Sunday, July 9, 2017

Counseled By The King: The Proverbs Of Solomon. Day 46, The Favor Of The King

Solomon tells us how to behave in order to please the king of Israel, and these are the same ways we should behave in order to please the King of kings.

"When the Lord takes pleasure in anyone's way, He causes their enemies to make peace with them." (Proverbs 16:7) The Lord is able to make a clear path for the righteous to reach their goals, even when that includes causing their enemies to have to make peace with them. He will move obstacles from our path. He will cause people to show us favor. He will make opportunities for us.

"Better a little with righteousness than much gain with injustice." (Proverbs 16:8) We can sleep soundly at night when we live honestly. But the wicked person always has to worry about keeping hold of what he gained by doing wrong. He tosses and turns at night in fear of being caught.

"In their hearts humans plan their course, but the Lord establishes their steps." (Proverbs 16:9) We spoke on this subject yesterday. God sometimes says no to our plans. He wants us to get in step with His goals for our lives, then He will establish our plans. (Proverbs 16:3)

"The lips of a king speak as an oracle, and his mouth does not betray justice." (Proverbs 16:10) The kings of Israel were to follow the word of the Lord. They were to judge according to what was right, not favoring one person over another because of wealth or position.

"Honest scales and balances belong to the Lord; all the weights in the bag are of His making." (Proverbs 16:11) Merchants in Solomon's day used scales to weigh out goods, such as foodstuffs, and to weigh money. A merchant would carry weights in a bag so he could compare them on the scales to either the goods he was selling or to the money he was accepting. An honest merchant would use accurate weights, while a dishonest one would use false weights to cheat his customers.

"Kings detest wrongdoing, for a throne is established through righteousness." (Proverbs 16:12) Not every king of Israel or Judah was a righteous man. In general the reigns of wicked kings tended to be shorter than the reigns of righteous kings. Solomon isn't saying an unrighteous man will never ascend to the throne, but that the Lord only "establishes" the throne of the righteous. The Biblical definition of "establish" would be to bless, settle, secure, affirm, approve, endorse, or validate. So we find that the king who lives rightly is blessed and approved by the Lord, while the king who is wicked has no stamp of approval from God.

"Kings take pleasure in honest lips; they value the one who speaks what is right." (Proverbs 16:13) False words are of no value to a king. He has to rely somewhat on advisers and officials to provide him with accurate information. He also expects those who come before him in court cases to tell the truth. It's infuriating to have someone lie to your face, and Solomon finds it as distasteful as anyone.

"A king's wrath is a messenger of death, but the wise will appease it." (Proverbs 16:14) I would be very frightened to stand before a powerful king like Solomon and have his face turn wrathful and angry. He says, "If you're smart you will come into my presence with respect and honesty. You won't do anything to make me feel unfavorable toward you."

"When a king's face brightens, it means life; his favor is like a rain cloud in spring." (Proverbs 16:15) Imagine going into the throne room of King Solomon with a request for help and having him smile at you. That smile would be as welcome as the spring showers on a freshly planted garden. When a person smiles favorably at our request, we know he or she is about to say yes to it.

Solomon speaks today about the types of behavior that please a godly king. These are the same types of behavior that please our God and King. He loves honesty. He rewards righteous living. He establishes the plans of the one who commits all his ways to Him. These things brighten His face, causing Him to smile on us.

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