By Justice

For Thursday, February 14, 2008
Proverbs 29:4

By justice a king builds up the land,
but he who exacts gifts tears it down.

The "gifts" could be bribes or, as suggested in one translation, heavy taxes. The point is that such a ruler is unjust. Furthermore, his very injustice tears down the land by which he is sustained. This is a principle that the unjust somehow cannot understand. By exercising justice, a ruler builds up the land so that his people prosper. Because they prosper, they are able and more willing to support the ruler. If they would seek first the welfare of the kingdom, everything else will be provided for them.

Does that sound familiar? "But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you" (Matthew 6:33). The context is somewhat different in which Jesus spoke these words, but the essential truth remains. If a ruler concentrates on what really matters - the belonging to and serving the kingdom of God, seeking and promoting righteousness - then he is likely to find many of the things he worries about falling into place. He is more likely to find his physical needs met.

God blesses the ruler who is just, and he has in his providential care seen that the very work of justice produces good fruit. See what the King he sent was able to accomplish with his justice.

Instead, their very greed leads them to be unjust and eventually cause their downfall.