If a king faithfully judges the poor,
his throne will be established forever.
As Americans, most of us probably feel far removed from monarchy. Our presidents and other elected officials serve for limited terms that never go on forever. This was not true in Old Testament Israel and the nations that surrounded it: the ideal was for a king to rule for many years, pass on the kingdom to his son, and to continue down the family tree forever. This proverb promises just such an eternal reign. If a king is righteous in his dealings, especially with the most vulnerable of society, his kingdom will never end.
You don’t have to know too much about history to know that this has never happened with merely human kings. Power corrupts, and even the most godly kings occasionally put their own interests ahead of others. Even King David, for example, had Uriah killed to cover his sin with Bathsheba (2 Samuel 11). The irony is that God promised David the same thing that this proverb promises: your throne will be established forever (see 2 Samuel 7). What are we to make of this promise?
David failed, Solomon failed, all the kings of Israel and Judah failed (some of them failed big time). But God’s promise was not in vain. There is a king, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the root of David, Christ Jesus, who always faithfully judges the poor. You and I might be materially wealthy, but we are all spiritually poor. What a joyous truth that Jesus came not simply to establish an eternal kingdom that will never fail, but also to save us from our sins and make us subjects of his kingdom that cannot be shaken. Let us trust in Christ and live in a way that reflects our citizenship in his kingdom.