Relating To Authority


All this I have seen and applied my mind to every deed that has been done under the sun wherein a man has exercised authority over another man to his hurt.

~Ecclesiastes 8:9, NASB


Life is far too complex for any human to figure out how all its parts fit together.

~Daniel L. Akin

There is a reason for me using the NASB, the Hebrew word ‘adam’ {man} is used twice. Ecclesiastes 8 is about authority and how wise people respond to it. Solomon was a king, an absolute ruler, which means no one could question his authority on any matter. In the 21 century, we call kings dictators. A monarchy is the best form of government if you have a godly king but history has taught us that absolute power tends to corrupt absolutely. Solomon’s point is that kings often do things that hurt others: adam hurting adam. We call it man’s inhumanity to man. One such absolute ruler of the last century wrote these words before he died, “What I have done…I did according to my conscience and to the best of my knowledge, filled with concern for my people, in order to lead them to a position of honor in this world. And should unnecessary sorrow or suffering ever come to my people because of my actions, then I beseech Almighty God to punish me.” When I read this statement, I thought “who in the world said this?” Then I looked at the bottom of the page and saw the name, Adolf Hitler.

I have a confession: I love studying the book of Ecclesiastes. I am tempted to go buy three more commentaries and start all over. Chapter 8 covers a lot of things but they are all related to God’s rule over us. I want to share some interesting conclusions that I found in my commentaries. There are several that I think are helpful, at least to me.

  1. A person’s ability to obey authority is a sign of wisdom and can also be a reflection of their relationship with God. Solomon does not teach that we must never under any circumstance rebel but it should be our last resort. A wise person looks for a way to comply without corrupting their conscience. Daniel is an excellent example: he did commit an act of civil disobedience but he was not a rebellious person. Although he worked for pagans, he used his wisdom to comply in most cases. When we have an attitude of defiance, it not only causes problems, it indicates a deeper spiritual problem. [verses 1-6]
  2. The future is an enigma. No one knows what is going to happen next. This is why I don’t waste money buying books on prophecy: no one knows. I feel rather certain that there is more that God has left unrevealed than He has revealed. No one is going to paint Him in a corner. How many questions can your kids ask that you can’t answer. Trust me, Ty and Landon can ask questions that Solomon can’t answer. There is a lot that has not been revealed to anyone. [verses 7-8,17]
  3. We live in a world of injustice, where people hurt other people. This is a problem we cannot fix so we must not become so vexed with the problem of evil, injustice and suffering that we fail to enjoy the good things God has given us. [verse 15]
  4. God has deliberately made life unpredictable in order to thwart human efforts to master and control life. If all good moral people lived long lives, people would be moral in order to live longer: the fear of God would not be a factor. [verse 17]
  5. God is in absolute control and He is not going to relinquish this control to any man, no matter how good or wise that man may be.

  • We wanted warm weather, didn’t we? We got it but although is has been muggy, not that bad heat wise. I went to work immediately outside to try to get things done before the rain. I got 11 rows of corn planted, plowed the two rows I have up and also set out some tomatoes and peppers. I wish they sold the peppers in a single unit but they all came in 6 packs so we will probably have plenty of pepper.
  • Doug called me Wednesday. I don’t know which one of us is the most excited about being at DBC Sunday Morning. I am anxious to see how he likes the new sanctuary and sound system. Doug was telling me about a great-nephew that is being treated for cancer at St. Judes. I think it Danny’s grandson. They have been very impressed with St. Jude and I told them we were also.
  • I am also excited about SMALL GROUPS this Sunday night. I do love small groups!

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