Leaders should be honest and fair. They should promote justice for all the people they lead. Why? Because God is just. The very concepts of honesty and fairness were created by God (Proverbs 16:11). Therefore, God desires for those who rule and lead on earth to imitate Him. Those in authority rule on God’s behalf as His stewards. They are to speak His commands and words to those they govern (v. 10a). Their words should not violate truth and justice (v. 10b). Leaders should not sin but do right (v. 12) and love those who follow them in godly living (v. 13). What about those who are not in charge but must follow those who lead? Well, they should recognize that not all leaders live up the the standards of justice that God desires. Therefore, they should act wisely and humbly and do their best not to offend and anger those in authority over them, knowing that they might suffer the “king’s wrath” if they their leaders disrespect or disobedience (v. 14). To have the blessing and favor of those above you is to enjoy peace and prosperity (v. 15).
For us today, we no longer live under the rule of kings. But we still have government leaders and we all have bosses in daily life, so the principles of this passage from Proverbs definitely still apply to us now. Whenever you get to be the leader in class or in a club or on a team or even among your friends, work hard to be honest, fair, and just. Treat those you lead with respect and kindness and do your best to honor God with your words and decisions. And in your roles as followers, obey and show respect to those whom God has placed in authority over you: your parents, your teachers, your coaches, and any other adults who are given leadership over you. You will enjoy God’s pleasure because submitting to authority is His will. Remember Romans 13:1-5, the passage Mr. Reel uses to teach about the “Reel Rules” for his classroom? Rule 5 was the most important of all – “Always obey the teacher.” I bet those of you who did that in all of your classes had a better year than those who didn’t (ahem, pink slips, ahem…). Whether you did or didn’t have a good year with obeying authority or leading last year, determine now to make this year a good year by obeying, respecting, being kind and honest and fair, and seeing how God honors your righteous behavior.
The Text (Proverbs 16:10-15)
10 Divination is on the lips of the king; His mouth must not transgress in judgment.
11 Honest weights and scales are the Lord’s; All the weights in the bag are His work.
12 It is an abomination for kings to commit wickedness, For a throne is established by righteousness.
13 Righteous lips are the delight of kings, And they love him who speaks what is right.
14 As messengers of death is the king’s wrath, But a wise man will appease it.
15 In the light of the king’s face is life, And his favor is like a cloud of the latter rain.
Questions to Think About
- Who have been some godly leaders in your life, people who modeled honesty, fairness, and justice for those under their authority?
- Will you have any opportunities to be a leader this year? Explain.
- Did you do a good job of obeying and respecting your teachers last year? How did your behavior affect the way those teachers treated you?