Every time I hop onto social media my opinions become more and more confused. I can’t figure out what is right, or wrong, or credible, or just bogus. In this day and age, it is very hard, and very confusing to seek what is real. We have doctors, leaders, people we’re supposed to believe in, spreading so much mistruth. And there is no way to know what is truth, what is lies, and what is the messy in between. There is no way to know if my close friend from church is sharing something legitimate or just something he/she saw on someone else’s wall. And there is no way to know where someone I knew in high school is coming from now.
Obviously we can hop off Facebook, and watch the news, but the truth is hard there, too. And we see people telling us that the media is feeding us lies: and so is the president and so are various health officials. So where is the truth? Who is the truth? Why can’t everyone just be honorable, and just, and kind?
How do we see beyond all the lies, all the words, all the experts, and see the truth? And what is the truth? Who can we trust? I don’t want to be just another Christian who says “we find the truth in God!” It’s true, the truth is in God, but how can we make decisions about sending our kids to school? The bible doesn’t say “In the midst of a pandemic, you should send your kids to school.” How can we make decisions about whether or not we should wear a mask? The bible doesn’t say “Not wearing a mask during a pandemic is a sin.” None of this is as simple as that.
There are no pre-set rules for times like this. There is love God, and love your neighbor. That’s all we’ve got right now. That’s something we can trust in, we can hold onto, we can lean on. Am I loving God? Am I loving my neighbor? And we can look at biblical leaders, like David, and say how can I be like David? How can I be a man after God’s own heart? How can I love my people, the people in my circle, like David loved his?
“When one rules over people in righteousness, when he rules in the fear of God, he is like the light of morning at sunrise on a cloudless morning, like the brightness after rain that brings grass from the earth.” 2 Samuel 23:3-4
At the end of David’s life, this is what he had to say. He had lead in righteousness, and in the fear of God. He had done well for his people, and he wanted to share this with others. He wanted future rulers, leaders, people to know that we can be a breath of fresh air for those around us. We can be that brightness after the rain that enables growth. In the midst of all of this craziness, we can lead others to God, and to growth. We can make decisions based on a faith that says “I trust God, I trust that he’s leading me.” We can follow various leaders and make earthly decisions, but we can live knowing that our eternal life rests in God: that the truth that we know brings light to darkness. We can live in the tension of not knowing what is true on earth, but knowing the truth that God loves us and is looking out for us. And we can bring this light, this brightness, this new growth into others lives by loving our neighbors well.
We aren’t ruling over our communities, but we are providing leadership to those who may not know the Lord. We are walking, talking, living examples of Jesus to all the people around us. When I am walking through something hard, my friends are my leaders. I am looking to them for what’s next. I am looking to them for support, and love, and guidance. Right now our friends, our colleagues, our neighbors are looking to us for leadership from God. They are watching us to see if we can rule our worlds in righteousness.
The definition of righteousness has two sides to it: being in accordance with God’s law, and also being free from guilt or sin. We cannot ever be fully righteous because we are not God. We can, however, spend our whole life living, and seeking righteousness. We can walk in righteousness because of Jesus, and we can walk in righteousness when we know what God wants of us. To rule in righteousness simply means to rule in accordance to how God would rule, to rule because of his grace. And we can only rule in righteousness by accepting we are full of sin, and thus forgiven, and therefore gracious to others. And we can only rule in righteousness if we are walking closely with the Lord, and hearing his voice.
David had made mistakes. He had not always been righteous, but he desired to rule in righteousness. He desired to walk closely with the Lord, asking him every step of the way, how do I do this? How do I fight these people? How do I respond to Saul? How do I reap what I sowed after my sin with Bathsheba? How do I rule in righteousness when all around me are betraying me? He wasn’t without sin but he was constantly, always going back to God and asking, what do I do now? And that is how we rule our worlds in righteousness. We go through our days acknowledging God, asking him what’s next, and listening for his guidance.
So can we be the light of sunrise on a cloudless morning to our friends? Can we be the brightness after the rain that causes growth in those around us? Can we love God and our neighbors with our actions, our words, our very presence? And can we do this without having to be right, having to be on top, having to be better than anyone else? Especially now, especially when our leadership is confusing, at best. The world needs righteous leaders, and we are that first line of leadership. We don’t know all the answers, but we do know the Lord, and he is the truth, even now. We are the righteous leaders of our little worlds, so we need to dig in, love our neighbors, listen to God, and obey.