Submission to Authorities
Good men from the beginning of time have been oppressed by evil, abusive, and arrogant tyrants.
Millions of innocent lives have suffered physical abuse, mental torture, as well as untimely death
due to capricious rulers who used and took advantage of them. The pharaoh of Egypt is a classic
example. Hitler, Stalin, Pol Pot, Saddam, Idi Amin, Khaddaffi, are modern day despots who for their
personal gain, destroyed countless number of lives. Solomon though no blood in his hand, is also
guilty of oppressing and giving heavy burdens to the Israelites. (1 Kings 12:4).
I. The wise man
A. Here the wise man is the one who can see the whole situation and act accordingly.
He knows the interpretation or the explanation of the situation.
B. By his wise action and good behaviour, he can avoid untoward situation that could
lead him to harm.
C. The term “a man’s wisdom maketh his face to shine” means his wisdom makes him a
source of blessings to others. He knows God’s Word and applies it to his everyday
life. His face literally shows it. He has a cheerful soul and his face shines. His face is
but a reflection of his heart.
D. Having a personal relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ results in peace, joy, and
happiness which affects your countenance.
E. One of the best expressions of wisdom, aside from anything spiritual is the wise man
will behave well under authority.
Illustration: The Lighted Face Of Judson
Many years ago when the great missionary Adoniram Judson was home on furlough, he passed
through the city of Stonington, Connecticut. A young boy playing about the wharves at the time of
Judson’s arrival was struck by the man’s appearance. Never before had he seen such a light on any
human face. He ran up the street to a minister to ask if he knew who the stranger was. The minister
hurried back with him, but became so absorbed in conversation with Judson that he forgot all about
the impatient youngster standing near him.
Many years afterward that boy—who could never get away from the influence of that wonderful
face—became the famous preacher Henry Clay Trumbull. In a book of memoirs, he penned a chapter
entitled: “What a Boy Saw in the Face of Adoniram Judson.” That lighted countenance had changed
his life. Even as flowers thrive when they bend to the light, so shining, radiant faces come to those
who constantly turn toward Christ! Encyclopedia of 15,000 Illustrations: Signs of the Times.
II. Keep the King’s commandment (Eccl. 8:2-5a)
A. In Biblical times, the king has the authority in almost everything including the life
and death of his subjects.
B. Opposing the king is useless and dangerous. No one can question what he is doing.
C. The main idea here is obey the King’s command
D. Respect and maintain your allegiance to him and you will be safe. (Eccl. 8:3).
E. Solomon is teaching us not to abandon our support for a leader just because he does
not do what you wanted or expected him to do.
F. Eccl. 4:13-16 tells us how a king’s popularity can quickly fade. Someone new comes
along and the people goes to his side abandoning the present leader.
G. Two responses:
1. Rebel or go against the authority. When we do this, you join the wrong side.
Satan loves disorder. The more trouble he can cause, the more fertile nations
will be for dictators.
a. The warning is backed up by the fact that a king can inflict whatever
punishment he wants on the rebels.
b. Can a Christian disobey the government? Do we have the right to resist the
authority when we feel the governing authority is not just? What about
God’s word in Romans 13: 1-2?
c. Thomas Jefferson wrote “Resistance to tyrants is obedience to God.” Was he
d. I would say that Solomon does not want Christians to resist and start
rebellion against the government.
2. The Word of God is very clear,”We ought to obey God rather than men” (Acts
a. The Law of God is still higher than the law of the land. Look at what the
Egyptian midwives did. They disobeyed the Pharaoh’s order to kill the new
born baby boys. (Ex. 1:15-21)
b. Do we have to shed our blood just to stand up for the right just like the
c. We need wisdom and grace when it comes to disagreeing and resisting with
Illustration: Which Commandment To Obey?
There is a story told in Benjamin Franklin’s autobiography of a clergyman who was ordered to read
the proclamation issued by Charles I, bidding the people to return to sports on Sundays. To his
congregation’s horror and amazement, he did read the royal edict in church, which many clergy had
refused to do. But he followed it with the words, “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy,” and
added: “Brethren, I have laid before you the commandment of your king and the Commandment of
your God. I leave it to you to judge which of the two ought rather to be observed.”
III. Spiritual Discernment (Eccl. 8:5b – 9)
A. Discernment in Scripture is the skill that enables us to differentiate. It is the ability to
see issues clearly. We desperately need to cultivate this spiritual skill that will enable
us to know right from wrong. We must be prepared to distinguish light from
darkness, truth from error, best from better, righteousness from unrighteousness,
purity from defilement, and principles from pragmatics.
B. It is an established fact that obedience to God’s law or man’s law results in peace.
C. The wise man discerneth both time and judgment in the sense that:
1. He knows that judgement and punishment will fall upon those who breaks the law.
2. He practices patience and is a law-abiding citizen in the community.
3. He knows that judgment will come for both the righteous and the wicked.
4. He knows that “there is a time there for every purpose and for every work “
5. We all want to see the wicked to be punished swiftly and justly, but life does not
always work that way.
6. A wise man knows that judgment even if it is delayed now will surely be given
and the wicked will never go unpunished.
7. What Solomon is emphasizing here is, we don’t have to resort to rebellion even
if the present government or rule is not doing what they are supposed to do.
(Rom. 13:1-7; 1 Pet. 2:11-17)
Submission to authorities is one of our obligation to follow as a peaceful and law-abiding
citizen of the land. In this life, we need Christ’s wisdom and grace to help us discern how
are we going to live a life in this imperfect and unjust world. But grieve not for Christ will
be coming soon to make everything right.