When a land transgresses, it has many rulers, but with a man of understanding and knowledge, its stability will long continue.
Proverbs 28:2 ESV
This proverb flies against the grain of political correctness nowadays, so that our Western democratic assumptions are challenged. We tend to think that lots of different rulers means there’s lots of checks and balances, and power isn’t too concentrated in one person’s hands. But to Solomon, a long reign meant stability for his people of Israel.
Take Iraq for example, where Saddam Hussein was defeated by the West and democracy was imposed by the barrel of a gun. But without wishing to be an apologist for tyranny, surely an undemocratic stability, such as there was in Iraq until the West meddled, was better than the democratic anarchy there has been in that land for over fifteen years?
It’s true that many dictators heavily persecute God’s people, and no one mourns when they’re deposed, like Sudan’s dictator recently (at the time of writing). But it’s also true that they often bring a measure of stability to their countries, as long as their people don’t seek to overthrow them.
Take Putin for another example. By no means do I wish to be an apologist for him, but he is genuinely popular in Russia. And whatever else may be said about him, he’s brought a measure of stability to that great nation, and a sense of pride to its people after the loss of the Cold War and the collapse of the USSR.
“King of kings, how we praise You that Your reign is from everlasting to everlasting. Thank You for the stability that brings to us Your people, even as the tyrants of this world seek to persecute us. Help us trust in You, our shield and our defender, forevermore, amen”