autumn-2726242_1920Bob’s been trying to get in touch with our tree service guy to come out and take a look at a particular sugar maple in our back yard.  It’s been trimmed back more than once, and even had one major branch amputated and sealed years ago.  This summer there has been a nest of (I believe) woodpeckers in a hole on the main trunk; it’s very cool to watch the little avian family, but probably doesn’t bode too well for the tree.

The concern is, regardless of how pretty the maple is on the outside, (and I do love them, especially in the autumn), this one is close enough to the family room roof that toppling over could do some serious damage, and not just to the woodpeckers’ cozy little abode!

Which seems, in its own way, speaks to one of the major themes in this chapter of Proverbs.  The writer makes several references to leadership, which could include anything from the home, the workplace, all the way up the President:

When there is moral rot within a nation, its government topples easily.
    But wise and knowledgeable leaders bring stability.

And another:

When the godly succeed, everyone is glad.
    When the wicked take charge, people go into hiding.

Not done yet, here’s a few more:

A wicked ruler is as dangerous to the poor
    as a roaring lion or an attacking bear.

 A ruler with no understanding will oppress his people,
    but one who hates corruption will have a long life.

When the wicked take charge, people go into hiding.
    When the wicked meet disaster, the godly flourish.

With so much of the same line of thinking packed closely together, it’s almost like God is giving us a bit of a go-‘round in case we didn’t get it the first or second time: wicked people in charge is a prescription for disaster.  We don’t have to look too far back in our own history to renew the bitter taste in our mouths. 

Yet there are two interesting tidbits here which may be easily overlooked. 

The first has to do with the term “the wicked”.  Such a moniker predisposes a standard which can be reliably used to define wickedness.  It would be no good to tell us to avoid something if we had no way of identifying it.  And if such a standard exists, then there must be someone transcendent of that standard to set the bar.

Obviously, in the Christian worldview, this standard is God as illustrated in His Son, Jesus.  Yep, a pretty high one, that.

Secondly, the writer refers to “moral rot” on a national scale as being that which precedes the downfall of the government.  In other words, it’s not about the officials—at least initially—but the people themselves.  Those of us who work in the factories and hospitals and schools and homes.  Those of us who, when we do something less-than-legal, needn’t worry about the media broadcasting it all over Twitter and Facebook.  CNN isn’t looking over my shoulder to see if I cheat on my income tax or run the red light or kick my dog.

SomeOne else is, though.  (Reference the first tidbit.)

I am admonished by the writings in the New Testament to pray for those in leadership—God alone knows how very much they need it.  But perhaps Solomon, from his very unique perspective, is going a step deeper: just maybe I need to take a good look at who I am giving them to lead regarding my own character.

tree-42301_1280Am I giving them a sturdy tree to build on, or one that will topple with the next storm?

Proverbs 28:2,12,15,16,28  Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.


About dawnlizjones

Tends toward TMI, so here's the short list: guitar and banjo (both of which have been much neglected as of late), bicycling (ibid), dogs, very black tea, and contemplating and commenting on deep philosophical thoughts about which I have had no academic or professional training. Oh, also reading, writing, but I shy away from arithmetic. View all posts by dawnlizjones

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