A long time ago in Egypt, the nation of Israel was taken captive. They became slaves to the Egyptians for 400 years. The God of Israel picked Moses, an Israelite raised in the royal courts of Pharaoh, to lead the Israelites out of slavery to Canaan, the land of milk and honey (Exodus 3:10). The exodus was successful, and God governed the people directly through judges like Samson, Deborah, and Samuel. But during Samuel’s time, they desired to be like their neighbors (1 Samuel 8:5). They wanted an earthly King, a man to whom they could see and relate. In effect, they were rejecting God, for God was their King, and he had been leading them through the judges (1 Samuel 8:7). But in requesting a king, God instructed Samuel to warn them and show them the ways of an earthly king who shall reign over them. Despite the warning (1 Samuel 8:10-18), they still insisted that they wanted a king (1 Samuel 8:9).
And God gave them Saul, a tall, good-looking man with broad shoulders. No man in Israel was more handsome than he (1 Samuel 9:2). In all appearances, Saul was the best. However, he didn’t have a heart for the people and disobeyed God. He only lived for himself and was filled with false promises, while deep down, he was filled with hatred (1 Samuel 18:23;28). Since the people rejected God, it meant that they wanted to be the determiners of their destiny. They got a king who was in every way like them. A king who rejected and disobeyed God, who didn’t love people, one who only cared to lift his name.
Are you Different than Leaders?
Whenever we go to vote, we are going to elect leadership that reflects who we are. Elections are an opportunity for us to seek God for the leadership of our country. Instead of seeking God and asking him to guide us, we pray and ask him to place so and so into leadership. We act like the people of Israel who, instead of seeking God’s guidance over their troubled nation, they went ahead and prayed for a king. They disregarded God, their King, and instead sought a mortal man to rule over them. As Saul reflected the people of Israel, so are our leaders reflecting who we are.
How often do we complain of corruption, tribalism, divisive politics, and embezzlement of public funds, among many other vices in this nation, yet still, we are the very ones who promote such leaders among ourselves? When arrested for whatever reason, are you quick to give bribes? When put in charge of others, do you seek your interest or promote their good? Are you not the one who is slandering other tribes in the name of politics? Aren’t you the one who goes to seek services at a public office and is quick to buy them “tea” so that they can serve you faster than the rest? Deep inside, haven’t you ever thought of how, if given an opportunity just for one term in a particular public office, you would dip your finger into the jar of the government coffers and scoop enough for you and your generations?
When we complain about our current political leaders, we should first introspect. Am I any different? Do I promote positive change in my areas of influence? Can we say no to corruption even if we suffer for not bribing or taking a bribe? Are we ready to seek good in other tribes and even their leaders? Can we start speaking politics based on issues rather than persons and tribes? Are we willing to work with our hands to earn honest money instead of ripping off people through dubious deals? All these are possible. They are only possible if we change our hearts and minds.
Change of Heart
The people of Israel were highly corrupt during the time of the prophet Jeremiah. They were accustomed to doing evil, just like we are. Those accustomed to doing evil cannot change themselves, just as a leopard cannot change its skin (Jeremiah 13:33). The truth is that we cannot change ourselves. We need someone to change us, someone more powerful, who can only change us from within. Only God, our Creator, can change our hearts of stone into hearts of flesh that desire to do what is right (Ezekiel 11:14-21). To be better citizens who choose better leaders, we need changed hearts.
God changes the hearts of men by giving them a new life (Ezekiel 36:26-27). New life is what is called to be born again (John 3:3). This new life enables man to love God and have faith in His Son, our Lord Jesus Christ (John 3:16). When we are God’s children, we belong to God’s kingdom and that makes us ambassadors of God here on earth (2 Corinthians 5: 20). The work of ambassadors is not only to do the bidding of their home country but also to encourage the people in their host country to change for the better. We know firm believers like John Newton and William Wilberforce, who stood firm against slavery and the rights of formerly enslaved people. Here in Kenya, we had men like Bishop Muge, who became a political martyr who fought for civil rights in the 90s. You, too, can be the agent of change this country desperately needs if only you turn to God and believe in Jesus for the changing of your heart. When your heart is changed, you will be able to seek God for the leadership of this nation and even mobilize others to do the same.
Change of Mind
Our minds cannot change unless our hearts change. Our hearts are the center of our desires, and our desires direct how we think and what we align ourselves with. Your political affiliations indicate your heart’s desires and aspirations for Kenya. You must appeal to the heart for you to transform the mind. If we belong to God, our attitudes towards corruption, divisive politics, and even gloating over others will change to seek the things that are true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, commendable, excellent, and worthy of praise (Philippians 4:8). You must desire to have a mind that is transformed, one that looks into things not just on the face value, but on their real meaning and even outcome. Remember, Satan disguises himself as an angel of light (2 Corinthians 11:14), as do bad leaders. They will not tell you they are bad, but by carefully examining their policies and character, you will see men and women who want nothing but to further their selfish interests.
God also transforms our minds when we live sacrificially for God and others (Romans 12:1-4). Using our gifts to serve others is an act of spiritual worship to our Lord God. By doing so, we consider others better than ourselves (Philippians 2:3). If we do not have a heart for serving others, we will find ourselves choosing leaders who do not have a heart for service. Our minds must change with regard to how we talk, the things we listen to, and the materials we read and watch. We should soak ourselves with things that are worthy of praise in the eyes of God. Let us encourage one another in these things. Are you educated? Educate others in matters of politics and governance. Let us not be the ones found speaking populist, tribal, corrupt, and divisive politics with our mates, yet we want better leaders.
Only when we have changed hearts and minds will we come to God as the Israelites did and pray humbly for God to heal our land (2 Chronicles 7:14) and give us good leaders who will serve this nation and not their interests. Remember, for us to pray to God in humility so that he can heal Kenya, we must be called by his name. We must be born again and proud to be God’s children. If we want a change of leadership for the better, that change must start with us. Turn to God today. Believe in his Son. Repent all your sins, and start living a life that honors God and people.