Breakfast with Solomon - Proverbs 16:15
"In the light of the king's face is life, and his favor is like a cloud with the spring rain"
This is an absolutely essential truth, but it is largely ignored in our culture. Our culture is suspicious of authority and submission and, therefore, cannot receive the impact of this truth.
This is the word melek which means king. In the proverb Solomon uses the king as a stand-in for authority or leadership. He is trying to point out that when one is in line with their authority, then there is a whole new joy to life. Most people at work, home, school, etc., do not really understand what their authority would like to see done. If they were asked what they thought the top five things they were supposed to do in their role and that was compared to what their authority thought the top five things they were supposed to do, the lists would be very different.
Solomon is sharing with us really deep wisdom: If you want to have a great working relationship and great working environment, you must make sure that you are aligned with your authority. You must compare what you think you are supposed to do with what your authority thinks you are supposed to do. In order for any relationship to work well, there must be alignment of expectations.
It is a good idea to align expectations with your authorities and significant relationships every week – if it is possible.
This is the Hebrew word haya which means live, have life, live prosperously. The idea is to be fully alive with enjoyment.
Don't miss the lesson here. Make sure that you are aligned with your authority so that your enjoyment of life will increase. Most people who are having problems with others are in that place because they refuse to align their actions, expectations, and speech with those around them. They do not want to adapt to someone else's ideas, activities, or plans. They want to do what they want to do.
This is the Hebrew word rason which means pleasure, delight, favor. Remember that Solomon is trying to teach us how to get along wisely in this world. He tells us that we should align with our authorities for a better life. He is right. But our culture has exalted the rebel way, the individualistic path. Do not be led astray by the culture around you; listen to God through Solomon. It is the path of submission and teamwork that leads to the best life. Now I must add that if you are asked to do that which contradicts God's law, then you must align with God's law instead of the authority. But many times the conflict is not between God's law and the authority. It is between what we wanted to do and what our authority wanted to do. In those cases Solomon would say to align with your authority.
Teenagers face this with their parents. If they were to align their actions with their parents, it would cost them with their peers. But aligning with their parents’ expectations, actions, and ideas would pay rich dividends now and in the future. Too often teens want to be popular with the wrong group, so they seek favor in the wrong place.
Now let me talk about how you would align with your authorities. I would suggest you ask them: “Here are the top five things I think that you want me to do this week. Is this the same as the list you would come up with?” I remember doing this with my mother and later with my father. Their list was significantly different from my list, but it made a big difference to begin working on their list. Too many children are trying to impress their parents by working hard on the wrong list.
like a cloud with the spring rain
This expression of the spring rain is a common expression in the Middle East because of the importance of and delight in rain. The Middle East is a dry and almost desert-like place in the summer, so the spring rains were most welcome. They caused the spring crops to grow and ripen. They allowed water storage for the brutal summer that was coming. They caused the trees and flowers to flourish. It was as though the earth was smiling when the spring rains came. It is this idea and emotion that Solomon is capturing in this expression – the burst of emotional joy when it rains in the spring and all the color and benefit that springs forth.
So when you align with your authority and please them, this same burst of emotional joy and harmony takes place.
It is a shame that our culture has chosen to ignore the value of submission and instead exalt the rebel path. What our particular world system is teaching will not bless those who follow it. It will destroy them. There is room for individual thinking and new directions, but there is joy in proper alignment and submission. You will stand out in our day and age if you follow this advice.