Reading Assignment: Ecclesiastes 8:2-9 and Ecclesiastes 10:4-7
Did you understand what you read?
- The Israelites had to obey their Kings because of their promise to God. Do Christians have to obey their rulers today?
- Give two reasons why one shouldn't leave the presence of a king quickly.
- If a ruler decides to do wrong, do we continue to obey him?
- Why should we not directly question a ruler's commands?
- Why is timing important when bringing a petition before a ruler?
- If a ruler unjustly rules against us, what should bring us comfort?
The Israelites were required to obey their rulers because of their promise to God. That promise occurred on two different occasions. The first was after God brought the Israelites out of the land of Egypt and gave them the law of Moses (Deut. 17:14-20). The second time was when the people demanded a king from God (I Sam. 10:24-25). Because of their promise to God, all Israelites were obligated to obey the king. Christians are also to obey their governmental rulers (Rom. 13:1-7). It doesn't matter whether we live under a good government or a bad one. We must obey our rulers so long as they do not break God's law (Acts 4:18-20).
Solomon then describes the proper behavior before a king. Actually, the suggestions that Solomon gives can be applied to any person in authority, not just a king.
First, don't be in hurry to leave a ruler's presence. If the ruler gets mad at you, don't stomp off in a huff. The ruler may eventually calm down and see things your way (Eccl. 10:4). If you leave, the ruler may forget about you and your problem. The old cliche applies here: "Out of sight, out of mind."
Secondly, don't take a stand for evil doing, even if the king is all for it. Evil is wrong, no matter who is behind it (Eccl. 10:5-7). It may be that from God's viewpoint, the ruler is crawling on the ground and his servants are riding on horses. Always stand on God's side, since that is what truly matters in the long run.
Finally, always remember that the ruler is in control. Don't quickly question his commands. If you must disagree, carefully consider what you will say and then pick a good time to address the ruler. In general, be obedient to your ruler. When you have a petition to bring before the ruler, pick the time for presenting it carefully. If the ruler decides against you, despite your careful wording and timing, keep a proper perspective on life. The physical world is only temporary. The spiritual world is much more important. A decision against you can only effect you for a little while. A ruler does not have control over your life after death. This is why it is so important not to follow a king into wickedness. Justice will triumph in the end.
- Is it all right to break a law if you think it is foolish? Why or why not? (Examples: speeding, wearing seatbelts.)
- Are there laws today that a Christian must break because they violate God's word? If so, what are they?