Qualities of a Good Leader from Proverbs: Part 1
Most of us have had “leaders.” They come in the form of parents, employers, church leaders, principals, mayors, and presidential leaders. The Book of Proverbs delves into the qualities of good leaders and bad leaders. The Bible mentions good (wise) leaders and bad (evil) leaders all throughout the Old and New Testament.
Today, in all occupations we find leaders from both extremes and some in-between. Just as in the Bible, there are leaders today who are:
- Good leaders who remain good all their lives;
- Bad leaders who remain bad all their lives;
- Bad leaders who turn into good leaders; and
- Good leaders who turn into bad leaders.
As a point of trivia, it is interesting the House of Israel had more bad kings than the House of Judah. Today, let us look only at the Southern Kingdom of Judah.
The Southern Kingdom consisted of two tribes (Judah and Benjamin). The Kingdom extended in the north as far as Bethel, while in the south it ended in the dry area known as the Negev. Its eastern and western boundaries were the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea. Jerusalem was its capital and it lasted from about 922-586 B.C. ¹
During this period in history, there were eight kings considered good kings and eleven kings considered bad kings in the Southern Kingdom. Out of the eight good kings, two bounced between the two extremes during their lives. King Asa, King Jehoshaphat, King Uzziah, King Jotham, and King Hezekiah, and King Josiah are noted in most commentaries as “good” kings. King Joash and King Amaziah are recognized as kings who did right in their youth, but evil in their old age.
Let us take King Jehoshaphat as an example of a good king. Jehoshaphat ruled the House of Judah between 873-849 BC. He was 25 years old when he became king. He established peace between the Kingdom of Judah and the Kingdom of Israel. He eliminated Baal worship in Judah. He desired the approval of God when attempting to recover Ramoth-gilead from the Syrians. Jehoshaphat had a very successful military career. He encouraged the worship of God and reformed the justice system. He died when he was 60 years old leaving a Kingdom who loved him. ³
Qualities of a Good Leader: Book of Proverbs ²
- Knows wisdom and instruction [discipline]; Proverbs 1:2
- Receives instruction in wise dealing in righteousness, justice, and equity; Proverbs 1:3
- Gives knowledge and discretion to the youth; Proverbs 1:4
- Listens and increases in learning; Proverbs 1:5
- Obtains guidance; Proverbs 1:5
- Fears the Lord; Proverbs 1:7
- Walks in the way of righteousness; Proverbs 8:20
- Embraces God’s instructions; Proverbs 8:32-33
- Walks with integrity; Proverbs 10:9
- Gives thought to his steps; Proverbs 14:15
- Acts cautiously and turns away from evil; Proverbs 14:16
- Their prayers are acceptable to God; Proverbs 15:8
- Speaks with divine wisdom and never judges unfairly; Proverbs 16:10 (NLT)
- Commits their work to the LORD; Proverbs 16:13
- Life shows in their face; Proverbs 16:15
- Acquires and seeks knowledge; Proverbs 18:15
- Shifts out the wicked from the good; Proverbs 20:26 AMP
- Conducts themselves with purity and unrighteousness; Proverbs 21:8
- Possesses strength and their knowledge enhances their might; Proverbs 24:5
- Has an abundance of counselors; Proverbs 24.6
- Leads their land [their territory] towards stability; Proverbs 28:2
- Understands justice; Proverbs 28:5
- Builds up their land [their territory/the people]; Proverbs 29:4
- Knows the rights of the poor; Proverbs 29:7
- Possesses self-control; Does not listen to lies; Proverbs 29:12a
- Faithfully judges the poor; Proverbs 29:14
- Not hasty in words; Proverbs 29:20
- Does not drink excessively [or at all]; Proverbs 31:4b
- Judges righteously; defends the rights of the poor and needy; Proverbs 31:9
List is not exhaustive.
Today, as we look at our bosses, our parents, our government leaders, or anyone who has a leadership role over us, look and see how many of the qualities above they possess. While we are all human and not perfect, possessing some of these qualities is a good start to becoming a good leader in whatever field or occupation we find ourselves in today.
Next Week: Qualities of a Bad Leader from Proverbs: Part II
God Bless You.
Bible Verses: See above.
LORD, help me to be a good leader. Allow me to follow good role models in my life, so I can become a person with integrity and good standing with You and others. My heart’s desire is to become more like you in every situation and circumstance I face. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
¹ “The Kings of Judah.” Web. 22 June 2016. <bible-history.com>.
² The Holy Bible: English Standard Version containing the Old and New Testament. Wheaton: Crossway, 2001.
³Losch, Richard R. All the People in the Bible: An A-Z Guide to the Saints, Scoundrels, and Other Characters in Scripture. Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans, 2008.
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