Proverbs 14:28

A Multitude or Lack of People

28a In the multitude of people is the king’s honor:

1. The multitude of people.

a. If a nation grows to a great multitude, there is often good leadership linked to it.

b. If the population dwindles, it is often due to people moving away (because they don’t like poor leadership).

c. But when people stay, are happy with the nation, and it grows, it is to the king’s honor.

2. It is also true that normally, the multitude of people over which a king reigns is related to the KIND of reign he establishes…

a. Is his reign and leadership the kind people will want to follow… or the kind people will flee from if they get a chance?

b. Prov. 14:34 – righteousness exalts a nation. People will want to stay in that kind of a land. It is to the king’s honor to promote righteousness in the land.

c. Prov. 16:12- when the king promotes righteousness in the land, his own throne is also established! People want to live in such a land.

d. Prov. 29:4 – the king by judgment (justice) establishes the land.

e. Prov. 29:14 – the king who takes care of the poor will find that his land will remain… be strong…

f. Prov. 20:28 – his throne is upheld by mercy.

g. Prov. 24:22-26 – a wise, fair, just king will be beloved of his people.

h. People will be willing to STAY… to fight for… and to work for a country that is well managed… governed by justice and honesty. When that is the case, the population would normally increase. (no civil war; no flight out; etc.)

3. Solomon notes that the king’s honor (or political leader’s honor) is linked to the fortunes of his country.

a. If the country grows to a great multitude, the king is honored and gets credit.
• We have all heard of the names of the leaders of large, prosperous countries. We know the Prime Minister of Great Britain… Russia… France… Japan…
• But who knows the name of the Prime Minister of Albania?
• A king gets honor from the size and prosperity of his kingdom.

b. If the country’s economy does well during his reign, the king is honored… gets the credit for it.

c. The king’s interests and the interests of his people are ONE… or they ought to be one. Their interests ought to be linked because their honor is linked.

d. Psalm 72: (a psalm attributed to Solomon—writing of himself and Messiah)
• vs. 1-6 – the wise reign of the king
• vs. 7 – the righteous shall FLOURISH in his days
• vs. 8 – his DOMINION or kingdom will expand
• vs. 11 – he shall have victory over enemies and they will serve him…
• vs. 13-14 he spares the poor and needy… and he values his subjects
• vs. 16c – they shall FLOURISH like the grass… into a multitude
• vs. 17 – his NAME shall endure… to the honor of that king!

4. A wise leader will therefore be CONCERNED for the welfare of his people…

a. Foolish decisions will drive them away. Wise decisions will keep them there…

b. A wise leader will take care of his people. He will promote their increase, security, prosperity, and general well being.

c. If the king is only out for his own welfare, personal exaltation and personal prosperity… and cares not for the people… his kingdom will dwindle.

d. The kings in the Old Testament were referred to as “shepherds.” Good shepherds cared for the sheep… and a well cared for flock would normally prosper and do well… and increase.

e. A wise king will realize this and take good care of his people.

f. This can also be applied to the local church… a wise leader will care for the people… (Not giving them whatever they want… but feeding them food that is truly good for them!)
• Sheep that are well fed and cared for will want to stay in the flock…
• The honor of the shepherd is directly linked to welfare and honor of the sheep. IF the sheep aren’t being fed and protected, they will not respect the shepherd.
• As the king’s honor lay in the multitude of people, so too Paul’s joy lay in the people he led to the Lord! (I Thess. 2:19-20)

g. A wise king will take good care of his people, because he is NOTHING with out them!
• A king with no kingdom is worthless.
• A leader with no one following is not really a leader.
• Since the king’s honor is linked to his people—he would be wise to take GOOD care of them.

h. This can be applied to the home.
• A wise father will care for his family… providing them with that which is spiritually best for them…
• A family that prospers spiritually is to the credit of the one in charge: dad!
• Happy is the man who has his quiver full! In ancient times the more kids the better… the father who ran a farm would do well if he had 15 sons! (I’m not sure I would recommend 15 kids today…)
• Children who are loved and well cared for normally respect their father… there are some rebellious, selfish, exceptions… but sensible children will respect their dad. When the flock is cared for… the leader is respected for it.

