At thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore (Ps. 16: 11)
“When righteous men do rejoice, there is great glory: But when the wicked rise, a man is hidden.”Proverbs 28:12
In the life of nations, we frequently see oscillations between the times when the righteous are in control, and the times when the wicked hold the reins. Now of course, because this is a fallen world, we never see righteous rule that is absolute. Neither do we see times of absolute depravity.
Nevertheless, there is a marked distinction between the righteous and the wicked, and the people can tell the difference—despite the propaganda.
This proverb tells us that righteous men can see and identify when the rule is good. When they see that the trajectory of a particular policy is going to be very good, they rejoice over the fact. And when they rejoice, that generation enjoys great glory. Righteousness in the rule of a nation has ramifications. In a moment, we will compare it to the ramifications of the other kind of rule.
When the wicked are in the ascendancy, men go into hiding. Not only do they go into hiding, so does their wealth, their livelihood. When the Midianites were in charge, that was the time when Gideon thought it wise to thresh his crop in the wine vat. He was doing that to keep his sustenance from a predatory government. When the wicked rule, the innocent hide.
So why is there great glory when the righteous rule? The answer is that people come out of hiding. When they come out of hiding, they can work productively, in the broad light of day, and not worry about the fruit of their labors being seized.
This means that there is a difference between riches that have been seized and wealth that has been produced. In his wonderful book The Mystery of Capital, Hernando de Soto showed how many impoverished countries are in that condition because of how their envy-driven policies prevent all the wealth that is above ground from going to work on behalf of the people. But those who possess that kind of wealth are not going to invest it when the wicked have risen. And so everyone suffers.