Focus Scripture: Judges 3:9-12
As we come upon an election, there are many people who do not vote or (perhaps even worse) vote without educating themselves about the candidates. Does it really matter who our leaders are?
Scripture teaches us that it does. Over and over again, the Israelites will enjoy a significant time of peace but then their leader will die. The very next line is almost always, "The Israelites did evil in the sight of the Lord." In today's reading, the Israelites are suffering when God raises up Othniel to lead them. God delivers the enemy into the hands of Othniel, that is, Othniel triumphed against the enemy in battle, through God's help, and then under Othniel's leadership the Israelites know a substantial period of peace. Othniel dies after decades of rule and then. . . you guessed it. "The Israelites did evil in the sight of the Lord" and their enemies overtake them again.
Without a strong leader, the people flounder. Without a godly leader, the people do evil.
The quality of our leaders matters. Political discord has reached unprecedented levels of incivility. And so has social discord. Political leaders no longer seek to do justice, love kindness and walk humbly with their God, and neither do their constituents.
We do follow our leaders. It is an odd thing, I suppose, to be the follower and yet the one who can pick the direction we go--primarily by picking who we will follow.