Proverbs for Presidents

The Bible gave sound advice for Israel’s rulers. A king of Israel should have a written copy of God’s law at hand at all times. He must read it regularly. This is so that he will learn to serve the Lord, follow the Lord’s word, and remain humble, not considering himself better than his fellow Israelites (Deuteronomy 17:18-20).

America is not Israel, and we do not have a king or dictator. Our presidents are chosen by the people and are subject to the Constitution of the United States. But these wise words from scripture may apply to whomever is elected to be president for the next four years.

Many people have found it a good practice to read the book of Proverbs daily. It is well known that the book has thirty-one chapters. This makes it convenient to read the book through every month, a chapter a day. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we knew that the President of the United States sought God’s wisdom from the book of Proverbs as he governed?

The book declares that it is by God’s wisdom that rulers govern effectively and successfully (Proverbs 8:15-16; 29:18). Reading Proverbs can make the wise even wiser (1:5). Proverbs states that “the fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge” (1:7) and wisdom (9:10). What president doesn’t need these?

Here are some Proverbs that are relevant to the life and governance of a president.

Outcome of an election: “Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails” (19:21). “The lot is cast into the lap, but its every decision is from the Lord” ( 16:33).

Advice and counsel: “For lack of guidance a nation falls, but victory is won through many advisors” (11:14). “Where there is strife there is pride, but wisdom is found in those who take advice” (13:10). “Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisors they succeed” (15:22).

Character of the ruler: “The one who has knowledge uses words with restraint, and whoever has understanding is even-tempered” (17:27). “A lying tongue hates those it hurts” (26:28). “Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall” (16:18). “Kings detest wrongdoing, for a throne is established through righteousness” (16:12). “Humility comes before honor” (15:33).

Criminal justice: “It is not good to be partial to the wicked and so deprive the innocent of justice” (18:5). “A corrupt witness mocks at justice” (19;28). “The wicked accept bribes in secret to pervert the course of justice” ( 17;23). “The lips of a king speak as an oracle, and his mouth does not betray justice” (16:10).

Economic justice: “If a king judges the poor with fairness, his throne will be established forever” (29:14). “Whoever oppresses the poor shows contempt for their Maker, but whoever is kind to the needy honors God” (14:31). “Whoever shuts their ears to the cry of the poor will also cry out and not be answered” (21:13). “Rich and poor have this in common: The Lord is the Maker of them all” (22:2).

War and peace: “Plans are established by seeking advice; so if you wage war, obtain guidance” (20:18). “There is a way that appears to be right, but in the end it leads to death” (16:25). “It is to one’s honor to avoid strife, but every fool is quick to quarrel” (20:3). “Those who promote peace have joy” (12:20). “A hot-tempered person stirs up conflict, but the one who is patient calms a quarrel” (15:18).

Diplomacy and international relations: “To answer before listening — that is folly and shame” (18:13). “A wicked messenger falls into trouble, but a trustworthy envoy brings healing” (13:17). “When the Lord takes pleasure in anyone’s way, he causes their enemies to make peace with them” (16:7). “Enemies disguise themselves with their lips, but in their hearts they harbor deceit” (26:24). “Like cold water to a weary soul is good news from a distant land” (25:25).

Speaking the truth: “Kings take pleasure in honest lips; they value the one who speaks what is right” ( 16:13). “The righteous hate what is false” ( 13:5). “The Lord detests lying lips, but he delights in people who are trustworthy” (12:22). “…Sayings of counsel and knowledge, teaching you to be honest and to speak the truth” (22:20-21).

The ultimate Ruler: “In the Lord’s hand the king’s heart is a stream of water that he channels toward all who please him. A person may think their own ways are right, but the Lord weighs the heart” (21:1-2)).

A prayer for the president: Heavenly Father, you are the great Sovereign of heaven  and earth and we look forward to the day when your kingdom will come. Your son Jesus is King of kings and Lord of lords. In his name we pray for our president and for his family. Please protect and guide him. Give him the wisdom that he needs for the solemn responsibility of leading our nation.

