An ideal president

 

[Proverbs 19:12; 20:2]

 

What do you think of the president of this country where you live?  Do you think he is the ideal president?  What I think about “President”, I remember the QT (Quiet Time) title that I meditated based on 1 Samuel 15:23 after I heard the news that the late President Moo-hyun Roh's impeachment was passed by Congress in March 2004 in Korea.  The QT title was ‘The forsaken king’.  What I still remember vaguely is that the timing was a bit surprised.  In other words, I didn’t deliberately meditate on King Saul, who was forsaken by God in 1 Samuel 15:23 because I heard the news of the late President Moo-hyun Roh's impeachment.  I remember that I meditated on King Saul because the word of 1 Samuel 15:23 came to my heart.  So, while I was meditating on Proverbs 19:12 and 20:2, I read the QT that I did before based on 1 Samuel 15:23.  And I looked at the seven reasons why King Saul was forsaken by God.  They were disobedience, pride, hypocrisy, excuses, greed, idolatry, and fearing people.  At that time, while meditating on the words about King Saul, who had been forsaken by God, I remember being comforted by the fact that there was also King David who was a man after God’s own heart even in the midst of King Saul who was forsaken by God in the midst of suffering and crisis.  How shocked would it have been to all the Israelites when King Saul of a nation was forsaken?  However, God was preparing King David who was the man after His own heart.  Why was King David the man after God’s own heart?  This is because David listened to God and obeyed His word, as 1 Samuel 15:22 says, “…  Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, And to heed than the fat of rams”  Although he committed a married woman, Bathsheba, and killed her husband, a loyal soldier, Uriah to cover his adultery, David immediately confessed and repented of his sins when God rebuked him through the prophet Nathan.  At that time, I ended the QT with the words, ‘I earnestly hope and pray that God will raise up ‘a king’ (President) who is after God’s own heart in Korea.  And when I looked at the QT file that I meditated on ‘a king’, I read it again in June 2008 as I meditated on the word under the heading ‘The ideal king and his ideal people” based on Psalms 101.  At that time, in TV news, one of the pastors representing American evangelicalism, Pastor James Dobson, pointed out that he had "confused theology" in his remarks to Senator Obama, a Democratic candidate who was a US presidential candidate.  And the time when I meditated the word of this Psalms was a candlelight demonstration in Korea under the slogan of renegotiation of beef, shortly after Elder Myung-bak Lee, a Christian, became president.  At such a time, God made me to meditate on Psalms 101 and made me to think about the ideal king's heart.  I meditated on three things: (1) The ideal king's heart is a heart that yearns for mercy and justice.  (2) The ideal king’s heart is a humble.  (3) The ideal king's heart stays away from a perverse heart (deceitful heart, a different life inside and outside).  And the last QT I meditated on “a king” was “A good king who pleases God’ on last May 2012.  This meditation was based on Proverbs 16:10-15, and at that time there was an article in the Korea Hankook Ilbo Internet article under the heading ‘Obama is the first gay president.’  It was meditation on His word that gave me an opportunity to think about whether President Obama, who supported same-sex marriage for the first time, is indeed a good president who pleases God or not.  I thought about the good king who pleases God in three ways: (1) The good king who pleases God makes right decisions with God's wisdom.  (2) The good king who pleases God hates doing evil.  (3) The good king who pleases God receives an advice from his faithful servants.  While meditating on the word of God about the king, we see that in Proverbs 19:12 and 20:2, King Solomon is talking about the ideal king.  So, I would like to pray for the president of our country to become a worthy president in God's eyes, while meditating on the ideal king that God teaches us under the title of “An ideal president”.

 

            First, the ideal president rules the country with justice.

 

Look at Proverbs 19:12a and 20:2 – “A king's rage is like the roar of a lion,  …   A king's wrath is like the roar of a lion; he who angers him forfeits his life.”  Here, King Solomon says that a king's anger (wrath) is like the roar of a lion.  And here we can ask 2 questions.  The first question is “Why is the king’s rage?”  The reason the king is angry is not because he is a tyrant, but because as a righteous king who hates the sins of the country he is governing.  Look at Proverbs 16:12 – “Kings detest wrongdoing, for a throne is established through righteousness.”  Therefore, the king's rage that is spoken of in Proverbs 19:12 and 20:2 is a wrath that shows righteousness.  As I meditated on the wrath of the king that manifests this righteousness, I remembered the righteous wrath of God, the King of kings.  In particular, I remembered the words from Romans 1:18 as I heard the news about the Supreme Court's examination of same-sex marriage these days.  Obviously, the Bible says that “The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness” (Rom. 1:18).  What is one of the results?  Look at Romans 1:26-27: “Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones.  In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion.”  It is natural function for a man and a woman to marry.  But it is the result or retribution of God's wrath that a man will lust for a man and a woman for a woman.  The second question is, 'The Bible says that the king's rage is like the roar of the lion.  What does that mean?'  Here, “like the roar of a lion” means that the lion is heard anywhere in the mountain where the beast dwells, so the administrative power of the ruler should scare the wicked people in the country everywhere (Park).  So the apostle Paul said in Romans 13:7, "fear to whom fear."  Then he said, “Each person is to be in subjection to the governing authorities” (v. 1).  The reason is because “there is no authority except from God” (v. 1).  And Paul said that “rulers are not a cause of fear for good behavior, but for evil” (v. 3). What does it mean?  It means that the rulers should be fearful to those who do evil because the rulers practice righteous with the authority set by God.  Look at verse 4: “…  But if you do what is evil, be afraid; for it does not bear the sword for nothing; for it is a minister of God, an avenger who brings wrath on the one who practices evil.”  In one way or another, the president of a country is a minister of God who responds according to his wrath against those who do evil.  In other words, he is the authority established by God to rule a nation with justice.  That is why he must punish those who do evil and reward those who do good (1 Pet. 2:14).  We must honor this righteous king (1 Pet. 2:17).

