This is the sermon for Wednesday, November 17th, 2008. We are doing a study in the book of Proverbs on Wednesday nights right now.
Everyday Wisdom part 15
Wisdom for ruling nations.
Proverbs 16:10-16 HCSB – 10 God’s verdict is on the lips of a king; his mouth should not err in judgment. 11 Honest balances and scales are the LORD’s; all the weights in the bag are His concern. 12 Wicked behavior is detestable to kings, since a throne is established through righteousness. 13 Righteous lips are a king’s delight, and he loves one who speaks honestly 14 A king’s fury is a messenger of death, but a wise man appeases it. 15 When a king’s face lights up, there is life; his favor is like a cloud with spring rain. 16 Acquire wisdom—how much better it is than gold! And acquire understanding—it is preferable to silver.
Many countries are not like ours. They don’t have democratic elections, but are ruled by some sort of monarchy, or perhaps a socialistic, communistic way. Even in the time of the New Testament, the Ceasar, though he governed a republic form of government, he was still a monarch of sort.
We have people today, that will not accept the outcome of elections in our country. I’ve even heard good Christian people state that if the person they voted for didn’t get in, then the person not receiving their vote would not be their president.
Is this biblical?
Let’s look what Paul has to say about his before we dig into our Scripture text tonight.
Romans 13:1-2 ISV – 1 Every person must be subject to the governing authorities, for no authority exists except by God’s permission. The existing authorities have been established by God, 2 so that whoever resists the authorities opposes what God has established, and those who resist will bring judgment on themselves.
I believe the government we have in place was put their by God, even if we voted on the people or not, God is the one who ultimately established them. Our job is to pray for those in authority, accept the authority that God has placed there, and continue to share the gospel.
Having said that, I can tell you that I will not agree with the upcoming administrations policies. And I may be able to voice my objection, but at the same time, I have to respect and honor those leaders that God has placed over us.
Tonight we are going to look at some wise things God has to say about those who govern, or rule nations.
We are going to see that: God has given governing authorities not just to rule over us, but to correct evil doers, and honor those who live wisely and say the right things.
Let me make just one statement before we go on. If we could find a modern day example that has been honored by those within government, it would be Billy Graham. He obviously has not agreed with all the presidents and how congress has done things, but he has had their respect because he has been careful with his words, and has prayed with many of them. I know for a fact that he has voiced his concerns privately to the individuals, but not publicly so that he would not cause a political circus.
Let’s begin looking into what God has to say in Proverbs 16 about those who govern nations and those under their authority.
Those who govern nations need to seek the wisdom and revelation of the Lord, not polls, and the will of a nation.
Proverbs 16:10 HCSB – God’s verdict is on the lips of a king; his mouth should not err in judgment.
Solomon here I believe is primarily talking about the future rulers of Judah. Those who would follow his rule need to speak forth God’s verdicts, in other words, make sure that God is watching their tongue, that what they say comes from the Lord, not their own mind, not even the will of the people, but the voice of God Himself.
That is why you see many a Godly king over Judah would often have a prophet speaking truths to them, or they were closely associated with the High Priest during that time.
In the same way, we need to pray that God will give those who have authority over our great nation people that will speak the truth of God’s Word to them. That our leaders will seek God’s wisdom, and God’s answers for the situations we face.
When a leader does that and begins to speak what the Lord says, he will not act wrongly, but rightly.
God is the one who makes the standards for righteous judgment, and those who govern need to govern by His honest standards.
Proverbs 16:11 HCSB – Honest balances and scales are the LORD’s; all the weights in the bag are His concern.
Let’s face it, no matter who has been the political party in power, or in the white house, we have not seen good, wise standards in judgment.
I don’t believe that God has even been sought out.
What is the answer to this financial crisis? It is not more bail-outs, but it is turning and seeking the face of the one who Himself made the standards and follow His direction. Bailing out companies that do not have honest balances and scales will just allow them to continue in their wicked ways. If those companies want to be bailed out, they must turn and change or be allowed to just go under.
Do not do wrong to those in authority over us; Also, don’t use flattery and lies to try and manipulate those in authority; be upfront and sincere.
Proverbs 16:12-13 HCSB – 12 Wicked behavior is detestable to kings, since a throne is established through righteousness. 13 Righteous lips are a king’s delight, and he loves one who speaks honestly.
It is not the President or members of congress that have set up their authoritative position; it is God. He has set it up in righteousness.
This does not mean that those who govern will automatically rule with righteous judgment. It does mean that when they do rule in righteous judgment, they will find wrongdoing detestable.
You may say, Pastor, they don’t do that now. Then begin to pray for them, that God in His Sovereignty will change their heart.
Proverbs 21:1 ESV – The king’s heart is a stream of water in the hand of the LORD; he turns it wherever he will.
If at all possible, live at peace with those in authority.
Proverbs 16:14-15 HCSB – 14 A king’s fury is a messenger of death, but a wise man appeases it. 15 When a king’s face lights up, there is life; his favor is like a cloud with spring rain.
There are times when those who rule over a nation may be ungodly and the church will need to stand and in love confront the sins of the leadership of that nation.
But during times that the government is truly seeking God’s standard and rule, make peace with them. Don’t do wrong and thereby be under the king’s anger. Find favor with the King.
Esther was married to an ungodly king, but in order for her to save her people, she had to confront the king about those who were trying to manipulate him into a wrong course of action. She had found favor with the king before this happened, so when the time came for her to confront him, she didn’t meet with his anger, but his favor.
The answer to the ills of a nation’s economy is not more taxes, or more government spending – it is finding and walking in the wisdom of God.
Proverbs 16:16 HCSB – Acquire wisdom—how much better it is than gold! And acquire understanding—it is preferable to silver.
Though Solomon had actually moved on from teaching about those in authority, I wanted to place this Scripture with the preceding passages. As individuals, and as a nation, we should seek the wisdom and understanding that comes from God, more than seeking financial benefits.
God has given us not only our form of government, but the people who are now leading us, whether you agree with them or not.
They need our prayers, they need us to be honest with them when they are going astray, they need us to try to live at peace with them, if at all possible.
Let’s not forget that God is Sovereign. He exalts whomever He wills and He will bring down whomever He wills as well.