For the transgression of a land many are the princes thereof: but by a man of understanding and knowledge the state thereof shall be prolonged. -Proverbs 28:2, KJV
When a land transgresses, it has many rulers, but with a man of understanding and knowledge, its stability will long continue. -Proverbs 28:2, ESV
Our world is divided. In most Western countries, there are elected leaders, but they are not always who is listened to. Just look at the state of affairs today, when a president, prime minister, or some cabinet/Congress member says or does something and it’s as if a major scandal has erupted.
As a people, we choose which leader we want to follow, even if they are not in charge of much. We refuse to forgive “the other side” for real or perceived wrongs and deny that people can ever change.
May we remember that in Christ we can change by the working of His grace in our hearts through the power of the Holy Spirit.
And one day He shall return and the Man of Understanding and Knowledge who leads His people for eternity.
The heaven for height, and the earth for depth, and the heart of kings is unsearchable.
Proverbs 25:3, KJV
There are three ways to understand this verse, I think:
Very few throughout all of history can understand the pressures, stresses, and rewards of leading a people as ruler or even elected official. Some of us may get an inkling of some idea, but without doing it we will never have a full understanding. (Consider the presidents and prime ministers who enter office with dark hair that turns gray during one term.)
God, the Creator of all of space and the Earth as well as our Eternal King, can never be fully understood. How can finite creatures understand that much power and majesty or that this God would want to save people who willfully rebel against Him? It will never happen.
As I mentioned the other day, Christians are are a royal priesthood following our King of kings and High Priest. Unbelievers will try to understand all of space and our Earth, but they may never understand how we can believe in the One who made it all. They will barely if at all attempt to search out our heart for our King.
Most of us will never understand leading a nation, and none of us will ever comprehend the fullness of God.
If we are wise, we will seek out God and contemplate His truths and all He has done for us. We may not understand all He has done, but diving into those unsearchable truths will only bring us closer to and more like that God.
Consider this a sequel! (Just like other sequels, a lot of people may be upset!)
My son, fear thou the Lord and the king: and meddle not with them that are given to change: For their calamity shall rise suddenly; and who knoweth the ruin of them both? -Proverbs 24:21-22, KJV
What I mean is that we have been seeing a decade of change. Leaders throughout the Western world have been calling for change based on who has been in power.
This was most clearly seen with both Barack Obama and then Donald Trump. (Did you notice that both talked about making America respectable to some group, only in different ways?)
As Anthony demonstrated, the different sides have made a habit of vilifying each other, and whoever’s side is not in power looks for any reason to change that status, especially by removal of the the big leader (in our case, the president).
Scripture shows us, though, that we should strive to help our leaders be and do the best (within God’s moral decrees, of course.)
If all you do is cry out for change and rarely if ever actually do anything, you are not helping. This is similar to what Paul said in 1 Corinthians 13:1: you are like a clanging cymbal (like the neighbor who practices his drums at 3:00 AM.)
You can disagree with them. You can do things to help the situation.
But if all you do is complain about who is (or was) in power and cause further division, you are part of the problem and dishonoring God. (This a great time on the true meaning of using the Lord’s name in vain.)
Remember: Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation. (Romans 13:1-2)
But we are also reminded to fear God. He is the unchanging One who has established what is right and true, and He is always in control.
The prince that wanteth understanding is also a great oppressor: but he that hateth covetousness shall prolong his days.
A ruler with no understanding will oppress his people, but one who hates corruption will have a long life. (NLT)
When I typed the question ‘how many countries are there in the world?’ into Google I expected the answer to be around the 200 mark. One website provided more information than others naming dependent and disputed territories in the answer:
Since South Sudan became an independent state on 9 July 2011, there are now 195 independent sovereign states in the world (including disputed but defacto independent Taiwan), plus about 60 dependent areas, and five disputed territories, like Kosovo.
That makes 255. I grew up in the island of Guernsey, which is one of the dependent areas, being a Crown Dependency of the UK. Systems of government vary widely across the spectrum of states, dependent areas and disputed territories. One thing that seems common to all systems is the requirement for someone to be in charge. In Guernsey the Crown is represented by a Lieutenant Governor and a Bailiff. In the UK the Queen is a constitutional monarch who is represented in parliament by the Prime Minister.
The teaching in this proverb appears to be directed to monarchs, prime ministers, presidents, governors, and the like. We don’t have to look far in our world to discover that many of the leaders of the 255 nations and dependencies have either never heard this proverb, or have chosen to ignore it. In many countries, perhaps even our own, politics has become a system of power that enriches the incumbent politicians to the detriment of much of the remainder of the population. Perhaps that is why it was God’s preference for Israel not to be like other nations and be ruled by a king? When the prophet Samuel warned the people that a king would draft their sons into his army, and their daughters into his service, they ignored him. Even warnings of slavery to the king and taxation failed to change their minds (1 Samuel 8:10-20). The people’s response was; “Even so, we still want a king, we want to be like the nations around us.”
Isn’t that true for us too? We want to be like those around us? We forget that God calls us to be different. If we keep one foot in the world then we will be corrupted by it. If you think about it, what the world has to offer is a form of oppression. We don’t need a prince or a politician to oppress us, because the ways of the world will suck us in and keep us in servitude, oblivious to all that God has to offer. Do you want a king? Then you need to look beyond the world and the voices that try to drown out the gentle whisper of the true and incorruptible King.