Just and Unjust Rulers
Today’s reading: II Samuel 23-24; Luke 22:31-53
3 The God of Israel has spoken; the Rock of Israel has said to me: When one rules justly over men, ruling in the fear of God, 4 he dawns on them like the morning light, like the sun shining forth on a cloudless morning, like rain that makes grass to sprout from the earth. II Samuel 23:3-4
But this is your hour, and the power of darkness.” Luke 22:53b
Unjust rulers have their day, but ultimately God will bring justice on them and blessing on those who have ruled justly. Woe to the ruler who ignores his date with the Judge of the whole earth.
David, at the end of his life, had reassurance from God that just governance would not be overlooked. The Lord blesses the king who rules justly, that is, in the fear of God. The despot is a law to himself. The tyrant recognizes no higher authority than himself. He rules without fear of a final judgment day before a completely informed eternal deity.
The blessing of God on the god-fearing leader is described in terms of beautiful weather and a lush harvest. There is sun and rain in just the right amount. The human heart fills with energy and joy in the anticipation of a good day and a good future.
By contrast, in the darkest moment of human history, the Son of God was surrounded in the Garden of Gethsemane with hard-hearted, treacherous rulers who had come to escort Him to His death. They epitomized unjust rulers, lacking in any fear of God.
Jesus was not surprised. He was not fearful. He spoke directly to them showing that their actions were cowardly, done under cloak of night, away from the crowds of attentive listeners who sought His teaching. He made it clear that they operated only by permission of God the Father, Who allowed them their hour to act and freedom to carry out the dark deeds they had contrived.
Give thanks that just rulers will not be forgotten and unjust ones will not escape unpunished. Their hour and power will end. Live and exercise your authority in the fear of God.