Leadership Lessons From Psalm 94
Posted in Faithfulness
Scripture: “When I said, ‘My foot is slipping,’ Your unfailing love, Lord, supported me. When anxiety was great within me, Your consolation brought me joy.” – Psalm 94:18-19
As individuals striving for better relationships with one another and with the world around us, it is easy to feel overwhelmed, anxious, and uncertain. Our society is becoming more tense, our relationships more confrontational, and our interactions less personal (in fact, less in person). As we take shelter in our homes and behind screens, it is easy to lose sight of the fact that the people we are interacting with are our neighbors, whom we are commanded to love as ourselves.
In the Psalms, we see evidence that stress, anxiety, and tension are not new to our society or our time. Indeed, as the Bible portrays it, corrupt leaders, defenseless people, and a cry for God’s help is a story as old as time. In Psalm 94, we see a sad picture of corrupt and wicked leaders who were busy furthering their own interests at the expense of the defenseless (the widows, aliens, and the orphans) and condemning the innocent to death. They were intentionally ignoring the Lord and believing He could not see or hear their misdeeds.
Psalm 94 is not only a reminder that our state of affairs is perhaps not as bad as it could be, but also that it is not unique to our time. The psalmist begins by begging God for vengeance against evildoers, saying: “Rise up, O Judge of the earth; pay back to the proud what they deserve.” However, it is not only punishment the psalmist seeks, but light (asking God to “shine forth”). The psalmist anticipates a new world order where “judgment will again be founded on righteousness, and all the upright in heart will follow it.” By the end, the psalmist recognizes that the only solution to his troubles is to put his fears, anxieties, and trust in God. (v. 22: “The Lord has become my fortress, and my God the rock in whom I take refuge”).
There are leadership lessons throughout Psalm 94. The psalmist encourages us to become wise by following God’s law, to act with discipline, to be upright in heart, and take refuge in the Lord, our rock. The psalmist reminds us that revenge is not our responsibility, but God’s. As one commentator reflected: “Committing the destiny (or the destruction) of the wicked to God is not only the right thing to do, it relieves the righteous of feelings of bitterness and hostility which are self-destructive.” What a relief it is to put the world’s problems in God’s hands! However, we are not instructed to be hands-off. Instead, we should speak out against evil and seek to show the wicked the folly of their thoughts and deeds, as the psalmist attempts to do.
It is easy to feel powerless and hopeless. Perhaps God has made it that way intentionally, so that we can remind ourselves to rely on him. “Does He who implanted the ear not hear? Does He who formed the eye not see” (v. 9)? God hears our concerns. God sees our pain. He is always there for us, if only we lean on him. “The Lord knows the thoughts of man; He knows they are futile” (v. 11). Yet, “the Lord will not reject His people; He will never forsake” us.
We need to remind ourselves, and one another, of the Christian values that make us good leaders and neighbors. And we need to not only remind ourselves of these values, but actually live them out, even when it is hard to do. “When I said, ‘My foot is slipping,’ Your love, oh Lord, supported me” (v. 18). God sees a future for us that is full of peace and hope, even when that is nearly impossible for us to see, hear, or believe. “When anxiety was great within me, Your consolation brought joy to my soul.” (v. 19).
Prayer: Great Lord of peace, we need you now as much as ever. We need your wisdom and grace to bring us together as a people, as a nation, as a world, instead of separate and apart. Help us take refuge in your unfailing love and strength. Help us all to become upright in heart. Amen.
Submitted by Lyndey Bryant