We have just taken some problems about worship. As I read the whole chapter of this book, I’ve
observed that verses 8 and 9 serves as a transitory verse between problems regarding worship and
problems about wealth. I can easy by pass these two verses and proceed with the negatives about
riches and wealth but I don’t think it was the right thing to do. So today, we will be studying these
two transitory verses and see what we can learn as the Holy Spirit guides us into “all truths”. Bear in
mind that the poor are always the victim of social injustice.
I. Oppression (Eccl. 5:8a)
A. To oppress means to load or burden with unreasonable impositions; to treat with unjust severity, rigor or hardship; as, to oppress a nation with taxes or contributions; to oppress one by compelling him to perform unreasonable service. (Webster).
B. Oppression is also defined as the unjust or cruel exercise of authority
1. The Israelites were oppressed when they were in Egypt to the extent that they cried unto the Lord due to the heavy burden they are facing.
2. Another classic example is Hagar’s oppression by Sarah.
3. The rich taking advantage of the poor are everywhere. The poor are always the oppressed people
4. The rich show their power and authority over other poor who cannot resist them and are forced to obey them.
C. Oppression is prohibited by God as it is written in. Lev. 25:14 and James 5:4.
D. Oppression will never go unpunished. Ps. 103:6; Eccles. 5:8; James 5:4
E. God is a refuge from. Ps. 9:9 and God promised aids against oppression. Ps. 12:5;72:4, 14; Jer. 50:34.
F. Oppression is to be opposed by the godly. Isa. 1:17; Acts 7:24; James 2:5-8; Gal. 6:2.
G. Solomon says in this verse that we marvel not, do not be surprised or do not be shocked if you see oppression and injustice.
H. I can see here that during his reign as a king, he was not able to eliminate social injustice and oppression though he knows it’s existence and is very much against it.
I. Man is not perfect, and man has a sin nature so there will be people who will oppress and practice injustice and people who will be oppressed and suffer unjust treatment. .
II. Authority Abuse (Eccl. 5:8b)
A. Authority is the power to give orders or make decisions: the power or right to direct or control someone or something. (Webster)
B. As we can see everywhere, man is not perfect and authority also is not perfect.
C. Man is unjust so there will be injustice and abuse in exercising authority.
D. Everywhere, in the government, family school, office, church, there is a chain of command and this means there is a chain of responsibility. In that context, we will have abusers of authority but they too are under authority.
E. There is a chain of command from the lowest to the highest all the way up to the very throne of God in heaven.
F. What the Bible says about authority
1. Authority is derived from a higher power (Mt. 8:9; 21:23; Mk. 13:34; Lk. 7:8; Jn. 5:27; Acts 8:27; Rev. 13:2). God, of course, is the exception to this, for He is the Source of all authority (Acts 1:7).
2. The Lord Jesus Christ has all authority in Heaven and in earth (Mt. 28:18). The church which seeks to fulfill Christ’s Commission labors under His authority.
3. The Satanic forces are organized into spheres of authority (Eph. 2:2; 6:12; Col 1:16), but all have been defeated by the Cross of Jesus Christ (Eph. 1:21; Col 2:15).
4. The Gospel can deliver a man from Satan’s power unto God (Ac 26:18; Col 1:13).
5. Whatever a man is appointed to do, he must be given the accompanying authority to accomplish it (Mk. 13:34). Responsibility and authority go hand in hand. This is true for every sphere of endeavor, for the parent, for the husband, for the pastor, for the church.
6. The woman is forbidden to usurp authority over the man (1 Tim. 2:12).
7. The husband has authority over his wife’s body, and likewise the wife over the husband’s body (1 Cor. 7:4).
8. The preacher is to speak the Word of God with all authority (Tit. 2:15).
9. The obedient Christian will be given power over the nations (Rev. 2:26).
Illustration: God-Ordained Authorities
1. Government: Rom. 13, 1 Pet. 2:17
2. Employer: Eph. 6, 1 Pet. 2:18
3. Husband: 1 Pet. 3:1, Col. 3:18, Eph. 5:22
4. Parent: Eph. 6
5. Elders: Heb. 13:17 (Source: unknown)
III. Inequality (Eccl. 5:9)
A. The profit of the earth is for all – the earth, if properly cultivated, is capable of producing food for every living creature.
B. It’s a biblical principle, that we must work to eat. (2 Thess. 3:10)
C. The king himself is served by the field and has a duty to protect the lowly farmer who tills the land.
D. It will help to remember that every official in the land has a higher official watching over him-even the king.
E. There is an advantage in having a king over the whole cultivated land, for by his authority he approves the endeavors of men and defends his subjects against wrong, unnecessary burdens, and violence, -poor government is better than no government at all!
F. With the present system where God is shut out of the heart of the rich land owner and the ruling class, they amass more profits than the hard-working farmers who works in the field.
G. The rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer. Inequality nowadays is rampant.
H. The king himself or the elected leaders cannot even lighten the financial difficulties of the people neither give free foods for the poor and the destitute orphans in the streets.
I. Inequality will soon end at the second coming of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
Illustration: Scriptural way of treating the poor
1. They had the right of gleaning the fields (Lev. 19:9, 10; Deut. 24:19, 21).
2. In the sabbatical year they were to have their share of the produce of the fields and the vineyards (Ex. 23:11; Lev. 25:6).
3. In the year of jubilee they recovered their property (Lev. 25:25-30).
4. Usury was forbidden, and the pledged raiment was to be returned before the sun went down (Ex. 22:25-27; Deut. 24:10-13). The rich were to be generous to the poor (Deut. 15:7- 11).
5. In the sabbatical and jubilee years the bond-servant was to go free (Deut. 15:12-15; Lev. 25:39-42, 47-54).
6. Certain portions from the tithes were assigned to the poor (Deut. 14:28, 29; Deut. 26:12, 13).
7. They shared in the feasts (Deut. 16:11, 14; Neh. 8:10).
8. Wages were to be paid at the close of each day (Lev. 19:13).
In the New Testament (Luke 3:11; Luke 14:13; Acts 6:1; Gal. 2:10; Jas. 2:15, 16) we have similar injunctions given with reference to the poor. Begging was not common under the Old Testament, while it was so in the New Testament times (Luke 16:20, 21). But begging in the case of those who are able to work is forbidden, and all such are enjoined to “work with their own hands” as a Christian duty (1Thess. 4:11; 2Thess. 3:7-13; Eph. 4:28). This word is
used figuratively in Mat. 5:3; Luke 6:20; 2Co 8:9; Rev. 3:17. (Illustrated Bible Dictionary)
In this sinful world and imperfect society there will always be oppression, corruption, abuse of authority and social injustice. However, there is a new world coming in which everything will be perfect under the rule of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Would you like to be in that perfect world? If yes, then repent from your sins and receive Him now as your personal Saviour.