I look for a repetition of themes, topics, nouns and verbs when I study a chapter in the Book of Proverbs. For instance, the character, actions and sinful bent of the “wicked” are detailed in Proverbs 28:1, 4, 12, 15, and 28; a contrasting study of the “righteous” is provided in Proverbs 28:1, 10, 12, and 28. Meditating on those verses and the distinctive character of the wicked and righteous imparts to us the wisdom of God concerning the heart of man.
For today’s devotional study, I invite you to focus on six verses that evidence a recurring theme in Proverbs 28. Solomon’s proverbs address the character of those in authority and the effect their rule has on a nation. Reread Proverbs 28:2, 4, 12, 15-16, 28, paying special attention to the character and influence of wicked rulers. Notice how they impact a nation spiritually, emotionally and economically.
For the sake of our study, I will limit my focus to three verses–Proverbs 28:12, 15, 28.
Proverbs 28:12, 15 – “When righteous men [just; law-abiding] do rejoice [triumph], there is great glory [honor; pride]: but when the wicked [evil; ungodly; criminal] rise [succeed; arise], a man is hidden [hides; concealed]… 15 As a roaring lion, and a ranging bear [prowling; having a voracious appetite]; so is a wicked ruler over the poor people [weak; needy; helpless].”
Proverbs 28:28 – “When the wicked rise [succeed; arise], men hide [conceal; seek shelter] themselves: but when they [the wicked] perish, the righteous increase [multiply—as opposed to fleeing and seeking a hiding place].”
When the wicked are in authority, a nation and a people suffer. Why? Because the wicked are true to their nature…they are by nature a sinful, lawless people. Solomon describes wicked rulers as brute beasts; like “a roaring lion, and a ranging bear” (28:15) having a voracious appetite, which maim and kill. Wicked rulers are, in spite of their boasts, insensitive to the poor and needy. Their conscience is seared (Romans 1:28-32) and they are deaf to the pleas and cries of the suffering.
When righteous leaders are in authority, a nation rejoices (28:12a). When the wicked are punished, the righteous increase.
Character does matter! Americans would do well to wake up to that truth before the next election cycle!