Proverbs about the King

As residents of the United States, we may not know as much or think as much about royalty as many throughout history and around the world. But there is still much that we can learn from looking at what the Proverbs have to say about the king. Here are some reasons why these Proverbs are important for us:

  • “The king” represents the power of government which God Himself has established on earth (see Romans 13), and much of what we read in these proverbs can help us understand the role of government.
  • Jesus Christ is our perfect king, and the proverbs that speak of the ideal king can help us understand the perfection of the Christ.
  • Some proverbs speak of the imperfect men who will serve as king, and these can help us understand how we can assess and respond to our own leaders.
  • Some aspects of royalty are aspects of leadership in general and can teach us about the roles that leaders should play in our society as well.

Consider the proverbs:

“I, wisdom, dwell with prudence, And I find knowledge and discretion. The fear of the Lord is to hate evil; Pride and arrogance and the evil way And the perverted mouth, I hate. Counsel is mine and sound wisdom; I am understanding, power is mine. By me kings reign, And rulers decree justice. By me princes rule, and nobles, All who judge rightly.” (8:12-16)

“In a multitude of people is a king’s glory, But in the dearth of people is a prince’s ruin.” (14:28)

“The king’s favor is toward a servant who acts wisely, But his anger is toward him who acts shamefully.” (14:35)

“A divine decision is in the lips of the king; His mouth should not err in judgment.” (16:10)

“It is an abomination for kings to commit wicked acts, For a throne is established on righteousness.” (16:12)

“Righteous lips are the delight of kings, And he who speaks right is loved.” (16:13)

“The fury of a king is like messengers of death, But a wise man will appease it.” (16:14)

“In the light of a king’s face is life, And his favor is like a cloud with the spring rain.” (16:15)

“The king’s wrath is like the roaring of a lion, But his favor is like dew on the grass.” (19:12)

“The terror of a king is like the growling of a lion; He who provokes him to anger forfeits his own life.” (20:2)

“A king who sits on the throne of justice Disperses all evil with his eyes.” (20:8)

“A wise king winnows the wicked, And drives the threshing wheel over them.” (20:26)

“Loyalty and truth preserve the king, And he upholds his throne by righteousness.” (20:28)

“The king’s heart is like channels of water in the hand of the Lord; He turns it wherever He wishes.” (21:1)

“He who loves purity of heart And whose speech is gracious, the king is his friend.” (22:11)

“Do you see a man skilled in his work? He will stand before kings; He will not stand before obscure men.” (22:29)

“My son, fear the Lord and the king; Do not associate with those who are given to change.” (24:21)

“It is the glory of God to conceal a matter, But the glory of kings is to search out a matter.” (25:2)

“As the heavens for height and the earth for depth, So the heart of kings is unsearchable.” (25:3)

“Take away the wicked before the king, And his throne will be established in righteousness.” (25:5)

“Do not claim honor in the presence of the king, And do not stand in the place of great men.” (25:6)

“The king gives stability to the land by justice, But a man who takes bribes overthrows it.” (29:4)

“If a king judges the poor with truth, His throne will be established forever.” (29:14)

“Under three things the earth quakes, And under four, it cannot bear up: Under a slave when he becomes king, And a fool when he is satisfied with food, Under an unloved woman when she gets a husband, And a maidservant when she supplants her mistress.” (30:21-23)

“The locusts have no king, Yet all of them go out in ranks.” (30:27)

“The lizard you may grasp with the hands, Yet it is in kings’ palaces.” (30:28)

“There are three things which are stately in their march, Even four which are stately when they walk: The lion which is mighty among beasts And does not retreat before any, The strutting rooster, the male goat also, And a king when his army is with him.” (30:29-31)

“Do not give your strength to women, Or your ways to that which destroys kings. It is not for kings, O Lemuel, It is not for kings to drink wine, Or for rulers to desire strong drink.” (31:3-4)

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Verses about the word Elder (Elder/presbyter/overseer/bishop/shepherd/pastor)

Presbuteros – “one who is older in the faith.”
Episkopos – “overseer.”
Poimēn – “shepherd.”

