“My son, fear the Lord and the king; Do not associate with those who are given to change, for their calamity will rise suddenly, And who knows the ruin that comes from both of them?” – Proverbs 24:21-22 (NASB)
What are we to do when we find in Scripture directions and instructions that seem unreasonable? Are we to think that “surely it doesn’t really mean that” and go on creating an adapted meaning that fits our reason? No. Today’s passage instructs us to fear the LORD (No problem with that is there?) and the king! This is identifying our responsibility to whoever, by any title, is our head of state. Our independence naturally kicks against submission. We hear the cry for the sovereignty of the people. As the picture of those manipulators has been drawn to life nearly two thousand years ago—“walking after the flesh—despising government—presumptuous, self-willed—not afraid to speak evil of dignities.” Such men love change for the sake of change. The leaders of the parties disturb the public peace, by promising changes, however without any assurance of fulfillment.* Loyalty to the king is proper because he is the agent of the Lord’s wisdom—believe it or not; (Deuteronomy 17:14–20; Romans 13:1–7). That loyalty includes having no part with rebels who seek to subvert or overthrow the king (“change”). Peter draws on this verse in his call to good citizenship in 1 Peter 1:17; 2:17.
* Charles Bridges, An Exposition of the Book of Proverbs, (New York: Robert Carter & Brothers, 1865), 387.