The Ruler Over Kings and Me
I love this verse in Proverbs: The king’s heart is a stream of water in the hand of the LORD; he turns it wherever he will (21:1). It is one of my favorite verses, and when I come across it, I often let my mind just stop and dwell there. As someone who really loves to be in control, I can feel my anxiety rising up within me when faced with things occurring beyond my reach. This is true in a normal year, but especially so in a time of great uncertainty like we have experienced over the past several months.
As I have contemplated this verse, I have uncovered three layers to what I love about it. First, this verse reminds me that the things I see as having some rule or authority over me (“kings”), are not outside of God’s control. He is, in fact, the One who turns hearts “wherever he wills.” Certainly, this applies in an election season, but it also applies to anyone who I see as having the ability to make decisions that will significantly impact my life.
Of course, this verse does not promise that the “kings” in my life will always make choices I agree with, or that they will honor and obey God – it simply means that there is nothing that occurs outside God’s notice or rule. Thus, even when life is difficult, and even when it is made more difficult by people whose choices negatively impact my life, my God and Savior is still reigning. This is an endless source of comfort for me.
The second layer that I love in this verse, is that if God can turn the hearts of kings wherever he chooses, He also can surely turn my own heart where He wills. I would see kings as powerful and influential – which are not exactly words I would use to describe myself. Kings are significant and important, but even they are overseen and subjected to God’s sovereign rule. If this is true, then my own heart – inconsequential as it may be – is also well within the reach of my heavenly Father. Perhaps I find this comforting because I have some sense of my proneness toward sin. I want to live a life that pleases God, but I am hopelessly aware of my inability to live the way He calls me to, on my own. While my motives will never be fully pure, I also know God sees the part of my heart that deeply longs to honor and glorify Him. This verse then, reminds me to rest in the knowledge that my sinful propensities don’t get the final word – Christ has already spoken on this very issue and “It is finished.” I often cry out to God, knowing He will answer this prayer on the basis of His faithfulness: “My heart is just a stream of water in your hands, Lord. Please turn it wherever You will.”
The final layer that this verse compels me to see, is a zoomed out, wide-angle view of God’s sovereign reign. When I am anxious or afraid, I often emphasize how situations in our world or my own communities affect me. This is logical. But God is not wholly concerned about me (though I certainly am loved and known by Him). God is concerned with me and the other 8 billion people in this world. He is not just concerned about U.S. elections, or unrest in my community or job, He is concerned with the rulers of every country, every organization, and every community. And even more than that, God is concerned that His name would be glorified and lifted high, that He would be known as the King and Ruler of the whole world.
The story that I live in is His own. And because I know Him from His Word that He has given us, I trust Him.
Afterall, He has already told us how this story ends.
ARH Staff Writer