Leaders We Sometimes DeserveJune 13, 2017
A long time ago, in a wilderness far, far away, a bright young man named Joseph ran an errand for his father, who had asked him to see if his brothers were well. Joseph made it as far as the city of Shechem, but his brothers were not there.
“And a man found him wandering in the fields. And the man asked him, “What are you seeking?” “I am seeking my brothers,” he said. “Tell me, please, where they are pasturing the flock.” And the man said, “They have gone away, for I heard them say, ‘Let us go to Dothan.’” So Joseph went after his brothers and found them …” (Genesis 37:15-17).
At the risk of talking about politicians, I notice that the man who found Joseph “wandering in the fields” (so to speak) had very recently overheard his brothers discussing and deciding where they and their sheep would go next. What are the chances of THAT happening? I mention the topic of politicians because at this point in the Genesis account of Joseph, the plot turned on him encountering a man he didn't know who had recently learned where his brothers were. It seems very likely that if Joseph had not chosen that one particular time to wander in those particular fields, he would not have found his brothers, in which case he wouldn’t have been sold by them into Egyptian slavery. At least, not at the particular time from one of those particular fields.
So there it is! Sometimes a very unlikely person, a duly-elected prime minister or premier or president, for example, can effect a very unlikely change to many lives. In the case of changes for the better, many of us voters would be inclined to call the improvements a blessing. “A blessing from God.” "A blessing we deserve?" This raises the question of what to call it when political leaders bring about changes for the worse. Do we call them curses? Curses of God upon the nation? Upon the people? Upon us? Curses we deserve? The Bible does speak of such things.
“Those blessed by the LORD shall inherit the land, but those cursed by him shall be cut off.” (Psalm 37:22)
“The LORD's curse is on the house of the wicked, but he blesses the dwelling of the righteous.” (Proverbs 3:33)
From long years of complaining about leaders who we don’t admire making decisions that we don’t agree with, we are perhaps inclined to forget that the God who once created us, and now sustains us, is in complete control of all lives, and all things, including the desires and decisions of every sort of leader. Kings for example. In "Bible days," the king was the most powerful of all people. But “the king's heart is a stream of water in the hand of the LORD; he turns it wherever he will.” (Proverbs 21:1)
[There's more about the life of Joseph in Chapter 4 of "Glory in the Face"]