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