May he trust in You with all his heart and not lean on his own understanding. May he submit to you in all his ways so that in your kindness and mercy you may make his paths straight (Proverbs 3:5-6).

May your will be done in the coming election. May your people pray for the president and for all who are in authority, whomever is chosen for the next term in office. We pray for a clear and decisive result and for an end to unrest, suspicion and division in our nation. Please forgive our many sins and heal our land that we may glorify you. Amen.

Pastor Randy Faulkner


No Regrets

William Borden was the son of a Chicago millionaire who dedicated his life to world missions. His biographer, Mary Taylor, wrote that he joyfully gave away hundreds of thousands of dollars from his inheritance to Christian ministries.

After graduating from Yale University and Princeton Theological Seminary, Borden went to Egypt to study the Arabic language and Islamic culture. His intention was to live among the Muslim Kansu people of northwest China to bring them the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Sadly, after only four months in Cairo, Borden contracted  cerebral meningitis and died at the age of twenty-five. The epitaph on his grave marker describes some of the sacrifices he made to  bring the message of Jesus Christ to Muslims. The inscription ends with the phrase: “Apart from faith in Christ, there is no explanation for such a life.”

One does not have to be wealthy to have a generous heart for God’s mission in the world. If we have the same concern as the Lord Jesus, we will share his desire that people may be brought out of spiritual darkness into God’s light. We can help accomplish this by giving money to support world missions.

The Bible promises rewards for giving. Paul told the Philippian believers, “Not that I am looking for a gift, but I am looking for what may be credited to your account” (Philippians 4:17). Apparently, God is keeping a record in heaven which takes into account our financial investments in his work here in this world.

I have a friend who has reached the stage in life where he could retire to a prosperous life, enjoying the American dream. He chooses to keep working, partly for the fulfillment it gives him, but mostly so that the wealth he is able to generate can be invested in world missions. His generous giving is funding important gospel work in Africa.

Don’t get me wrong. He and his wife are enjoying life. They have many interests. They live comfortably and well. But as he put it to me, their greatest source of satisfaction comes not from accumulating but in distributing the wealth God has entrusted to them. They are investing in eternity, or as Jesus put it, they are laying up treasures in heaven.

One way for you  to obey the commission of our Lord to spread the gospel around the world is to designate a portion of your planned giving to world missions. This can be through your local church’s missions program or directly to a mission agency. If you are unsure about how best to do this, consult with your pastor.

By all means pray about this. Pray about how much the Lord wants you to give. Pray about where the Lord wants your gifts to go. There are hundreds of worthy missionaries and projects that depend upon the faithful support of Christian people. If you ask him, God will guide you. Generous giving to support world missions is a normal way for Christians to express their faith in Jesus.

When Bill Borden said he was going to be a missionary, one of his friends expressed surprise that he was “throwing his life away.” In response Bill wrote two words in the back of his Bible: “No reserves.” Upon graduation from Yale he turned down high-paying job offers. He then added the words: “No retreats.” When he died, friends opened his Bible to find that he had added the words: “No regrets.”

When we see our Lord face to face, we will not regret our investments in spreading his good news around the world.

Pastor Randy Faulkner

Abraham’s God

Connie and I have been reading and discussing the saga of Abraham in the book of Genesis. We have been impressed by the man’s faith in the Living God. Responding to God’s call, he left his homeland and family and migrated to a new land which the Lord promised to give to him and his descendants.

One of the striking features of the story is his awareness of a personal God who spoke to him, guided him, corrected him when he was wrong, who blessed him materially, and who made an eternal covenant with him. We are told that Abraham believed in the Lord and the Lord “credited it to him as righteousness” (Genesis 15:6). He will do the same for us (Romans 4:23-24).

God revealed himself to Abraham as a living person. He has names by which he reveals himself. These names teach us about his nature and his purposes for Abraham and for us.

In Genesis 12 Abraham built altars of worship, “calling on the name of the Lord” (Genesis 12:8, 13:4). In the new land, among people who did not know the Lord, Abraham demonstrated his faith in Yahweh, who would later explain the meaning of this name as “I am who I am,” the eternally self-existent God, the one who is the only God (Exodus 3:15).

