Referring to David as the king-to-be (about 20 years of age), God stated to Saul, “The Lord has sought out a man after his own heart” (1 Sam 13:14). When chosen to be king, it was not because of “his appearance or on the height of his stature. For the Lord sees not as man sees…the Lord looks on the heart” (1 Sam 16:7). A young man said also that David “is skillful in playing, a man of valor, a man of war, prudent in speech, and a man of good presence, and the Lord is with him” (1 Sam 16:18). As a result, “David came to Saul and entered his service. And Saul loved him greatly, and he became his armor-bearer” (1 Sam 16:21).
It could be said of the young David, “Do you see a man skillful in his work? He will stand before kings; he will not stand before obscure men” (Prov 22:29). Similarly, we serve the King and hope to hear, “Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master” (Matt 25:21, 23). Until then, whether or not we serve the kings of this life, we want to be faithful in our service to our King, knowing that our faithfulness merits nothing for salvation, though it provides for reward in time to come.
Some passages from Proverbs mention how to serve in the presence of a king, and they instruct us in how to live our lives as we prepare to one day stand before the heavenly throne. What might they say to us as we consider how to live this life in preparing to meet our King?
- Walk wisely to please the King. “A servant who deals wisely has the king’s favor, but his wrath falls on one who acts shamefully” (Prov 14:35).
- Watch your words around the King. “Righteous lips are the delight of a king, and he loves him who speaks what is right” (Prov 16:13).
- Tread carefully around the King. “A king’s wrath is a messenger of death, and a wise man will appease it” (Prov 16:14).
- Be genuinely godly since the King knows your heart. “He who loves purity of heart, and whose speech is gracious, will have the king as his friend” (Prov 22:11).
- Be loyal to the king. “My son, fear the Lord and the king, and do not join with those who do otherwise, for disaster will arise suddenly from them, and who knows the ruin that will come from them both?” (Prov 24:21–22).
- Let the King praise you in His own good time. “Do not put yourself forward in the king’s presence or stand in the place of the great, for it is better to be told, “Come up here,” than to be put lower in the presence of a noble” (Prov 25:6–7).
Whether or not our wisdom lets us stand before kings today, may we live to please the King both now and to hear “well done” when we stand before His throne.