It Is from the LORD that a Man Gets Justice - Geneva College
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It Is from the LORD that a Man Gets Justice

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Biblical Wisdom

Proverbs 29:26 - Many seek the face of a ruler, but it is from the LORD that a man gets justice.

Two other translations deserve notice. “Many a man seeks the ruler’s favor, but the rights of each come from Yahweh (JB).” “Many seek audience of a prince, but in every case the LORD decides (NEB).”

The first phrase in the proverb describes how the world works. Solomon certainly understood this from the no doubt countless people who tried to meet with him and ask for something. Do you want a promotion at work? Get close to your boss, win his favor, and you’re on your way. Do you want a government contract? Give to your Congressman’s campaign fund, hire a lobbyist who knows him, get an interview with him, and he may sneak your contract into a spending bill for you. Do you want to win a lawsuit? Get a lawyer who’s a friend of the judge. Only naïve beginners in the game of life do not know that to get something from the powerful, find a way to talk to them. Whether you seek justice or whether you seek a contract, get close to the person who will decide. Just remember that in the end, God determines the outcome of all of your plans.

Does seeking the ruler’s favor work? It helps often, but not always.  Sometimes even a king cannot help a supplicant, as when Syria besieged Samaria. As he was walking on the wall, the king heard a woman cry for help, but he could do nothing in a city with no food left. He answered, “If the LORD will not help you, how shall I help you? From the threshing floor, or the winepress (II Kings 6:27)?” And seeking a king’s favor can be dangerous, especially if what you want goes contrary to the king’s interests. Adonijah, King Solomon’s unwise older brother went through Solomon’s mother Bathsheba to ask for David’s last woman, Abishag, trying to lay the groundwork for a coup d’etat. Solomon immediately saw through Adonijah’s game and had him executed!

This proverb is not meant to discourage us from going to rulers. Jesus’ parable of the unjust judge recognizes the rightness of taking your case to court. God established civil government in order to punish wrongdoers. Paul appealed his case to Caesar, even before it had been finally decided. But this is a proverb to remind us that the king’s heart is in the hand of the LORD to direct it wherever He chooses (Proverbs 21:2). So we pray for kings and all in authority, including our bosses at work, and when we seek something from someone with power, we try to find a way to talk to him. And we pray. It is the LORD who always and finally decides how things turn out.

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Dr. Bill Edgar, former chair of the Geneva College Board of Trustees, former Geneva College President and longtime pastor in the Reformed Presbyterian Church of North America (RPCNA)

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Opinions expressed in the Geneva Blog are those of its contributors and do not necessarily represent the opinions or official position of the College. The Geneva Blog is a place for faculty and contributing writers to express points of view, academic insights, and contribute to national conversations to spark thought, conversation, and the pursuit of truth, in line with our philosophy as a Christian, liberal arts institution.

Jul 2, 2021