(Titus 1:4-9) “To Titus, my true child in a common faith: Grace and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Savior. For this reason I left you in Crete, that you would set in order what remains and appoint elders in every city as I directed you, namely, if any man is above reproach, the husband of one wife, having children who believe, not accused of dissipation or rebellion. For the overseer must be above reproach as God’s steward, not self-willed, not quick-tempered, not addicted to wine, not pugnacious, not fond of sordid gain, but hospitable, loving what is good, sensible, just, devout, self-controlled, holding fast the faithful word which is in accordance with the teaching, so that he will be able both to exhort in sound doctrine and to refute those who contradict.”

(1 Timothy 3:1-7) “It is a trustworthy statement: if any man aspires to the office of overseer, it is a fine work he desires to do. An overseer, then, must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, temperate, prudent, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not addicted to wine or pugnacious, but gentle, peaceable, free from the love of money. He must be one who manages his own household well, keeping his children under control with all dignity (but if a man does not know how to manage his own household, how will he take care of the church of God?), and not a new convert, so that he will not become conceited and fall into the condemnation incurred by the devil. And he must have a good reputation with those outside the church, so that he will not fall into reproach and the snare of the devil.”

(Acts 20:17, 28-31) From Miletus he sent to Ephesus and called to him the elders of the church. And when they had come to him, he said to them… Be on guard for yourselves and for all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased
with His own blood. I know that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; and from among your own selves men will arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after them. Therefore be on the alert, remembering that night and day for a period of three years I did not cease to admonish each one with tears.”

(Acts 14:23) “When they had appointed elders for them in every church, having prayed with fasting, they commended them to the Lord in whom they had believed.”

(1 Peter 5:1-5) Therefore, I exhort the elders among you, as your fellow elder and witness of the sufferings of Christ, and a partaker also of the glory that is to be revealed, shepherd the flock of God among you, exercising oversight not under compulsion, but voluntarily, according to the will of God; and not for sordid gain, but with eagerness; nor yet as lording it over those allotted to your charge, but proving to be examples to the flock. And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory. You younger men, likewise, be subject to your elders; and all of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, for God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble.

(Ephesians 4:11-13) And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ; until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ.

(James 5:14) “Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord.”

(Acts 11:28-30) “One of them named Agabus stood up and began to indicate by the Spirit that there would certainly be a great famine all over the world. And this took place in the reign of Claudius. And in the proportion that any of the disciples had means, each of them determined to send a contribution for the relief of the brethren living in Judea. And this they did, sending it in charge of Barnabas and Saul to the elders.”

(Hebrews 13:17) Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with groaning, for that would be of no advantage to you.

(Acts 15:1-2, 4, 6) But some men came down from Judea and were teaching the brothers, “Unless you are circumcised according to the custom of Moses, you cannot be saved.” And after Paul and Barnabas had no small dissension and debate with them, Paul and Barnabas and some of the others were appointed to go up to Jerusalem to the apostles and the elders about this question… When they came to Jerusalem, they were welcomed by the church and the apostles and the elders, and they declared all that God had done with them… The apostles and the elders were gathered together to consider this matter.

(Acts 16:4) As they went on their way through the cities, they delivered to them for observance the decisions that had been reached by the apostles and elders who were in Jerusalem.

(Acts 21:18) On the following day Paul went in with us to James, and all the elders were present.

(1 Timothy 4:14) Do not neglect the gift you have, which was given you by prophecy when the council of elders laid their hands on you.

(1 Peter 2:25) For you were straying like sheep, but have now returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.

(Philippians 1:1) Paul and Timothy, servants of Christ Jesus, To all the saints in Christ Jesus who are at Philippi, with the overseers and deacons.