After a successful military rescue mission to save his nephew, Abraham worshipped the Lord as God Most High and Creator of heaven and earth (Genesis 14:19, 22). By these names and titles, Abraham testified that he was devoted to the supreme God who provided for all of his needs.

God identified himself to Abraham as God Almighty in Genesis 17:1. He intended to fulfill his promise to Abraham in spite of appearances to the contrary. Despite a long delay God Almighty would give Abraham a son through whom he would fulfill his covenant promise to bless all nations of the earth. The stress is on God’s power in the face of human helplessness.

Abraham’s prayer of intercession for the city of Sodom has much to teach us about approaching God. It was respectful and humble. Yet at the same time it was bold in expressing his desires. Abraham’s prayer in Genesis 18:25 was based on an understanding of God’s character, God’s authority and God’s willingness: “Will not the Judge of all the earth do right?” Abraham did not get what he asked for, but he trusted God to always do the right thing, even in judgment.

The name Eternal God is used in Genesis only in 21:33. Abraham invoked this name in worship, remembering that the God who made his unconditional covenant would keep his promises to him and to his descendants after him forever (Genesis 17:8-9).

Abraham’s God was, and is, the God of heaven (Genesis 24:7). He is also the God of earth. I think Abraham’s faith in this God is a beautiful and compelling example to us. He shows us that the transcendent God of heaven is not a remote abstraction beyond the stars, but he is also the God of earth who takes an active and personal interest in his people here.

As Connie and I have been reminded of Abraham’s faith, I have been praying for a greater faith in this living, personal God. Romans 4:20-22 says of Abraham: “Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, being fully persuaded that God had power to do what he had promised. This is why it was credited to him as righteousness.”

Pastor Randy Faulkner

Come to the Table

Billy Graham related the tender story of the Scottish theologian John Duncan of Edinburgh. As Communion was observed in the church on one occasion, the elements were passed to a teenage girl. Duncan saw her turn her head and motion for the elder to take the cup away — she couldn’t drink it. John Duncan reached over, touched her shoulder, and whispered, “Take it Lassie. It’s for sinners!”

To receive the Lord’s supper is to confess that God has made provision for our sins in the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. The ordinance of communion is a way for us to say “yes” to Jesus, “yes” to his sacrifice, “yes” to his forgiveness, and “yes” to our ongoing fellowship with him and with his church.

Jesus specified the concrete, visible symbols of bread and wine to picture his body and blood. These common physical elements are sanctified and become what Michael Horton called “visible signs of invisible grace.” We need God’s grace for salvation and we need it to continue to be faithful to him. Communion draws us close to him.

We are weak. Our love for Christ grows tepid. We face temptations. We are susceptible to doubt, fear, and spiritual depression. Inwardly we sometimes rebel against the will of God. Like Adam and Eve, we try to hide from him. When the Father sees us in that condition, he says, “Come to my table. Take it. It’s for sinners.” Communion restores our souls.

Communion strengthens our fellowship with Christ and with his church. An old liturgy has these words, “For out of many grains one meal is ground and one bread baked, and out of many berries, pressed together, one wine flows and is mixed together, so shall we all who by true faith are incorporated in Christ together be one body.”

Communion strengthens believers’ confidence in the forgiveness of sins. It strengthens believers’ worship of Christ as the crucified, risen, glorified and returning Lord. Communion strengthens believers’ separation from the sinful practices of the world and of the devil. Communion strengthens believers’ confidence in the gospel because it proclaims the gospel of grace.

Recent months have forced the limitation of normal church activities for many people. One of the most precious and important of these is the Lord’s Supper. Those who have been unable to meet for corporate worship because of the restrictions of the pandemic, are eager to return.

They know the Lord is calling them to his table. They long to receive the bread and the cup which in a mysterious way brings us near to the One they represent. The great thinkers and teachers of the church have always felt a sense of awe before the overwhelming mystery of the Lord’s Supper. So should we.

But that should not keep us away. it is for sinners like us.

Pastor Randy Faulkner