“When small men begin to cast big shadows, it means that the sun is about to set.”- Walter Savage Landor
We look for big men, men of character, leaders who have integrity and will not compromise their principles no matter what it costs them; leaders who have the wisdom to tackle the tremendous challenges of our day. We look for them, but, we find few. Most of our leaders are small. The fact that our country has elevated them to leadership is a sign that we, as a nation, are also small and in a very dark and dangerous time. We desperately need men and women who have principles and the courage to not budge from them, no matter how much pressure comes against them.
David writes of such a leader. In Psalm 15, he asks, “Lord, who may dwell in your sanctuary? Who may live on your holy hill?” (1) For David and for believing Christians, our one passion is to be near God, to enjoy him, please him, obey him and worship him. That life dominating purpose separates us from all other men. Pursuing power and prestige is not the goal; pleasing the Lord is. Consequently, integrity is more important than popularity. Standing alone for what is right and true is a small price to pay for the privilege of serving our Lord.
That is what David means by “blameless” and “righteous.” A God-honoring life is one that obeys the commands of His Lord. His or her marching orders do not come from the masses, but from their Master. Position, popularity and prestige are not priorities to those who possess a pure of heart.
And so, David details the actions of a big man in God’s sight. First, “He speaks the truth from his heart.” He does not lie, does not shade the truth, does not conceal hidden motives. What he speaks is what he is. It is a matter of his heart, his identity. To lie would be self-assassination. He would be killing the essence of his being. He knows the Truth. He loves the Truth. He would rather die than betray the Truth. What he speaks he is. You can take his words to the bank!
Second, “He has no slander of his lips.” (3) A Man or woman of God believes that the Lord is in control of his life. He does not have to put others down to lift himself up. In fact, humility is woven into his character because he knows that all of the good that he possesses, come from His Lord. Instead of attacking the character of his rivals, he can serve them and even find reasons to honor them when appropriate. “He does his neighbor no wrong and casts no slur upon his fellow man.” (3) Of course not, the whole purpose of his leadership is to serve others, not to use them or hurt them. He is just following the ways of his Lord, “who causes the sun to rise on the evil and the good and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteousness.” (Matthew 5:45)
But, this man is no whimp. Thirdly, he speaks out and stands against vile men, those who do evil and use their position to rob from the poor to make themselves rich. He cares not whether they are President or General of leader of the Senate. When they are wrong, when they need correction, he will risk their disfavor and hostility by confronting them with truth. He does it, with boldness, not because he loves conflict, but because he loves truth.
He is also quick to honor those who, like him, fear the Lord, even if they are in the other party. He will stand alongside the woman who has the guts to risk riling up the anger of the power wielders, because she honors God’s name more than theirs.
Fifth, he “keeps his oath even when it hurts.” Ah! Here is a line of demarcation! How many times have we seen politicians make promises they knew they could not keep and would not keep, just to get the votes from naïve citizens. They know they can’t keep the oath, but it is necessary to put out there so they can get the position they want. Pragmatics push aside principles. And, when he attains the status that he seeks, he finds that his vow costs more than he is willing to pay. So, he discards integrity and displays duplicity.
Sixth, he does not get rich because he holds an important office. David writes, that when “he lends his money,” it is “without usury and (he/she) does not accept a bribe against the innocent.” (5) We all have seen the reports of a politicians who has spent most of their adult life in an elected position, becoming millionaires from “serving the people.” David’s point is that a blameless and righteous man, lives to serve others, not to become rich. In fact, they give away their money to the hurting, without any thought of personal gain. Bribes? Never! His character cannot be bought or sullied by bribes. Everything he has comes from God and is on loan. He will give an account for his stewardship of all that he has been entrusted.
And, what is the end of such a servant. “He will never be shaken.” He will stand like Gibraltar. The winds of popularity will not move him one inch. The storms of adversity will not change his character. The temptation of riches will not alter his vote. The threats of lost position and popularity will not intimidate him. His will is cast. His heart is true. His life is the Lord’s. He will not be shaken!
Lord, raise up a whole new tribe of Big Men who stand tall in these dark days. Our nation desperately needs them.