(Mark 10:35-43) “James and John, the two sons of Zebedee, came up to Jesus, saying, ‘Teacher, we want You to do for us whatever we ask of You.’ And He said to them, ‘What do you want Me to do for you?’ They said to Him, ‘Grant that we may sit, one on Your right and one on Your left, in Your glory.’ But Jesus said to them, ‘You do not know what you are asking. Are you able to drink the cup that I drink, or to be baptized with the baptism with which I am baptized?’ They said to Him, ‘We are able.’ And Jesus said to them, ‘The cup that I drink you shall drink; and you shall be baptized with the baptism with which I am baptized. But to sit on My right or on My left, this is not Mine to give; but it is for those for whom it has been prepared.’ Hearing this, the ten began to feel indignant with James and John. Calling them to Himself, Jesus said to them, ‘You know that those who are recognized as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them; and their great men exercise authority over them. But it is not this way among you, but whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant; and whoever wishes to be first among you shall be slave of all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.’”

(Psalm 78:70-72) “He also chose David His servant And took him from the sheepfolds; From the care of the ewes with suckling lambs He brought him To shepherd Jacob His people, And Israel His inheritance. So he shepherded them according to the integrity of his heart, And guided them with his skillful hands.”

The Role of Women in Corporate Worship and Church Leadership

A controversial topic in many churches today is the presence of female pastors, preachers, and deacons, and female leadership in corporate worship.

As is typical of contemporary doctrinal discussions, this topic is raised largely as the result of recent cultural changes, though its implications go back to the very natures of God and of man. The topic is therefore an extremely important one, and even more so when we consider that the way we interpret the Bible on this topic sets a precedent for future hermeneutics.

It is my position that only men are authorized by the scriptures to serve in leadership positions in the lord’s church, including leadership during corporate worship, and that a hermeneutic that reaches any other conclusion is dangerous and flawed.

Galatians 3:28 is referenced repeatedly and proudly among those arguing that women should have the right to lead prayers, singing, and deliver sermons to our congregations. The verse states “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus” (NASB). This verse is understood by some to mean that distinctions and roles based on gender are no longer binding on those who are in Christ.

But if this verse means that wives are not longer under the authority of their husbands as dictated in Gen. 3:16, why do we find Paul in Eph. 6:22 exhorting: “Wives, be subject to your own husbands, as to the Lord” and in verse 24: “But as the church is subject to Christ, so also the wives ought to be to their husbands in everything.” It is impossible to suggest that Gal. 3:28 abolishes divinely decreed gender roles without implying that the scriptures, and even the writings of Paul himself, are contradictory, thus undermining the inerrancy of scripture.

Those who would welcome female church leadership also make much of Rom. 16:1 in which Paul uses the Greek word “diakonon” in reference to Phoebe. This verse is cited as proof that woman “deaconesses” are endorsed in scripture to hold public offices in the church. To derive this teaching from Rom 16:1 is irresponsible because the noun diakonos is used frequently throughout scripture to refer to anyone who is a servant in a general sense. In Mark 10:43 Jesus tells his apostles that “whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your diakonos.” Was Christ teaching that if a man wants to become great, he must hold the office of deacon in the Lord’s church? It is obvious from the context that in this instance and in many others in scripture, the term diakonos is being used simply to denote one who serves in any capacity.

In the same passage Prisca and her husband Aquila are greeted by Paul as his “fellow workers,” once again indicating that women can and do serve in various capacities in the Lord’s church, but giving no indication whatsoever that they may lead corporate worship or hold public church office.

A careful reading of 1 Timothy 2 gives us a clear answer to this discussion. In verse 8, Paul requests for “men in every place to pray.” The noun used here is not the general term “anthropos,” which may refer to mankind generically rather than males specifically. Rather the term “andros” is used, which refers distinctively to a male human being or a man. This verse is followed by a series of verses on the conduct of women. Verses 11-12 state clearly: “A woman must quietly receive instruction with entire submissiveness. But I do not allow a woman to teach or exercise authority over a man, but to remain quiet.”

I want to clearly establish two foundational truths about this declaration: one, that he is speaking in regards to how we conduct ourselves when gathered together as the Lord’s body, and two, that the following verses make it perfectly clear that Paul’s declaration results from timeless theological reasons as opposed to temporary cultural views.

