Ecclesiastes 8:2-17 NIV
Obey the King
2 Obey the king’s command, I say, because you took an oath before God. 3 Do not be in a hurry to leave the king’s presence. Do not stand up for a bad cause, for he will do whatever he pleases. 4 Since a king’s word is supreme, who can say to him, “What are you doing?” 5 Whoever obeys his command will come to no harm, and the wise heart will know the proper time and procedure. 6 For there is a proper time and procedure for every matter, though a person may be weighed down by misery. 7 Since no one knows the future, who can tell someone else what is to come? 8 As no one has power over the wind to contain it, so no one has power over the time of their death. As no one is discharged in time of war, so wickedness will not release those who practice it. 9 All this I saw, as I applied my mind to everything done under the sun. There is a time when a man lords it over others to his own hurt. 10 Then too, I saw the wicked buried—those who used to come and go from the holy place and receive praise in the city where they did this. This too is meaningless. 11 When the sentence for a crime is not quickly carried out, people’s hearts are filled with schemes to do wrong. 12 Although a wicked person who commits a hundred crimes may live a long time, I know that it will go better with those who fear God, who are reverent before him. 13 Yet because the wicked do not fear God, it will not go well with them, and their days will not lengthen like a shadow. 14 There is something else meaningless that occurs on earth: the righteous who get what the wicked deserve, and the wicked who get what the righteous deserve. This too, I say, is meaningless. 15 So I commend the enjoyment of life because there is nothing better for a person under the sun than to eat and drink and be glad. Then joy will accompany them in their toil all the days of the life God has given them under the sun. 16 When I applied my mind to know wisdom and to observe the labor that is done on earth—people getting no sleep day or night— 17 then I saw all that God has done. No one can comprehend what goes on under the sun. Despite all their efforts to search it out, no one can discover its meaning. Even if the wise claim they know, they cannot really comprehend it.
How easy is it to trust God when the answers are unattainable?
Holy God, I trust You but I am challenged as goodness seems to be swallowed up by evil and I continually face situations that are at odds with my faith. There is wickedness and inequalities all around me. I see the evil in government. Those living sinful lives, who are not punished immediately, prompt others to sin too. They think it is easy to cover up their sins. Even if they get away with their sin on this earth and no one knows, You know. You are waiting, to give them ample time to repent. My concern is not their sins, or how You deal with them, my concern should be about my own sins. My faith in You must be healthy in order to persevere in righteous living while enduring inequity in human government. It is my responsibility to respond wisely and peacefully, knowing there will be no perfect kingdom until the rule of Jesus. I am to be obedient to the rules and laws of the land, even though I don’t like them unless they are in direct opposition to the law of God. I wait for Your wisdom to show me a suitable opportunity to act in such a way that does not disobey the government authorities, but also to not sin against my conscience. Keep me from being distracted from my primary mission. You give me the ability to live for a cause bigger than myself and greater than any human government. You see the misery of Your people like You did the children of Israel in Egypt. You will not allow the misery to go on forever. Help me not despair over these problems, but rather enjoy whatever You have given me in life. Help me to not spend weary days and sleepless nights puzzling over problems to which only You know the answer. It is impossible to understand everything about You. Intelligence does not get me to heaven. You want me to accept You on simple faith. So in faith, let me enjoy life to the fullest on this earth. Let me be thankful for the blessings of this life and enjoy laughter, food, and drink. Answers to my questions and concerns may not be attainable, and Your secrets may not be known until I get to heaven, but I still trust that You are God of the universe and King of all kings. With the help of Your Holy Spirit, let me live in Your wisdom so I show Your character, trust in You, and be blessed by You. Amen