By forbearance a ruler may be persuaded, And a soft tongue breaks the bone. Proverbs 25:15
Today's proverb has to do with the power of persuasion - especially when the one who is to be persuaded is someone in authority, like a ruler or a king. How is it that we persuade someone so high in office? The answer might shock you, because the Lord says that it is not the forceful man that will win the day. Patience and gentleness have much greater power to persuade than a blustery, arrogant person.
Forbearance is what is needed, according to our proverb. The Hebrew word here is "orek" and it means something long or lengthy. It describes physical measurements. The word used to describe the length of Noah's ark as well as to describe things like large land measurements. But what is measured as long in this passage is the patience and willingness to stick with one's cause before someone in authority. The idea is that a person forbears the fact that the ruler has a different opinion - and seeks to bring the powers of persuasion to bear on him over time. Most rulers are not given to quick swings in opinion - and when they do - it has the danger of not lasing long. The influence of the wise man is applied to a decision over a long period of time. That is one reason he is effective in getting the ruler to think and reason as he does. William Wilberforce spent his entire lifetime forbearing with those who differed with him on the issue of slavery. Yet he held to his views and continued to persuade men by holding them no matter what the outcome of votes within Parliment. In the end, his willingness to remain in the fight and stay there for years won the day for him and his cause.
There is a second tool that a wise man uses in persuading a ruler. We are instructed that a soft or gentle tongue can break a bone. What a powerful picture that is for us - and yet how contrary to the way that many of us are wired to think. It is not boisterousness and bravado that win the day with the ruler. It is the wise, soft spoken and gentle man who can eventually persuade the king on a matter. Consider Daniel for a moment on this matter. He was a very wise man who had tremendous influence on the king. Yet we do not have a single passage where Daniel speaks impassioned words to the king. Joseph was the same way. He was a man of controlled passions when it came to his dealings with Pharaoh. This kind of strength under control allies great power. The king and the Pharaoh came to have great confidence in these godly men. Their words - though gentle in their presentation - were powerful and could accomplish much.
Of those who led with forbearance and gentle words, Jesus stands more significant among all. He was patient with His disciples - and submitted Himself to God and even to others when He Himself had once sat at the right hand of God Himself. He spoke in ways that made men marvel - and commanded even the elements to submit to His will. When standing before a corrupt pseudo-court of man - Jesus was able to be quiet - even amazing His captors with His behavior. And when it came to raw displays of power - His simple words, "I am He," in the garden caused a wicked mob to stagger backwards and fall to the ground on their backs. Gentleness bearing great power - Jesus was the epitome of it in life.
Too many in our day think that to be influential you have to be a jerk. They see power as something wielded with an iron fist. You don't take anything from anybody - even someone in a position of authority. Such behavior may get you a temporary rung higher on the corporate ladder, but it will NOT bode well for you long into the future. The "gentle-tongued" man does not make the kind of enemies that the man with the macho attitude. He does not leave a trail of crushed egos and smashed careers along the way. The man who triumphs with power and a lack of gentleness will have many who will cheer for his fall. The gentle man learns to break a bone with the gentle and controlled way that he quietly and consistently speaks for his principles. Thus he comes to the point of persuasioin without all the baggage of his blustery counterparts.
Learn to influence others wisely. Learn to stand in positions of principle steadfastly. Learn to persuade others with soft, gentle, bone-crushing power. The power you access in the process will not be that of the fleshly elite of this world, whose kingdoms are passing away. The power you access will be that of the Son of God - Who remained silent as a lamb before His shearers - and yet who crushed death and hell under the weight of His godly obedience to His Father. There, dear saints, is power!
The fury of a king is like messengers of death, But a wise man will appease it. Proverbs 16:14
The knock on the door resembled more like someone trying to break it down. As he drew near to open, Daniel knew that this was no friendly visit by the sounds coming from the other side of the door. He could hear the sounds of a chariot - and the all too familiar sound of armor and swords striking each other. This was a military visit - and it did not sound as if it would be positive. As he reached for the handle of the door Daniel said to himself, "Calm Daniel, respond with calm and confidence in your Lord." As the handle moved to open the door a prayer also went up to heaven, "God, please help me respond wisely."
As the door opened Daniel was astounded by what he met. It was a military escort - and it had come for him. Daniel knew things were bad when he saw Arioch, the commander of the king's bodyguard leading the way. "The king had commanded that all the wise men of Babylon be executed," was the announcement that Arioch made at Daniel's doorway. "I am sorry Daniel, but I must put you in chains and escort you to the executioner immediately."
"Why is this decree so urgent, Arioch?" Daniel replied. "Have we done something wrong - for when I last knew - all was well with the king and the wise men." Arioch then told Daniel of the dream - and the command from the king that the one who interprets the dream must also be able to first tell the king what the dream was. When the wise men present balked at this - and tried to bide their time - the king became furious and commanded that this be done to all the wise men.
Daniel sent a quick prayer to heaven again, "HELP LORD!" Then a passage from the writings of Solomon came to mind, the fury of the king is messengers of death, but a wise man will appease it. "Give me wisdom Lord to appease this request."
"Arioch," Daniel spoke, "would you first take me to the king that I might request a time when I may come and declare the dream and the interpretation to him?" From the look on Arioch's face Daniel knew that he was wary of this request.
"Daniel, my friend," the captain said, "He is furious right now - and not in any mood for delays or schemes. He is very disturbed about this dream and wants an interpretation."
Daniel was amazed at his own boldness and faith as he answered, "Then that is what I shall give to him."
As Arioch took him to the king Daniel continued to pray for favor and for God's power to appease a very angry king. He also knew that when he returned to his home, he would have to call Hannaniah, Mishael, and Azariah to prayer as well that God would grant him the ability to know the king's dream and its interpretation. "This will be a true test of our faith - and of our trust in Jehovah to protect and keep us here in Babylon," Daniel would say. "Yet He has been faithful so far to offer us His gracious protection."
The king or whatever the supreme leadership position is called in any state - holds with it a tremendous amount of power and authority. When that person is furious - it is not a good thing for the ones at whom his anger and rage is directed. To approach him with respect, honor, and wisdom is absolutely necessary. Depending on the laws of the region - that anger could mean death. That is why examples like that of Daniel - where a gracious, submissive, appeal to authority and God's provision is definitely in order. We can thank God for this godly example, for it gives us hope in what otherwise might be a hopeless situation. The wise will learn from it - and repeat it as they go into every situation trusting God and relying on the wisdom of His Word to not only guide them - but also go before them to appease anger and wrath - and make a way for grace and peace to prevail.
Proverb a Day
Each day, we'll take a look at a verse from the chapter of Proverbs for the day. Our hope is to gain wisdom each day - and from that wisdom - to have understanding to make godly decisions in the throes of everyday life.
Thank you for visiting our website! Everything on this site is offered for free. If, however, you would like to make a donation to help pay for its continued presence on the internet, you can do that by clicking here. The only thing we ask is that you give first to the local church you attend. Thank you!
Copyright 2024 Calvary Chapel Jonesboro | all rights reserved