (1 Samuel 8:18). Nevertheless, the people refused to obey the voice of Samuel. They wanted globalism, to “be like all the nations.” They said, “We don’t want God’s will. We’re going to choose,” and God allowed them to choose.
Wicked rulers are God’s reward for wicked people.
Does America realize what desperate trouble we’re in? What happens when wicked people choose wicked leaders?
“When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice; but when a wicked man rules, the people groan” (Proverbs 29:2).
The choice is ours: rejoicing or groaning. Can we not understand that God has taken down the hedge, and He’s no longer protecting America? Will rivers of tears and buckets of blood be the price America pays for some of the wicked men and women we elect?
Just because wicked people make wicked choices, and wicked rulers lead, God hasn’t lost control. Isaiah 40:24b declares, “When He will also blow on them, and they will wither, and the whirlwind will take them away like stubble,” God is still the King of kings. “For God is the King of all the earth; Sing praises with understanding. God reigns over the nations; God sits on His holy throne” (Psalm 47:7-8).
Not only is He King of all the Earth, but “The Lord sits as King forever” (Psalm 29:10). Be sure of this about Almighty God: you didn’t vote Him in and you won’t vote Him out. You’ll never impeach Him. Where God does not rule (if we do not allow God to rule in our land), Psalm 33:10-12 says, God will still overrule if He chooses.
I once had the privilege of having lunch with the late Corrie Ten Boom, that saint who suffered such persecution under the Nazis. I decided I’d talk very little and listen a lot. She said, and I’ve never forgotten it, “There is no panic in Heaven, only plans.” I hope that truth sinks into your heart. Isaiah 14:26-27 says there is control that God reserves for Himself:
This is the purpose that is purposed against the whole earth,
And this is the hand that is stretched out over all the nations.
For the Lord of hosts has purposed,
And who will annul it?
His hand is stretched out,
And who will turn it back?
Jesus is King over all the Earth, King forever. Soon, when He comes to Earth again, He will be sitting on David’s throne. Neither presidents, kings, prime ministers, dictators, legislators, House and Senate leaders, nor Supreme Court justices, can stop His hand—not any more than Pharaoh could stop Moses in the Exodus, as wicked as Pharaoh was. The Bible clearly teaches God is over even those who don’t know Him. God has used even ungodly kings. “The king’s heart is in the hand of the Lord like the rivers of water. He turns it wherever He wishes” (Proverbs 21:1).
We are in desperate trouble. I’m neither an optimist nor a pessimist—I’m a Bible believer. Oh, that there might be a mighty spiritual awakening in America! That we might repent! That we might choose righteously and pay attention to what God’s Word says is the standard for leadership!
No matter who gets elected when, the Holy Trinity never meets in emergency sessions. God is still in control. With Jesus Christ as my King, I have hope and a future that’s steadfast and sure in Him.