1 (ESV) The king’s heart is a stream of water in the hand of the Lord; he turns it wherever he will.
The Lord turns the heart of the King wherever He wishes. Some will want to add that He turns the hearts of willing kings, or faithful kings, or obedient kings. But this is not what the verse says and it is not what the verse means. God turns the hearts of the rulers of the world to do what fits His purposes.
When political leaders rule in their wickedness and ignore God’s ways and abuse and hurt people and lead for their own political reasons God is not asleep. The rulers of the world talk like they are the ones who have the power. We talk at election time of putting people into power. The ones we put into power, the leaders of our nations and cities, are not the ultimate power. And neither are those who elect them. Sometimes voters talk and act like they are the ones who hold the futures of their leaders in their hands. This reminds us of another proverb -
Proverbs 16:33 (ESV)
The lot is cast into the lap,
but its every decision is from the Lord.
All human power is borrowed power. It can only be used legitimately when it is used in accordance with the will of the One who has lent it to them. But what if they do not?
Even if a ruler is wicked God will turn his heart to serve a far grander purpose – see Acts 2:23. Evil does not thwart the purposes of the Almighty. He wants rulers to rule well, but let us never think that if they don’t that they force God into plan “B” (See Psalm 2). Why do Kings change their minds? Why do rulers do good? Because God is at work.
There is little more comforting than this: the world, for all its chaos and unimaginable wickedness, is heading to the end for which God intended it and the Kings of the earth are tools in God’s hands to get it there. We can sleep tonight. Evil cannot ultimately win anything at all.