Proverbs of the King
Wise instruction on how to nurture the throne of David.

The reigns of King David and King Solomon were the golden age of Israel’s monarchy. Read Psalm 72, which David wrote for Solomon—a psalm written by a king for a king. You can see real vision and spiritual majesty in his thinking.

There is spiritual vision in the concept of a king: God uses physical kingship to teach us about Christ’s future as King of kings! David saw God as his King (e.g. Psalm 24:7-10). All through the Psalms, he calls God “my King”! “God is King forever and ever!” “God is King of all the Earth!”

God worked with David to establish his monarchy, to nurture the throne of God. David had to set royal protocols: how people should address the king; how the royal court should operate. With God’s inspiration, David built an entire culture to reflect the godly origins of the throne.

By the end of David’s life, the kingly culture was well established. For example, 1 Kings 1:28-31 illustrate the concept of “royal presence,” and how David’s own wife addressed him. Solomon enhanced this remarkable culture. In 1 Kings 10, the queen of Sheba was deeply impressed by the whole organization surrounding the king, his subjects and royal retinue!

Spiritually, we are in a royal court even more real than the one the queen of Sheba experienced! We are courtly ministers surrounding the king’s throne, attending to royal duties. God wants us to elevate what we do—our grooming, our dress, our speech, our manners, our conduct—to more closely match the culture of His royal throne room. We must capture the spirit of royal culture God established with David and Solomon.

Most of us have never lived under a monarch. Even those in Britain are not governed by the monarchy; the royal family is mostly ceremonial. Those of us from America live in a country formed in rebellion against an unjust king! Yet God has given us the responsibility to nurture David’s throne. How can we do that?

God preserved some of Solomon’s excellent wisdom in the book of Proverbs. Many proverbs describe how to relate to a king. These become more practical and exciting when viewed in light of the revelation in this Royal Vision issue. (Of course, these proverbs must be applied in the context of other scriptures about God’s government: We should not trust in a man; we should follow a man only as he follows Christ; we should obey God rather than man, etc.)

The King’s Glory

“In a multitude of people is the glory of a king, but without people a prince is ruined” (Proverbs 14:28; Revised Standard Version). God’s man cannot do his job without support. The strength of the Church depends on the strength of our king, and also on the strength of the subjects. It is the glory of a king to lead a thriving, vibrant kingdom!

Proverbs 30:29-31 describe the majesty of “a king striding before his people” (rsv)—or “a king at the head of his troops!” (Ferrar Fenton). Would the queen of Sheba have been so impressed had she only met King Solomon alone? We all have our part to play in contributing to the grandeur of the whole picture.

“A divine sentence [rsv: ‘inspired decisions’] is in the lips of the king: his mouth transgresseth not in judgment” (Proverbs 16:10). Lange’s Commentary explains, “As representative of [God], the supreme ruler and judge, a king, and especially the theocratic king of Israel, speaks words of divine validity and dignity, which give an absolutely certain decision, particularly in contested judicial questions.”

We must see God behind the king! God tells us to serve even our employers as we would Christ Himself (Ephesians 6:5; Colossians 3:22-24; Titus 2:9-10). But a king is even more directly a type of Christ the King! And David’s throne uniquely represents God—it is, in fact, His throne. The way we relate to it prepares us to properly relate to Christ—and to teach all men to relate to Him in the future. This proverb will only literally be true at that time, yet we develop the right mindset by responding well to the king’s judgments today.

Proverbs 16:12-13 show how you and your behavior impact the kingdom and the king himself. Many commentaries say verse 12 is talking about the subjects committing wickedness. It is an abomination to a king when we do evil, but he is delighted when his subjects are righteous. Righteous subjects help establish the throne. You can read an example of this in 3 John 4: God’s ministers truly receive joy when members walk in the truth and serve the Work.

Proverbs 16:13 also implies that a righteous king dislikes flatterers: “Honest lips should be pleasing to kings, who should love the straight-out speaker” (Fenton). We need to speak the truth even when it’s not the best news, rather than trying to hide things the king needs to know about.

Seek the King’s Favor

“In the light of the king’s [friendly] countenance is life; and his favour is as a cloud of the [refreshing] latter rain” (Proverbs 16:15).
Just as Christ always did what pleased His Father (John 8:29), so should we seek Christ’s favor, and that of His king.

“The king’s favour is toward a wise servant: but his wrath is against him that causeth shame” (Proverbs 14:35). In the royal court, we are judged by our actions. Behave wisely, and you will be honored. Bring shame on the king and on the kingdom, and you will earn the king’s wrath! God and His king in His government are merciful, but we must have a healthy respect for the authority of the man in charge.

