Submit to authority and learn to enjoy life
OBJECTIVES IN STUDYING THIS CHAPTER
1) To glean wisdom for enduring evil and oppressive governments
2) To note the similarity between the Preacher’s conclusion and the book of Job about the inability of man to discern all of the work of God
I. ENDURING THE GOVERNMENTS OF MEN
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?8 There is no man that hath power over the spirit to retain the spirit; neither hath he power in the day of death: and there is no discharge in that war; neither shall wickedness deliver those that are given to it.
A. SUBMIT TO AUTHORITIES
1. True wisdom is able to change one’s countenance –
2. Obey orders that do not contradict scripture –
Don’t be hasty to do your own thing – (not all authority’s orders are against God’s word) – remember, America is a
great country, but our allegiance to God comes first
a. Be willing to suffer for standing firm in your Biblical
Acts 5:29 Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men.
Acts 4:16-23 Saying, What shall we do to these men? for that indeed a notable miracle hath been done by them is manifest to all them that dwell in Jerusalem; and we cannot deny it. 17 But that it spread no further among the people, let us straitly threaten them, that they speak henceforth to no man in this name. 18 And they called them, and commanded them not to speak at all nor teach in the name of Jesus. 19 But Peter and John answered and said unto them, Whether it be right in the sight of God to hearken unto you more than unto God, judge ye.20 For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard.21 So when they had further threatened them, they let them go, finding nothing how they might punish them, because of the people: for all men glorified God for that which was done. 22 For the man was above forty years old, on whom this miracle of healing was shewed. 23 And being let go, they went to their own company, and reported all that the chief priests and elders had said unto them.
b. respect their authority, but Honor Christ first
- A wise man will understand that judgment will come in God’s
own time, so don’t resort to rebellion just to have your way
Romans 13:1 Let every soul be subject unto the higher
powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are
ordained of God.
1 Peter 2:11-17 – Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers
and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul; 12 Having your conversation honest among the Gentiles: that, whereas they speak against you as evildoers, they may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation. 13 Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake: whether it be to the king, as supreme; 14 Or unto governors, as unto them that are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers, and for the praise of them that do well. 15 For so is the will of God, that with well doing ye may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men:16 As free, and not using your liberty for a cloke of maliciousness, but as the servants of God. 17 Honour all men. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honour the king.
ANTICIPATE WICKED RULERS
ECCLESIASTES 9-13 All this have I seen, and applied my heart unto every work that is done under the sun: there is a time wherein one man ruleth over another to his own hurt.10 And so I saw the wicked buried, who had come and gone from the place of the holy, and they were forgotten in the city where they had so done: this is also vanity.11 Because sentence against an evil work is not executed speedily, therefore the heart of the sons of men is fully set in them to do evil.12 Though a sinner do evil an hundred times, and his days be prolonged, yet surely I know that it shall be well with them that fear God, which fear before him:13 But it shall not be well with the wicked, neither shall he prolong his days, which are as a shadow; because he feareth not before God.
1. There will be times when men rule to their own ruin
2. They will soon be forgotten after their demise
3. Why do some persist in their evil?
a. Because their judgment does not occur immediately
b. They might be God’s instrument to lead His people to repentance.
