Proverbs 16:14-15 – The art of currying the favor of an authority

humility before honorAs we return to Proverbs 16 we find ourselves in the midst of proverbs addressing a man’s relationship with those in authority (a king).  Having amplified Proverbs 16:10-13 in earlier devotions, we turn our attention to Proverbs 16:14-15.

Proverbs 16:14-15 – “The wrath [fury; indignation] of a king is as messengers [angels; ambassadors] of death: but a wise man will pacify it [reconcile or atone the wrath of the king]. 15 In the light of the king’s countenance [face; presence; sight] is life; and his favour [pleasure; goodwill] is as a [dark] cloud of the latter [spring] rain.”

In ancient times one’s approach to a king could set the stage for life or death.  Persian king’s forbid any to approach them uninvited; in fact, to do so was a capital offense.

In verse 14, Solomon teaches a valuable lesson in the art of discretion [an ability almost universally lacking in our day]. The lesson is a simple one—when a king is angry, a wise man approaches him with caution and a spirit of humility and appeasement.show respect

Because the majority of us will never face the opportunity of being in the presence of a king, we must ask, “What is the application of this proverb to 21st century society?”

We have many human authorities in our lives. Parents, teachers, employers, pastors, law enforcement and judges all represent authorities that can bless us or exact a judgment that potentially will harm us. Solomon’s counsel is for us to not provoke those in authority, but approach them with tact and humility.

Proverbs 16:15 reminds us that the company and favor of an authority can be rewarding…like dark clouds that promise rain and promote fruit in time of harvest, befriending a man or woman in authority may prove to be a blessing.

respect those in authorityRomans 13:3-4 – “For rulers [civil authorities] are not a terror to good works [deeds; actions], but to the evil [morally wrong; wicked]. Wilt thou then not be afraid [revere; stand in awe] of the power [authority; rule of government]? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise [commended; verbal commendation] of the same: 4 For he [ruler; one in authority] is the minister [servant] of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil [wicked; morally depraved], be afraid [frightened]; for he beareth [wear; carry] not the sword [authority to punish] in vain: for he is the minister [servant] of God, a revenger [one who inflicts punishment] to execute wrath [punishment; vengeance] upon him that doeth evil [habitually sins].”