1 Who is as the wise man? and who knoweth the interpretation of a thing? a man's wisdom maketh his face to shine, and the boldness of his face shall be changed. 2 I counsel thee to keep the king's commandment, and that in regard of the oath of God. 3 Be not hasty to go out of his sight: stand not in an evil thing; for he doeth whatsoever pleaseth him. 4 Where the word of a king is, there is power: and who may say unto him, What doest thou? 5 Whoso keepeth the commandment shall feel no evil thing: and a wise man's heart discerneth both time and judgment. 6 Because to every purpose there is time and judgment, therefore the misery of man is great upon him. 7 For he knoweth not that which shall be: for who can tell him when it shall be? Ecclesiastes 8:1-7
Authority is a word that most human beings hate to hear, unless of course, they are the ones in authority. Solomon does not waste any time talking about authority and what one’s responsibility is to authority. Here in the US we do not have kings, but we do have leaders that we need to respect and show authority to.
There are bosses, or people in authority, who we may not think deserve our respect. Nowhere in the Bible does it say respect authority if you like them or respect authority if they are nice to you. Hebrew 13:17 Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you.
Years ago, I worked for a boss that was not nice nor did this person do things “above the board”. At the very beginning of my work relationship with them I told them I would not lie or do anything dishonest. The reply to me was, “I would never ask you to lie.”
I had a co-worker who disliked the boss and would say unflattering things. One day as she was complaining to me and asked how I could stand working in the same office, I said, “I need to respect the bosses’ position, the one that was over me in the workplace.” I did not agree with most of what the boss did but I still needed to respect the position. It was a hard thing to do and I did have a few confrontations, behind closed doors, but the Lord did take care of the situation for me. I found another job. It does not always work out that way, we need to ask the Lord for wisdom and guidance with difficult authority.
Solomon then talks about “time and judgment” or discernment. We need discernment when we speak to those in authority. Instead of just “speaking our mind” we need to pray and ask for wisdom to show us when to speak and when to not speak. Ecclesiastes 3:7
There are times when we may need to go against authority. Those times may include disobeying the laws of the land or the laws of God, in that case we need to remember Acts 5:29 “… We ought to obey God rather than men. “
Do you have a difficult boss? Do you dread going to the workplace? Ask God to give you grace to obey the authority He has put over you. Pray and ask for discernment each day to know when to speak or not to speak. God will show you the way. It may be hard, and most days it will be hard, but God is there.
For the LORD God is a sun and shield: the LORD will give grace and glory: no good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly. Psalm 84:11
Have a blessed day,