"BE WISE, O KINGS"
By Wayne S. Walker
"Now therefore, be wise, O kings; be instructed, you judges of the earth. Serve the LORD with fear, and rejoice with trembling" (Psalm 2:10-11). Psalm 2 begins with a statement about the kings and rulers of earth who set themselves against the Lord. The early Christians thought of this passage of scripture when they began to face persecution at the hands of their rulers (see Acts 4:23-26). We are told to "pray for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence" (1 Timothy 2:1-2). Thus, we often ask in our prayers that the rulers of this world will have the wisdom to make decisions that will be right and bring about peace.
From whence does wisdom come? "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom" (Proverbs 9:10). God has said that if we lack wisdom, we can ask of Him and He will give it to us (James 1:5). The truth is that no one is truly wise who does not acknowledge his dependence on the Lord. Of course, not all the rulers of this earth believe in God. Yet, even among those who do not, the fact is that the closer they hold to the principles of righteousness which God has given to mankind, the wiser they are and the better off their people are. "Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people" (Proverbs 14:34).
Of course, if we expect those in authority to act with wisdom, we as individuals need to act with wisdom as well. "Walk in wisdom toward those who are without, redeeming the time" (Colossians 4:5). Such wisdom demands that we show our respect to our rulers, even when we may disagree with them, by submitting to their lawful authority (1 Peter 2: 13-17). There may come a time when we must make a choice to "obey God rather than men" (Acts 5:29). However, the constantly rebellious rabble-rouser who is "not afraid to speak evil of dignitaries" (2 Peter 2:10) is not acting with wisdom and loses any influence for righteousness that he might have. Let us resolve to walk in wisdom that our example might encourage our leaders to exercise true wisdom from above as well.