Proverbs 28:2

For the transgression of a land many are the princes thereof: but by a man of understanding and knowledge the state thereof shall be prolonged.

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Political instability is the consequence and judgment for a nation’s sins. Rebelling against the God of heaven exposes a nation to civil corruption, decay, or revolution. The greatest boon to a land is a leader fearing God and following righteousness. His rule will preserve, prolong, protect, and prosper a country. The contrasting histories of Israel and Judah and their kings, recorded carefully in the Bible for your learning, testify to this political fact.

Solomon, the wisest man who ever lived, was king of Israel, a rich and powerful nation. His wisdom was renowned worldwide (I Kgs 4:29-34). He wrote 3,000 proverbs and 1,005 songs. He expanded the knowledge of botany, zoology, political science, and other fields. Governments sent men to ask questions of his great wisdom. He inherited the throne from his father David, and he taught his son how to preserve the nation.

He taught in another proverb, “Righteousness exalteth a nation: but sin is a reproach to any people” (Pr 14:34). There are natural and supernatural laws at work in every government and nation. Natural laws are the ordinary and logical consequences of a nation’s good or bad character, conduct, and legislation. Supernatural laws are God’s rewards or punishments on a government or nation for its policies and practices.

When a nation sets itself against the Source of authority, God Himself, and the wisdom of authority, God’s Word, they enter a situation where both natural and supernatural laws will punish them. Corruption breeds corruption. A corrupt nation will have a corrupt government, and a corrupt government will be subject to decay, mistrust, turmoil, or revolution. Princes will multiply as successive changes disrupt any continuity. The great God will punish that nation to uphold the integrity of His Word (Is 3:1-7; Hos 13:11).

The many princes of this proverb are many princes in succession. Though the exponential and destructive growth of a bureaucratic government is terrible, this proverb does not teach it. How can you know this? Compare the two parts of the parallel construction of the proverb. Many princes are contrasted to the prolonging of the state, not its efficiency. The longevity and stability of civil authority is what benefits by national righteousness.

A government will prosper as long as the nation and its leaders are righteous. A man of understanding and knowledge is not merely a degreed fool, the product of modern educational ignorance. He is rather a man that fears God and pursues righteousness, the only basis for knowledge and understanding (Pr 1:7; 9:10; Job 28:28; Ps 111:10). Both natural and supernatural blessings will reward the righteous leader and nation. Blessed and happy are those people whose God is the LORD (Ps 33:12; 144:15).

No nation on earth today exalts God and His righteousness; therefore the world’s political environment is quite unstable, whether it is individual nations or combinations of them. The nations that have set themselves most openly against God and truth are generally the most unstable. The frequency of coups, turmoil, and revolutions in a nation often reflects its degree of rebellion against divine authority and Bible holiness.

The French Revolution was no accident: it resulted from the atheism promoted before it. Germany, home of Marx, Nietzsche, Freud, and others was politically volatile around two destructive world wars. Atheistic Russia has had three forms of oppressive rule during a similar period of time. And the United States, a young nation, is headed for similar upheaval without repentance, for the transgressions of America are very great.

What can you do? Live the righteous life God requires in His Word and pray for your nation and its leaders (Jer 29:4-7; I Tim 2:1-2). You might be the one the LORD looks to as the intercessor for the peace and prolonging of the state (Ezek 22:29-31). It is the duty of every God-fearing citizen to seek His mercy toward a wicked land (II Chron 7:14).