Introduction: How much influence can one leader can have on a
country, the church or the family? I was a teen in the 1960’s and a
young adult in the 70’s. I remember, as a young adult, wishing I had
been born earlier because I believed the United States had passed its
prime. Instead of big, fast, flashy cars, we had little, slow,
rough-riding economy cars. We had to wait in line to buy expensive
gas. New homes were smaller and had lower ceilings. Just when
“central heat” was almost universal, people were reverting to the
“old days” and buying wood stove inserts for their fire-places! Some
people acted like it was great to chop wood and get up in the middle
of the night to add wood to the stove! The United States was
embarrassed in Asia and Iran. The economy seemed out of control. I
figured it was the end of an age. The future would be limited.
Then we had one leader, a U.S. President, who made the country
believe, through his optimism, that we had a bright future. In eight
years the mood of the country completely changed. I know my view of
the future sure changed.
What does the Bible say about the influence of a leader? What does it
say about the obligations of a leader? Let’s jump into our lesson and
- The “King.”
- Read Proverbs 29:4. What is meant by the word “justice” in
this text? (The rule of law. People are judged based on
fair laws, not based on who they are or how much money
- Why would greed for bribes tear down a country? (The
king is making decisions based on his personal self-interest, rather than what is right and fair.)
- Does this advice apply to a company? To your church?
(This is a strong argument for having all of the
pastors on a set salary scale within a denomination.
When an individual church member is in the position
to affect a pastor’s salary, it is harder for the
pastor to make decisions based on justice rather than
- Read Proverbs 29:14. Why does a King’s future depend upon
the way he judges the poor? Wouldn’t it be more logical
to say his future depends on the way he judges the rich
and powerful? (Solomon’s point is that the poor have
nothing to give the king. If he judges the poor fairly,
then he is a fair man.)
- Read Proverbs 20:8. What does “winnows” mean? (No, it
does not mean those who drink too much wine. This is the
first time I recall the NIV using a more difficult word to
understand than the KJV. Winnow means to separate out.)
- How can a king separate out evil with his eyes? (This
is commonly understood in law. A judge decides the
credibility of a witness in part based on demeanor –
how they look, how they act when they testify.)
- Read Proverbs 20:28. Is this true for Presidents? Do you
have more confidence in a President who has a consistent,
faithful, philosophy, rather than one who makes decisions
based on the most current polls?
- Does this advice apply to managers and pastors?
- Why does leading through love and faithfulness,
rather than fear and dread, work better?
- The NAU translates “love and faithfulness” as
“loyalty and truth.” How important is truthfulness to
- How important is it to followers? (Read Proverbs
22:11. Leaders look for those with a pure heart
and kind speech.)
- Will a leader set an example for honesty or
dishonesty in those he leads? (Read Proverbs
29:2. The honesty and fairness of our rulers
impacts upon the people. Proverbs 24:26 tells us
“an honest answer is like a kiss on the lips!”)
- Personal Leadership
- Read Proverbs 21:21. Are both righteousness and love
necessary? If yes, why? (So many people pursue one, but
not both, of these traits. Some insist upon the “righteous
standard” and forget about the love aspect. Others are so
full of “love” that they ignore the righteous standard. We
need both mercy and justice working in our lives.)
- What is the connection between righteousness and love
on one hand and life, prosperity and honor on the
- There is an interesting little word in this text,
“pursue.” What does it add to this verse? Does it
mean that we must be righteous and loving to have a
good life? (It does not require perfection, it
requires us to work at it. If we do, we will,
according to this text, “find” this good life.)
- Read Proverbs 24:16-18. What is the opposite of
righteousness and love in our life? (Evil-doing and
revenge. Gloating over the misfortune of our enemies.)
- What is wrong with being happy to see the wicked
- Have you been guilty of that?
- Why does this text talk about a righteous man
falling? Why is this relevant to gloating?(First, it
lets us know that even the righteous face problems.
This is a reason why we should not rejoice in the
problems of the wicked. On the other hand, God
promises that the difference between the problems of
the wicked and those of the righteous is that the
righteous will eventually overcome.)
- Why do you think the wicked are ultimately
brought down? Is it because the Lord punishes
them? (Read Proverbs 11:5. God will punish the
wicked eventually. However, the wicked fail now
because of the way they live.)
- Read Proverbs 10:12. Here is a good comparison between
love and hatred. Why is love better?
- Have you seen the principles of this text proven in
your marriage? In dealing with your children?
- How can love “cover up” wrongs? Do we want a “cover
- Some may say, “I’ll wait until [they, he, she]
show love and then I will.” Does the principle
of leadership require that we show love first?
- Read Proverbs 10:18. Here is a “cover up.” Why
doesn’t this one work?
- What is the only answer to disliking another
person? (You cannot successfully conceal your
hate. If you slander someone, you get hurt.
Therefore, the only safe course is to practice
love towards them.)
- Read Proverbs 10:21. How can your lips nourish someone
other than you? (This is such an important idea for
personal leadership. What you say is so important for
encouraging and guiding others.)
- Read Proverbs 10:27-30. How is God’s way (v.29) a
“refuge” for the righteous? (These verses make this
concept very clear. Obeying God not only brings longer
life (v.27), but it brings a better quality of life (v.28-joy), thus creating a safe harbor for the faithful.)
- Friend, will you, as a leader, be faithful to God’s
requirements? Doing God’s will is not just a matter of
pleasing Him, it is critical to the quality of your life
and to your influence on those around you.
- Next Week: Apples of Gold.