“An oracle is on the lips of a king; his mouth does not sin in judgment.”
This is a deeply profound and powerful proverb, and it deserves much thought and prayer for anyone in a position of leadership. The immediate reference is to a king, but it applies to any leader. It is a description of what should be. It is not a description of what most leaders actually do; it is a description of what leaders should do.
The essential meaning is this: “Wise declarations and decisions are on the lips of godly, effective leaders. They do not make unwise judgments.” The greater your leadership responsibility, the greater the impact of your words and your decisions.
When reading this verse, it is easy to go immediately to the unwise and contentious things said by politicians, and it certainly applies in that realm. However, I encourage you to resist the temptation to apply this verse to others. Instead, do the hard and courageous work of applying this proverb to yourself.
The call of this verse is to represent God without compromise in your role as a leader at home, at work, in the church, in the community, and in our family. In all of those arenas, what you say and the decisions you make have great importance.
- This verse calls you to think deeply before you speak or render judgment.
- It calls you to know the Word of God, pray constantly, and seek wisdom.
- It calls you to be humble and not trust your first impulse or personal preference.
- It calls you to reject self-centeredness and be sacrificial and selfless in the way you lead.
- It calls you to be careful about what you say, how you say it, and why.
- It calls you to consider that your words and decisions have consequences, so choose wisely.
“Set a guard, O Lord, over my mouth; keep watch over the door of my lips!” (Psalm 141.1-3