“The king’s wrath is as the roaring of a lion; but his favour is as dew upon the grass” (Proverbs 19:12). Biblical and secular history hold many examples of tyrannical kings. King Nebuchadnezzar commanded people to bow down to an idol or face incineration! (Daniel 3:1-6). Yet when Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego disobeyed and were miraculously saved from the furnace, he immediately changed his decree: Say one word against the God of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego and I’ll cut you in pieces and make your house a dunghill! (verse 29). His wrath was as a roaring lion!

Many people in history have lived under such carnal kings. Though they suffered, they will likely have an easier time obeying the King of kings than those who have grown up openly cursing their presidents and prime ministers, and voting them in and out of office as they please.

A godly king is not a tyrant, but he does have authority. Heed the wisdom in Ecclesiastes 8:2-5: “I counsel thee to keep the king’s commandment …. Where the word of a king is, there is power ….”
You probably strive to keep God’s commandments, but what about the king’s commandment? “Whoever keeps a command will know no evil thing, and the wise heart will know the proper time and the just way” (verse 5; English Standard Version). Conducting yourself properly and justly around a king requires wisdom.

The Apostle Peter puts this in context: “Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake: whether it be to the king, as supreme; Or unto governors, as unto them that are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers, and for the praise of them that do well. For so is the will of God … As free, and not using your liberty for a cloke of maliciousness, but as the servants of God” (1 Peter 2:13-16). Live as free, but as God’s servant! Your real King and Master is God!

Right Fear

“Honour all men. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honour the king” (1 Peter 2:17). How you treat the king is connected to properly respecting God.

“Servants, be subject to your masters with all fear; not only to the good and gentle, but also to the froward” (verse 18). “Be subject” means come under authority—put yourself under, submit yourself. A citizen of a kingdom is called a subject, literally “a person owing obedience.” Peter says we must be subject even to crooked, unfair and wicked rulers—and not with begrudging subjection. Peter says, obey with fear.

David served King Saul even when Saul sought to kill him! He ran for his life for 13 years, but remained loyal. “God was teaching David the supreme lesson of government,” Gerald Flurry writes in The Former Prophets: How to Become a King.

What Peter wrote came straight from the wisdom of Solomon: “My son, fear thou the Lord and the king …” (Proverbs 24:21). In spiritual Israel, we need that proper fear not only of the leaders within the Church, but also within our families and on our jobs (Leviticus 19:3; Ephesians 6:5).

The end of Proverbs 24:21 warns against meddling or mingling with people who lack such fear! A person who doesn’t fear God or the king is going to go off track spiritually. Stay away from him, because God’s judgment can come suddenly! (verse 22).

“The wrath of a king is as messengers of death: but a wise man will pacify it” (Proverbs 16:14). Lange’s says: “When the king is enraged, manifold means and instruments stand at his command for the immediate destruction of the object of his wrath.” Thank God that in His Church, we enjoy justice and freedom under a righteous, merciful king. Though we may not see many demonstrations of kingly wrath, it is a mistake to lose proper respect for him. A “wise man” will recognize this truth. If you don’t, you will only hurt yourself (Proverbs 20:2).

Study how Abraham approached God with proper fear in Genesis 18: “Behold now, I have taken upon me to speak unto the Lord, which am but dust and ashes … Oh let not the Lord be angry, and I will speak …” (verses 27-32). The fact is, God gives the king authority for a reason. Romans 13 shows how worldly authorities are a terror to evildoers, but if you keep the law, you will be fine.

“A king that sitteth in the throne of judgment scattereth away all evil with his eyes” (Proverbs 20:8).
The king is there to protect the people. Of Proverbs 16:12, Lange’s says, “Kings are not only not to do evil—or to let it be done by others with impunity—they are to hate and abhor it with all energy.” This is a king’s responsibility: He is to punish evil. He must diligently preserve the righteousness of his kingdom!

“A wise king scattereth the wicked, and bringeth the wheel over them” (Proverbs 20:26).
Thank God we have a king who is vigilant to keep Satan out of the Church! That is a blessing to all of us. You only have to fear it if you are doing wrong. When a king removes the wickedness, he purifies his kingdom! (Proverbs 25:4-5).

Nurture the Throne!

“Seest thou a man diligent in his business? he shall stand before kings; he shall not stand before mean men” (Proverbs 22:29). We in God’s Church are standing before a king! That gives us great responsibility.

It is also a marvelous honor! Let’s do all we can to nurture the throne of David!