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. (II Samuel 23:3, 4)
Ancient Greek warriors prided themselves on being able, “To rule, and to be ruled.” That remains a desirable trait today—especially for a Christian warrior. The words quoted above are some of the last words of Warrior King, David. He is described as “the hero of Israel’s songs.” Indeed, he was a hero. His victories were celebrated. And his last words resonate with us. Kings and presidents are not the only rulers in the world. Generals rule, too. So do sergeants and everyone else in the Armed Forces who has authority over others.
Authority means power. Power brings responsibility. One doesn’t need to wear the uniform for very long before he notes the difference between the good rulers and those who are not. David describes the good ones as “ruling over people in righteousness.” Then he explains what he means by this when he adds the phrase, “when he rules in the fear of God.” The superior officer may command the respect and obedience of many under him. But, there is always someone over him. Go high enough up the chain of command, and it reaches the level of just one. No, not the President. Even the President must answer to One Higher. No matter how many stripes or stars the uniform may bear, it is outranked by the one who placed the stars into the sky and bore the stripes of a whip on a hill far away.
He who places the rules of God before his own eyes, rules correctly—rules righteously. Righteous ruling brings good things to those under him. David describes that type of ruler to be, “like the light of morning at sunrise on a cloudless morning” and, “like the brightness after rain that brings grass from the earth.” If you have had the privilege of serving under such an officer, you know what David is talking about. If you are carrying out your authority in such a manner, David is talking about you.
The 1st Commandment orders us to have no other gods. This means that we are to fear, love, and trust in the Lord God above all things. We know what he expects of us when he places us into a position of authority. We know what he expects of us when we are under authority. We know that no matter what position we hold in life, he is always our top Commander. We know that when he calls us to rule others, he is still calling us to be ruled by him.
“To rule and to be ruled.”
We pray: Lord Jesus, King of kings, and Lord of lords, we acknowledge that you rule over everyone and everything. We are honored to serve under you. We pray that we might serve you faithfully by serving our country. We pray that we might be a blessing to others. Amen.
Written by Pastor Paul Ziemer, WELS National Civilian Chaplain and Liaison to the Military, Cape Coral, Florida. Provided by WELS Ministry to the Military