The King’s Wrath or Favor
1. This is by God’s design. They were to represent God’s authority on earth… and establish a sense of righteousness in the land… to punish evildoers and praise those who do well.
2. BUT kings are also human beings… fallen human beings.
3. Ecc. 8:4 – Ancients had absolute, unrestrained authority. Virtually nothing was beyond their power.
4. Prov. 16:14a – His wrath meant death.
a. The king of Babylon became angry and sent out a decree to kill all the wise men in the land.
b. He was angry again and threw Daniel’s friends in the furnace.
c. Dan. 6:24 – Then again, the king took all the presidents who opposed Daniel, and cast them and their families in the den of lions. He consulted no one.
d. King Herod was angry that the wise men tricked him so he had all the children under two killed!
5. Prov. 16:15a – His favor meant life. Life and death were in his hands.
6. Kings could give a verbal command and had the authority to begin a war… execute a man… pardon a man… (asPharaoh did with the butler and baker). A king could make a decree—without consulting anyone.
7. To use American terms, the king was the executive, legislative, and judicial branch of government all rolled up in one person.
8. We do not live in a monarchy, but that doesn’t mean this proverb has no application for us in America today.
a. We don’t have a king, but we DO have men in authority over us—by God’s design.
b. Thankfully, they do not have absolute power… but they DO have lots of power.
c. What they say and legislate can affect us as citizens and as Christians for years to come.
d. Solomon gives a word to the wise here… concerning what our attitude should be towards those in positions of power.
1. There are a lot of examples of kings in the Bible.
a. Some godly; (David) some ungodly (Saul).
b. Some kind and benevolent; (Hezekiah) some cruel tyrants. (Ahaz).
c. Some were considerate of the people; some considerate only of themselves.
2. Sometimes kings were good and sometimes not so good.
a. Sometimes government officials are wise; sometimes foolish.
b. Sometimes they make laws that are helpful and wise; sometimes they pass laws that are detrimental.
c. But as citizens, we are to submit to authorities… realizing that they have real power… power from God.
d. Whether they are wise or foolish… good or evil, Solomon warns us here not to get them riled up and angry at you. It’s not worth it.
1. Sometimes they are as angry as a roaring lion.
a. Angry, roaring lions are dangerous. Don’t mess with them. Stay out of their way. They could tear you to pieces.
b. That’s the point here. An angry king is like that roaring lion. He too could tear you to pieces.
c. Prov. 20:2 – Because he is like a roaring lion, it is exceptionally foolish to provoke him to wrath.
d. Prov. 28:15 – This was a common picture of cruel kings: they roar. And notice that they are especially cruel to the poor and needy in the land. They are easily trampled over.
e. We have a modern proverb that says something similar: Don’t grab a tiger by the tail.
• Don’t do anything foolish that would stir up someone in a position of power and strength to wrath.
• They will turn on you… and you are no match for them!
• When you come across a tiger—be very careful not to get him riled up.
• Be careful around wicked men in positions of power. They too can cause you much harm.
2. Sometimes they are like the dew on the grass:
a. Dew on the grass is a picture of refreshment… joy… nourishment…
b. The vegetation in that land was dependent upon the dew of the grass each morning.
c. A king can be like dew in that he has the power to bestow favor on a man, a city, or a nation…
d. Prov. 16:15 – When the king’s countenance shines upon you—it can mean life… blessing… abundance… like the refreshment that comes from the latter rains… or from the morning dew.
e. Like it or not, people were dependent upon the king’s favor. Hence what folly to irritate the king or to provoke him to anger. What a delight to stand in his favor.
3. Hence, there is a good warning in this.
a. The same fickle king whose countenance is shining on you on Monday might be a devouring lion on Wednesday!
b. Realize that kings and those in positions of power can be fickle… they can change…
Application: It Makes Sense to Be on Their Good Side
1. Kings are not like your average person.
a. Frowns are always uncomfortable… If the average citizen gets angry at you, it is uncomfortable, but he is limited in what he can do to you.
• But the frown of a king can be much worse than uncomfortable. It can be deadly.
b. Smiles are always pleasant and welcome. It’s nice to have others who smile at us… and to be in good favor with our friends.
• But the smile of a king is far more valuable. It can mean life… prosperity… blessing…
2. We have another American proverb that comes close to the meaning of this proverb: You can’t fight city hall.
a. The government is bigger and more powerful than the average Joe.
b. Getting government officials angry at you won’t help either. It can only hurt.
c. The last thing you want is to have the government against you… angry at you.
d. As a church, we should take a lesson from this proverb. We want to do whatever those in positions of authority tell us to do…
• We don’t want to anger them by questioning their authority…
• We don’t want to anger them by violating their laws or town ordinances…
• I Peter 2:13-14 – The church is not above the law… we are to SUBMIT to the laws of the land… and not to get them angry at us.
• Why? For the Lord’s sake…
• And also for some very practical reasons… they can make life miserable for us.
e. The point of the proverb: since those in authority have such power—don’t do anything to provoke them. Stay on their good side. Even if their decrees are not always brilliant… you might just as well submit to them and do what they say to keep them happy.
3. Prov. 16:14c – a wise man will PACIFY the wrath of a king.
a. Solomon’s advice: Don’t give them any cause to get angry at you!
b. They may not be fair; they may not be just; they may not be reasonable; they may not be honest; they may not be wise; but they DO have authority…
c. Solomon’s inspired advice is: learn to live with them. Don’t buck their authority… pacify them.
4. This is good advice not just for subjects under their king
a. But also for workers under their boss…
b. Students and their teachers…
c. Drivers and the policeman…
d. It is always a good idea to try to pacify the wrath of those in power. Sometimes their power goes to their head…
5. If it makes such good sense to stay on the good side of an earthly king because of the power he wields, how much MORE should we stay on the good side of the King of Kings and submit to Him… and not to get Him angry!
a. We KNOW what makes Him angry. (Sin; self; pride; etc.) Therefore, avoid that which angers the King of Kings and seek His favor. It only makes sense.
b. We should actively seek His favor… seek to have His countenance shine upon us…