 

But when I think of the president of this country in which we live, I wonder if he is a president who deserves honor from our citizens from the biblical perspective.  For some reason, he is like a president with confused theology, as Pastor James Dobson said.  And I can't help but question whether his faith (if he has faith) is truly biblical.  Obviously, the Bible says that the king should rule the country with righteous.  But when I consider whether the president of this country is doing it, I cannot personally say ‘Yes, he does.’  As an example, I don't think this can be said to be governing this country with the righteous of God, given that our president and the government not only support same-sex marriage but also try to legalize it.  Although the Bible says, “And the work of righteousness will be peace, And the service of righteousness, quietness and confidence forever” in Isaiah 32:17, I doubt whether there is peace, quietness, and confidence in this country.  I think that in the age of our children and descendants that continue to go forward in this way, it will become an unstable society in so many ways.  As Proverbs 14:34 says, “Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a disgrace to any people,” our president should rule this county well with righteousness and thus exalts our nation.  But I think he is a disgrace to the citizens by making this country to commit sins against God.  King David, the father of King Solomon, walked before the Lord in truth and righteousness and uprightness of heart toward Him (1 Kgs. 3:6).  Therefore, the Lord showed great favor to King David and made his son Solomon king of Israel.  And God made Solomon king of Israel to do righteous and justice in order to make him strong forever because He loved Israel (2 Chron. 9:8).

 

Second and last, the ideal president rules the country with love.

 

Look at Proverbs 19;12b – “…  but his favor is like dew on the grass.”  Who do you think is the king's favor?  Would those who disobey the king's command likely receive the king’s favor or would those who obey his command?  Of course, whoever obeys the king's command will be favored by the king.  Now King Solomon is talking about two reactions of the king in Proverbs 19:12.  The two reactions are: (1) The king is very angry (like a lion's roar to those who disobey the king's commands).  (2) But to those who obey the king’s commands, the king will show favor (kindness).  So, King Solomon said in Proverbs 14:35 – “A king delights in a wise servant, but a shameful servant incurs his wrath.”  Who is a wise servant?  In Proverbs 16:13, wise servants are faithful who have “honest lips” and speak honestly to the king.  King Solomon says that the king delights these servants.  However, based on Proverbs 16:12, the scornful servants, especially those who do wrongdoing and evil, are bound to face the wrath of the king.  This principle also applies to the relationship between God as King and us as His people.  In other words, when we, as God's people, obey the Lord, the King of kings, God show His favor to us.  Look at Psalms 5:12 – “For it is You who blesses the righteous man, O LORD, You surround him with favor as with a shield.”  God blesses the righteous who obey God's will and He surrounds him with favor as with a shield.  Can you imagine?  Can you imagine that you can see the signs of God's favor even if you look east, west, north, south, and everywhere?  Even though those who disobey the Lord's words will have problems and difficulties in all directions, those who obey the Lord are filled with God's favor everywhere.  King Solomon says that favor is like dew on the grass (Prov. 19:12).  What is the king's favor like dew on the grass?  “Grass” is an analogy to the common people, and it seems very weak and has no name.  And the words that the king's benefits are like the dew on the grass means that the king doesn’t come to the people with dignity, but with a calm and tender love of mercy (Park).  In other words, the ideal king doesn’t focus solely on receiving the service of his people, but loves and respects them (Park).  Of course, this is when the people obey the king's command.  If the people disobey the king's command and do evil, the righteous king hates evil and has no choice but to punish them in the midst of wrath.  However, when the people live according to God's will by obeying the king's command, the ideal king loves them and treats them with respect.  As a result, the people of that country enjoy the king’s favor (16:15).

 

As I meditated on these words, I thought about the country we live in.  Then I asked these questions: ‘Is the president of this country really giving the citizens the favor?’, ‘If so, what favor are they enjoying?’, ‘Is this really loving and respecting the citizens of this country?’  What do you think?  I personally doubt whether this is true when I see that our president is trying to get all the health insurance to the whole people to enjoy medical benefits and to legalize same-sex marriage for few homosexual people.  I wonder whether this is to love and respect the people with gentle and tender love of compassion.  I'm not sure about health insurance.  But at least when I see the president and government who are trying to support and legalize same-sex marriage, I think this isn’t about loving the people and making them enjoy the favor.  The reason is because such love is not God's love, but a love that deviates from the truth.  Love that is not based on God's truth is meaningless love.

 

Today we meditate on the ideal king in two ways.  We learned that the ideal king rules the country with justice and love.  As I meditated on these words, I was compelled to think of the president of this country in which we live.  At that time, I couldn't help but wonder: ‘Is the president of our country the ideal president in the light of God's word?'  Let us pray to God together for our president at this time.