May 29, 2017 • Life for Leaders
In love a throne will be established; in faithfulness a man will sit on it — one from the house of David — one who in judging seeks justice and speeds the cause of righteousness.
In the middle of a prophecy of doom upon Moab, we find unexpected words of hope. After the destruction is over, God will anoint a ruler who will seek and do what is right. The messianic king will be in the line of David.
We, of course, believe that this prophecy was ultimately fulfilled in Jesus. But I’m especially struck by one line that describes the future king. He will be one who “speeds the cause of righteousness.” This is a fairly literal translation of the Hebrew original, which reads, “He is quick with respect to righteousness.” The king won’t know what is right yet procrastinate. He won’t be lackadaisical about righteousness. He won’t see what’s right, be it for personal or political reasons. Rather, he’ll seek it and do it PDQ. According to the rendering of the Message, the king will be “a Ruler quick to set things right.”
Don’t you yearn for such a leader? Wouldn’t you like to work for an organization with a leader who is “quick to set things right”? Don’t you wish for political leaders who “speed the cause of righteousness”?
And don’t you want to be such a leader in places where you have been given authority? I know I do. I want to be eager to do the right thing, knowing that my good works honor God. I want to do what’s right quickly, even when part of me resists. I think, for example, of times when my relationships at work are challenged by conflict. I know what’s right: to go to the person with whom I have differences and seek to reconcile. If I have done wrong, I should admit it and ask for forgiveness. I have been wronged, I should forgive.
Now I know all of these things, but there are times when I delay doing the right thing. I don’t look forward to an awkward conversation, or to apologizing for my mistakes. Sometimes I simply want to bask in self-pity for a while longer. Perhaps you can relate to what I’m saying. Or perhaps there are other areas of life where you are less than quick to seek righteousness. What God wants for us is clear, however. Like the king in Isaiah 16 – like Jesus the Messiah – we are to be eager to do what is right, and to do it quickly.
QUESTIONS TO CONSIDER:
Are there times when you are not eager to do what’s right?
Why are you hesitant in such times?
Are there right actions you know you should do today, but have been avoiding? What will help you to do these things?
Gracious God, I want to be eager to do what is right. I want to be quick in my obedience. There are certainly times when this is true of me, times when doing the right thing is also the pleasant thing, the thing I am glad to do.
But there are other times, as you know, Lord. I confess that sometimes I don’t hurry to do the right thing. I try to rationalize, to avoid confrontation, to forget about a situation that makes me uncomfortable.
So, dear Lord, forgive me when I delay doing the right thing. Help me to be eager to do what is right. By your Spirit, inspire me to be quick in my obedience. As I am formed by your Spirit, may doing the right thing become more and more natural to me, something I desire and do because you are shaping me to be like you. Amen.
Explore more at the Theology of Work Project online commentary: Servant at Work (Isaiah 40ff.)
Dr. Mark D. Roberts is a Senior Strategist for Fuller’s Max De Pree Center for Leadership, where he focuses on the spiritual development and thriving of leaders. He is the principal writer of the daily devotional, Life for Leaders, and the founder of the De Pree Center’s Flourishing in the Third Third of Life Initiative. Previously, Mark was the Executive Director of the De Pree Center, the lead pastor of a church in Southern California, and the Senior Director of Laity Lodge in Texas. He has written eight books, dozens of articles, and over 2,500 devotions that help people discover the difference God makes in their daily life and leadership. With a Ph.D. in New Testament from Harvard, Mark teaches at Fuller Seminary, most recently in his D.Min. cohort on “Faith, Work, Economics, and Vocation.” Mark is married to Linda, a marriage and family counselor, spiritual director, and executive coach. Their two grown children are educators on the high school and college level.