From the context of this passage we can clearly see that Paul is speaking in regards to the worship and activity of the church. He goes on in chapter 3 to give the qualifications for elders and deacons (both of which are obviously male specific in their terminology,) and the explanation in verse 15 that “I write so that you will know how one ought to conduct himself in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and support of the truth.” This context makes it clear that Paul’s orders for women to receive instruction with submissiveness, and not to teach or exercise authority over a man, but to remain quiet, apply specifically in the church and its activities.

Many will claim that while Paul may have been prohibiting women from leading prayers or preaching in the first century, he was doing so for cultural reasons that are no longer applicable today. The context of the passage is exceptionally helpful in disproving that notion. Paul gives very specific reasons for his prohibitions in verses 13-15: “For it was Adam who was first created, and then Eve. And it was not Adam who was deceived, but the woman being deceived, fell into transgression.  But women will be preserved through the bearing of children if they continue in faith and love and sanctity with self-restraint.”

Paul makes it clear that these roles he is describing are the results of God’s arrangement in Gen. 3:16 that a man should have authority over a woman, an arrangement that he apparently believes is still in effect at the time he is writing. This shows us that Paul did not believe that Christ’s death abolished gender roles, and that these roles are the theological, rather than cultural reasons for his stance. This view is clearly supported by the verses from Eph. 6 mentioned earlier, as they attribute the theological importance of modeling Christ and his church to the roles of men and women in marriage. It is impossible to properly understand Paul’s teaching and to claim that it is culturally motivated.

A hermeneutic that encounters any passage that is culturally unpopular as though it were outdated and can safely be revised is dangerous indeed. Various teachings of God’s word have been unpopular throughout history, but the theological truths that undergird those teachings cannot be revised without revising our very understandings of God and man, and to do so is simply to contradict scripture.

As a final word to those who are deeply offended by the idea of the prohibition of females from corporate church leadership, it should be stated that a view of a church in which only a few activities such as “leading songs, preaching, and being a pastor” are considered meaningful jobs to do is a sad view of the church indeed. There is SO much for women to do in the church, as hundreds of thousands of them demonstrate every week.

Love Poems to God

King David of Israel is seen as a hero of faith by many Jews and Christians. What he achieved in his lifetime is impressive, and Acts 13:22 records that God Himself called David “a man after My own heart.” But David probably seemed a little odd to some of the people around him.

On one hand, David was as tough as you could imagine. He commanded large groups of fighting men with effective leadership. His valiant successes in battle led the young ladies to brag that “Saul has slain his thousands, and David his ten thousands.”

On the other hand, David’s psalms reveal that he could be very emotional, very submissive, very meek, and humble. He made no secret that he wept bitterly many nights. He made no secret that his refuge was in God and not in his own strength. And he certainly made no secret that he loved God’s word with all of his heart.

It is a rare occurrence to find such an individual: extremely successful by worldly standards, yet totally submitted to God.

There is also the fact that David was “ruddy, with beautiful eyes and a handsome appearance” according to 1 Samuel 16. He had a good reputation. He was a talented poet and musician. He prospered in whatever he did. There was surely no shortage of eligible bachelorettes for David to give his heart and soul to.

And yet, it was to God and His word that David wrote his love poems. It was God, more than anything or anyone else that he panted for as a dear pants for water. It was God who he stayed awake thinking about and talking to in the watches of the night.

David truly loved God. Not as a last resort when wealth, fame, success, sex, and romance had failed him. Rather, even in the midst of those things God remained his focus and his aim.

This kind of behavior makes the world ask “why?!” Why does someone who has such attractive alternatives still give their heart to God? The obvious answer is because God is in fact more attractive than any possible alternative. “Your loving-kindness is better than life.” David says in Psalm 63.

And when we live like David, whether that means being satisfied with God in the absence of all else, or being focused on Him in the midst of all else, we demonstrate to the world in an “incredible” but noticeably genuine fashion that God really is sweeter than all else.