Now these are the last words of David.
Thus says David the son of Jesse;
Thus says the man raised up on high,
The anointed of the God of Jacob,
And the sweet psalmist of Israel:
“The Spirit of the LORD spoke by me,
And His word was on my tongue.
The God of Israel said,
The Rock of Israel spoke to me:
‘He who rules over men must be just,
Ruling in the fear of God.
2 SAMUEL 23:1-3 NKJV
Let’s continue to look at this amazing passage of scripture.
We looked at the requirement for leaders to be just. Now let us turn our attention to the second part of this – that rulers must rule in the fear of God.
There are two aspects to this. Firstly, leaders will operate in their roles as people who fear the Lord. They will themselves be people who respect, revere and fear their Creator. They will acknowledge Him and honour His people.
Clearly, this can apply to people who are not born-again believers. These leaders would be Cyrus leaders i.e. leaders who will carry out God’s purpose even although they are not counted among His people.
Of course, it would be expected of a Christian leader to be a man or woman who fears the Lord.
The other side of ruling in the fear of the Lord is seeing it as a tool of dominion. Ruling in the fear of the Lord is vital for leadership.
There is a symbiotic relationship between God and kings. We must remember that God raises up kings for a purpose. Leadership is God’s idea. He sits on a Throne and places people on Thrones in the earth.
Ruling and reigning is not just about bossing others or subjugating them. It is about leading them as shepherds and protecting them.
God has this symbiotic relationship with kings because they have responsibility for souls and territory.
We can see this relationship in many places in the Word.
And they made sacrifices to the LORD and offered burnt offerings to the LORD on the next day: a thousand bulls, a thousand rams, a thousand lambs, with their drink offerings, and sacrifices in abundance for all Israel. So they ate and drank before the LORD with great gladness on that day. And they made Solomon the son of David king the second time, and anointed him before the LORD to be the leader, and Zadok to be priest. Then Solomon sat on the throne of the LORD as king instead of David his father, and prospered; and all Israel obeyed him. All the leaders and the mighty men, and also all the sons of King David, submitted themselves to King Solomon. So the LORD exalted Solomon exceedingly in the sight of all Israel, and bestowed on him such royal majesty as had not been on any king before him in Israel.
1 CHRONICLES 29:21-25 NKJV
Solomon was an anointed king. He was God’s anointed and appointed ruler. He sat on the Throne of the Lord. This was the Throne of the House of David. God identified His authority with the Throne of Solomon. All Israel obeyed him and thus obeyed God. YHWH bestowed on Solomon such royal majesty as had not been on any king before him in Israel.
The key thing is that YHWH and the king were joined here. The authority of one was fused with the other.
My son, fear the LORD and the king;
Do not associate with those given to change;
PROVERBS 24:21 NKJV
Here is another verse where the king and YHWH are linked together. To obey a heaven-sent, God-ordained king is to obey God. The king’s authority is wrapped up in his relationship with the Lord.
As a leader, so should yours be.
Honor all people. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the king.
1 PETER 2:17 NKJV
This, of course, is New Testament. Fearing God and honouring the king are not just Old Testament concepts. The requirement for just rulers who fear God and promote the fear of God has not expired with the Old Covenant. We need such leaders more than ever. And we need to be those leaders.
Fear and honour are connected. If you fear God, you will honour those that He commands you to honour.
Leaders who fear God have access to mysteries and secrets in God.
What man is he that feareth the Lord? him shall he teach in the way that he shall choose.
His soul shall dwell at ease; and his seed shall inherit the earth.
The secret of the Lord is with them that fear him; and he will shew them his covenant.
PSALM 25:12-14 KJV
Leaders must operate on a covenantal basis with the Lord.
David had a covenant with God. This was the basis of his authority and the foundation of his kingship. God subdued peoples under David because David was the anointed king of Israel (see Psalm 18).
A wise king will let God put the fear of him upon the people. This will happen as the king promulgates the fear of the Lord to his people.
As a leader, if you teach people to fear God, He will put the fear of YOU upon people.
Surely his salvation is nigh them that fear him; that glory may dwell in our land.
Psalm 85:9 KJV
A king who wants to see the glory of God in his land will teach the people to fear God.
So the heathen shall fear the name of the Lord , and all the kings of the earth thy glory.
Psalm 102:15 KJV
The nations should fear the name of YHWH. Leaders can teach them how to do this. Note that kings lead the way here.
Encouraging and promoting the fear of the Lord is the duty of a godly king.