Devotional: "The King's Heart in God's Hand"
The king's heart is a stream of water in the hand of the Lord; he turns it wherever he will. – Proverbs 21:1
Kings, and their modern-day equivalents, are the most powerful people in our world. Everything they do is scrutinized, from their manner to their remarks to their actions. Even the way they look, walk, and their tone is put under a microscope for the world to see. This is because they have enormous power! Their decisions affect thousands, millions, or in a few cases, billions of people.
Yet before the Lord, their hearts and minds and wills are as nothing. Far from being an imposing, immovable rock, they are like a stream of sparkling water, shooting off wherever God’s hand points them. As he flicks a wrist, they turn, moving to do whatever his will might be. Proverbs 16:9, speaking in parallel to today’s verse, puts it this way: “The heart of man plans his way, but the LORD establishes his steps.”
When I see these scriptures, I can’t help but think of my two year-old daughter. When parenting her, very often redirection—not opposition—is my greatest friend. Even if she sets her heart on something (taking her boots off in the snow, for example), a simple redirection to sledding or looking for birds or making a snow angel can nearly always change her mind.
Perhaps this example seems foolish. How could we compare a full adult, even a king, to a little child? And yet the gulf between God and human, any human, is ever so much greater than any difference between two people, even a toddler.
In me, this produces humility, wonder, and great hope. I have humility, knowing that my heart is no different than that of anyone else. God can turn me at any moment to do his will, just as he has so many times. Humility is necessary, lest I be humbled.
But I am filled with wonder as well. How is it that this sovereign God, before whom kings are less than little children, would invite me to be a part of His work? How could it be that he wants my input, my thoughts, on any matter whatsoever? And yet he does! Scripture has made it abundantly clear how God allows us to direct and be responsible for many things—that is, have free will—without impinging whatsoever on God’s sovereignty.
Finally, this gives me hope! There is nothing that God cannot do. There is no problem, even problems of a national and international scale such as the grievous conflict as we see playing out so publicly before us in the Middle East, that is hopeless. Yes, it’s easy to become desensitized. But remember: God is not hopeless. God is not demoralized. God is never out of options. He directs hearts, minds, and events however he wants, as easily as the turning of a hand.
So pray for our leaders, that they would humble themselves under the mighty hand of God. Pray for peace! Pray for a softening of hearts, and that God would move, as only he knows how, to establish righteousness and justice in Israel, Palestine, and beyond.
God, soften the hearts of kings in our country, in the Middle East, and in the world. Have mercy, and do justice. Let Your will be done on the earth through the hands of those in power. Lord, give them wisdom. Give them humility. Give them hope. And restore to us all the wonder of Your grace, love, and power.
Ministry Director, CU Vox (Dartmouth College)
FREE OFFER: Get the "Seeking God Lifestyle" Bible Course Manual. Download this 67-page, 5-lesson course in PDF format.