Thursday, August 10, 2017
Daily reading assignment – Proverbs 16
Americans live in a democratic society and the laws of our nation are supposed to be as binding on the president and congress as on common citizenry. Realistically, no leader is above the law and the scales of justice are in no man’s favor. Such is not the case in a monarchy when the king is the embodiment of the law and the citizens of his realm can only hope their king is a righteous man who fears the wrath of God’s judgment should he be derelict in his duties as king and judge.
Proverbs 16:10-13 expresses four principles that should serve as a guide for those in authority and those they serve.
Proverbs 16:10 – “A divine sentence [a decision reflecting God’s Law] is in [proceeds from] the lips of the king: his mouth transgresseth not [does not commit trespass] in judgment [sentence; verdict].”
Kings, rulers, judges and all who are in authority are to exercise judgment mindful that God, not man, is the ultimate judge of right and wrong. When godly men sit in places of judgment, their hearts will weigh matters with the discernment God alone can give. How is that possible? Notice Deuteronomy 17:18-20.
Deuteronomy 17:18-20 – “And it shall be, when he [king] sitteth upon the throne of his kingdom, that he [king] shall write him a copy of this law in a book out of that which is before the priests the Levites: 19 And it shall be with him, and he shall read therein all the days of his life: that he may learn to fear the LORD his God, to keep all the words of this law and these statutes, to do them: 20 That his heart be not lifted up above his brethren…”
A king was to possess a copy of God’s Law written by his own hand, perhaps in his youth when his heart was young and tender (17:18). The king’s copy of the Law of God was to serve as his daily meditation (17:19) and his guide in matters of judgment lest his heart be lifted up with pride and he abdicate his responsibility as judge and ruler (17:20).
Proverbs 16:11 – “A just weight [right verdict; scale] and balance [scales] are the LORD’S: all the weights [stones; measurements] of the bag are His work [labor; work of His hands].”
God’s Law and the immutable principles of His holiness, grace and mercy were to serve Israel’s king as the final word when he executed judgment.
Lady Justice continues to serve as America’s symbol of impartial, righteous justice. Personified wearing a blindfold, holding in her left hand the scales of justice and in her right the double-edged sword of judgment, she serves as a modern symbol of what rulers and judges are to remember–God is the final judge and arbitrator in matters of judgment.
Proverbs 16:12 – “It is an abomination [abhorrence; loathsome; repulsive] to kings to commit [do; execute] wickedness [moral wrong]: for the throne [seat of authority and judgment] is established [fixed; firmly established; made strong] by righteousness [rightness; moral virtue].”
The responsibility and influence of kings and all in authority is the subject of Proverbs 16:12. King Solomon instructed his son to remember it is an abomination to God and repulsive to man when those in authority practice and facilitate all manner of evil and immorality.
Sadly, that is the state in which we find our own nation. America is in a quagmire of immorality and injustice because our leaders have forsaken the Law of God. Our halls of justice have no moral compass for judging right and wrong, and the decay of our strength and security as a nation has paralleled the erosion of our confidence and respect for those in authority.
Proverbs 16:13 – “Righteous [true; just] lips are the delight [desire; pleasure] of kings; and they love [desire; like] him that speaketh right [just; upright].”
To know the moral character of those in authority one need look no further than those to whom he or she looks for counsel. While a godly leader desires the counsel of righteous men, a godless leaders choses the counsel of those who serve their immoral ends.
Truth – Godly leaders have a passion for truth and love those whose words and counsel are honest and just.
Psalm 119:103-105 – “How sweet are thy words unto my taste! yea, sweeter than honey to my mouth! 104 Through thy precepts I get understanding: therefore I hate every false way. 105 Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.”
Copyright 2017 – Travis D. Smith