2 I say, “Keep the king’s commandment for the sake of your oath to God. 3 Do not be hasty to go from his presence. Do not take your stand for an evil thing, for he does whatever pleases him.”
4 Where the word of a king is, there is power;
And who may say to him, “What are you doing?”
5 He who keeps his command will experience nothing harmful;
And a wise man’s heart discerns both time and judgment,
6 Because for every matter there is a time and judgment,
Though the misery of man increases greatly.
7 For he does not know what will happen;
So who can tell him when it will occur?
8 No one has power over the spirit to retain the spirit,
And no one has power in the day of death.
There is no release from that war,
And wickedness will not deliver those who are given to it.
9 All this I have seen, and applied my heart to every work that is done under the sun: There is a time in which one man rules over another to his own hurt.
(Ecclesiastes 8:2-9, New King James Version)
Rules and Rulers
Because most of us do not live in a land ruled by a king or a dictator, we will look at this section of Ecclesiastes 8 from the perspective of rules and rulers. Why should we obey our rulers? Do they deserve obedience from us? Does that make any difference?
We are an independent people who do not like mandates thrown at us. As a result we often find ourselves choosing when or when not to obey the rules of our rulers, whether they be our government, state, or city. As a Christian, how should we view this? Can we pick and choose our times of obedience and still live faithfully before God?
The only mandate from God is that Christians must not obey authorities if they command us to disobey the Word of God. However, other than that, we must be careful to obey the advice given to us by Solomon.
“Keep the king’s commandment for the sake of your oath to God."
In other words, we are commanded to obey our rulers whether we like the rules or not as long as they do not cause us to disobey God's commandments.
As we continue through this passage, Solomon asks us, "Do we know the future? Do we know what will happen and when it will happen?"
No, we do not know the future; the future remains in the hands of God. Even our day of death is ordained by God; whether we are righteous or whether we are wicked, no one is released from the war of death. As you think of this, remember that this is true for the rulers as well as those under his rule.
Rules and rulers, then, are always subservient to our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. He is the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. On our day of death, it is Him to whom we must give an answer for our deeds while on earth, whether they be good or bad.
Let us, then, think carefully before we casually dismiss the rules and rulers placed over us. Our obedience to them is out of respect to God, for it is Him we serve above all!
God Bless You,