5. Titles can be empty and thus worthless.

a. King with no kingdom; CEO with no company; Teacher with no students.

b. If the title carries no weight or authority, it is worthless.

c. A warning against worldly vanity and pomp (seeking a worthless title!)
• Don’t present yourself in a false air of grandeur by a meaningless title.
• Saddam Hussein was captured and introduced himself as the President of Iraq… even though his country had been invaded and defeated and he had absolutely no authority in the land.
• He insisted on his title… as they dragged him out of a hole in the ground… dirty and disheveled…
• In that condition, insisting on his title was almost laughable… or perhaps pitiable…
• There is no honor to a title if there is nothing behind that title. It is just a vain show. –

28b In the want of people is the destruction of the prince.

1. Want: cessation; diminishing.

a.) Here Solomon speaks about a kingdom where the population dwindles… diminishes…

2. There are lots of different reasons the population could dwindle…

a. demographics flow… people moving to a warmer climate… jobs;

b. people migrating to a land more fertile…

c. people moving away from a drought ridden area to a more lush area with more rainfall…

d. natural disasters… plagues; volcanoes; earthquakes…

e. It could also include foolish decisions by the king—excessive taxation… entering into unnecessary wars…

3. The destruction of the prince.

a. Destruction = ruin; downfall.

b. When the population or the economy dwindles, it could mean the ruin of the political leader.

c. His revenues dwindle; his army dwindles; his strength as a national entity dwindles; his prestige among the nations dwindles;

d. The king’s honor is linked to the welfare, prosperity, and population of the nation.

e. If the population dwindles, the ruler is blamed… it happened on his watch… and it is considered HIS ruin.

f. If the economy goes south, the ruler is blamed for it. It is his ruin.

g. Proverbs 28:2 – (transgression in the land = rebellion… hence trouble…) trouble and turmoil in a nation usually results in turnover of leadership. When things are not going well, the people take it out on the leader… at the polls…

4. This is so, even if the king had nothing to do with it! (good or bad)

a. The population could dwindle because of a plague—that has nothing to do with the king… his wisdom… his ability to rule and reign effectively…

b. The economy could take a nose dive during the reign of the wisest of kings or presidents… and it may have to do with world economy… floods… droughts… natural disasters… but the ruler is LINKED to what occurs on his watch… and gets either the credit or the blame.

5. Of course sometimes it IS the leader’s fault.

a. Consider Solomon’s son, whose foolish decision divided the nation and resulted in his kingdom being reduced to 1/6 of what it was before. (I Kings 12:13, 16-17)

b. This was NOT to his honor… but to his shame.

c. He should have listened to the older men’s words of wisdom… but he did not.

6. The overall point of the proverb: SINCE a king’s honor is linked to the population and their prosperity and security… a king would be wise to TAKE CARE of his people!

a. The same is true of a father in a family… a teacher in a class… the president of the US… the mayor of a city… and elders in the local church…

b. The king who chooses to advance, and honor himself will find the people turn away from him.

c. The king who chooses to advance and honor the people will discover his own honor linked to theirs.

d. While none of us here are kings, we can certainly apply this principle to whatever realm we do have authority over (parent; office manager; factory foreman; teacher; church officer; girl scout leader) — the honor of the leader is linked to the well being of those he leads.

Apply this to the King of Kings

1. In the multitude of the people is the king’s honor.

2. Think of the honor that shall belong to the Lord when great multitudes of every nation stand before Him to worship and honor Him! (Rev. 7:9-10)

3. Consider the songs of praise around His throne—both men and angels! (Rev. 5:9-14)

4. This will all be to God’s honor and glory… a multitude saved by the Good Shepherd… and led safely home!