c. They will be judged in God’s timing, not ours
O LORD God, to whom vengeance belongeth; O God, to whom vengeance belongeth, shew thyself.2 Lift up thyself, thou judge of the earth: render a reward to the proud.3 LORD, how long shall the wicked, how long shall the wicked triumph?4 How long shall they utter and speak hard things? and all the workers of iniquity boast themselves?5 They break in pieces thy people, O LORD, and afflict thine heritage.6 They slay the widow and the stranger, and murder the fatherless.7 Yet they say, The LORD shall not see, neither shall the God of Jacob regard it.8 Understand, ye brutish among the people: and ye fools, when will ye be wise?9 He that planted the ear, shall he not hear? he that formed the eye, shall he not see?10 He that chastiseth the heathen, shall not he correct? he that teacheth man nowledge, shall not he know?11 The LORD knoweth the thoughts of man, that they are vanity.12 Blessed is the man whom thou chastenest, O LORD, and teachest him out of thy law;13 That thou mayest give him rest from the days of adversity, until the pit be digged for the wicked.14 For the LORD will not cast off his people, neither will he forsake his inheritance.15 But judgment shall return unto righteousness: and all the upright in heart shall follow it.16 Who will rise up for me against the evildoers? or who will stand up for me against the workers of iniquity?17 Unless the LORD had been my help, my soul had almost dwelt in silence.18 When I said, My foot slippeth; thy mercy, O LORD, held me up.19 In the multitude of my thoughts within me thy comforts delight my soul.20 Shall the throne of iniquity have fellowship with thee, which frameth mischief by a law?21 They gather themselves together against the soul of the righteous, and condemn the innocent blood.22 But the LORD is my defence; and my God is the rock of my efuge.23 And he shall bring upon them their own iniquity, and shall cut them off in their own wickedness; yea, the LORD our God shall cut them off.
II. ENDURING THE VANITY OF THIS LIFE (8:14-17)
14 There is a vanity which is done upon the earth; that there
be just men, unto whom it happeneth according to the work
of the wicked; again, there be wicked men, to whom it
happeneth according to the work of the righteous: I said that
this also is vanity. 15 Then I commended mirth, because a
man hath no better thing under the sun, than to eat, and to
drink, and to be merry: for that shall abide with him of his
labour the days of his life, which God giveth him under the
sun. 16 When I applied mine heart to know wisdom, and to
see the business that is done upon the earth: (for also there is
that neither day nor night seeth sleep with his eyes:) 17 Then
I beheld all the work of God, that a man cannot find out the
work that is done under the sun: because though a man
labour to seek it out, yet he shall not find it; yea further;
though a wise man think to know it, yet shall he not be able to
A. EXPECT PERPLEXITY ( verse 14, 16-17)
- Sometimes the righteous suffer, and the wicked prosper, which is vanity
- One cannot always understand why things happen the way they do (remember Job?)
B. ENJOY LIFE (verse 15)
1. Delight in the fruits of your own labor
a. Be merry in the things God has given you – Proverbs 15:13 A
merry heart maketh a cheerful countenance: but by sorrow
of the heart the spirit is broken.
Proverbs 15:15 All the days of the afflicted are evil: but he
that is of a merry heart hath a continual feast.
Proverbs 17:22 A merry heart doeth good like a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones.
Ecclesiastes 9:7 Go thy way, eat thy bread with joy, and drink thy wine with a merry heart; for God now accepteth thy works.
b. As you labor in the days God has given you in life under the
2. The advice given throughout this book – 2:24-26 24 There is
nothing better for a man, than that he should eat and drink,
and that he should make his soul enjoy good in his labour.
his also I saw, that it was from the hand of God. 25 For who
can eat, or who else can hasten hereunto, more than I?26 For
God giveth to a man that is good in his sight wisdom, and
knowledge, and joy: but to the sinner he giveth travail, to
gather and to heap up, that he may give to him that is good
before God. This also is vanity and vexation of spirit.;
3:12-13 12 I know that there is no good in them, but for a
man to rejoice, and to do good in his life.13 And also that
every man should eat and drink, and enjoy the good of all his
labour, it is the gift of God.
5:18-20 Behold that which I have seen: it is good and
comely for one to eat and to drink, and to enjoy the good of
all his labour that he taketh under the sun all the days of his
life, which God giveth him: for it is his portion. 19 Every
man also to whom God hath given riches and wealth, and
hath given him power to eat thereof, and to take his portion,
and to rejoice in his labour; this is the gift of God.20 For he
shall not much remember the days of his life; because God
answereth him in the joy of his heart.