(Prov 28:15 GNB) Poor people are helpless against a wicked ruler; he is as dangerous as a growling lion or a prowling bear.
This morning we continue our “Unlocking the Power of Proverbs – Walking in the Wisdom of God” series. We must remember that the person writing this verse is a sitting King. As a King Solomon was a sovereign and supreme ruler, he had no checks or balances, and his word was always the final word. It’s hard for people who grew up in a democratic society to understand a Kingdom, but put yourself in the Kingdom mindset for a moment. In our society people talk bad about the President every day and nothing happens to them, but in a Kingdom, especially in Solomon’s day, an outspoken word against the King could land you in a torture chamber (or worse). This is the context of Solomon’s day, so when he talks about a ruler he is talking about someone who has absolute authority. Now imagine if that person was wicked; I mean truly wicked, to the point where no one was safe from his wrath. This would pose an utterly dangerous situation for anyone under the power of this leader, and the situation would be even more grimm for the poor. If the poor are considered defenseless today, they were even more so in Solomon’s day. Without money the poor could not defend themselves from the common man, much less from a wicked ruler.
Solomon compares the wicked ruler to a growling lion or a prowling bear. On a still night a lion’s roar can carry over five miles and it serves as an announcement that his pride is the owner of the land. However, when a lion is growling it is an indication that it is ready to attack. Similarly, a bear on the prowl is looking for food and no one wants to come face-to-face with a hungry bear. Both situations Solomon describes are extremely dangerous. Any human who comes in contact with a growling lion or a prowling bear is helpless against the animal. And this is the picture Solomon paints for us when describing the danger a wicked ruler poses to the poor.
So what does this mean to you today? While we are not under the reign of a sovereign King and we prayerfully won’t ever come across a growling lion or prowling bear, there are still a couple of nuggets I believe we can draw out from this proverb:
1. Leaders can help or hurt. As a leader you can have a tremendous impact on the lives of the people you lead. That impact can be either positive or negative, but as a believer, you should seek to use your position of influence to help and not hurt, to bless and not curse, to build up and never to tear down. If you have subordinates who are struggling, then you should be there to help them and never to take advantage of them in their vulnerable state. As a Godly leader you should acknowledge the fact that the Father gave you the position to develop, not to destroy, those you lead.
2. Money is a defense. In Ecclesiastes Solomon said, “Wisdom and money can get you almost anything…” (7:12) and “…money answers all things” (10:19). While money is not the answer to all of life’s problems, it can certainly help provide safety, security, and stability for your family. The lack of money, as this scripture suggests, leaves people vulnerable and defenseless. So manage your finances wisely so you don’t put your family in a compromising position.
Closing Confession: Father, I thank You for helping me to understanding the positive impact I can have on the lives of others on a daily basis. I am blessed to be a blessing and I declare that I will. I will never take advantage of those You have blessed me to lead. If I ever find myself in a position where I am leading someone who is extremely vulnerable and who needs considerable help, instead of taking advantage of them, I will make every effort to help them. You have been extremely good to me Father and I declare that I will be a conduit of that goodness every day of my life. I also thank You for wisdom concerning the management of my finances, so that I never put my family in a vulnerable situation. I declare this by faith. In Jesus’ name. Amen!
This is Today’s Word! Apply it and Prosper!