21 March 2006

a king's delight

a king's delight

For Tuesday, March 21, 2006
Proverbs 16:13

Righteous lips are the delight of a king,
and he loves him who speaks what is right.

In Shakespeare's Pericles, King of Troy, the king's loyal advisor, Helicanus, says to him (Act I, scene ii):

They do abuse the king that flatter him:
For flattery is the bellows blows up sin;
The thing which is flatter'd, but a spark,
To which that blast gives heat and stronger glowing;
Whereas reproof, obedient and in order,
Fits kings, as they are men, for they may err.

Where yesterday's proverb promised that the throne of a righteous ruler would be established, today's proverb specifies one of the ways in which righteous ruling is manifest: a love for words spoken in wisdom, truth, and charity.

We are all tempted to listen to the words of a flatterer and to gather around us those who will say what pleases our ears. How much more is this true of those who find themselves in positions of leadership or power. But as the proverb shows, the words of Helicanus aptly express the readiness with which we should hear godly reproof.

And Shakespeare's Pericles is wise to keep such a trusted advisor, for such a man will evidently speak with discretion and good purpose in the king's service. Likewise, a wise leader will entrust plans only to those who speak what is best and right.

As those in service to the King of kings, let us always take care to speak the truth in love, in ways that will advance his kingdom, will not shy away from godly rebuke, and will make our King's delight and love our highest joy.