Today: [Ecclesiastes 8] Follow the Command of God or Men? In chapter 8 Solomon speaks of the wisdom that causes man’s face to shine. The New Testament teaches us that wisdom is much more than human learning. Wisdom according to 1 Cor. 1:30,31 is found in the person of Christ. God made Jesus to be our wisdom. In that context Solomon commands us to keep the commandment of the king. What king are we speaking of if not king Jesus? When we allow others to usurp in our lives the Lordship of Jesus Christ and His wisdom in us we place ourselves at a great disadvantage.
[Ecc 8:1-17 KJV] 1 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.
In this chapter Solomon speaks of the nature of wisdom and the commandment of the king. Verse 1 tells us that a man’s wisdom makes his face to shine and the boldness of his face to be changed. What does this mean? Remember that 1 Cor. 1:30,31 tells us that Jesus is our wisdom. Our wisdom is a person – it is found in the person of the Lord Jesus Christ. The face is a metaphor in the scripture for the human spirit. When the bible speaks of the face in many places it is referring to the spirit of man. Reading from that perspective then we see that Wisdom (Jesus) causes the face (your human spirit) to shine (with the glory of God). Col. 1:27 confirms this saying in the teaching of the apostle Paul that “Christ in you is the hope of glory…”
The boldness of face that Solomon refers to corresponds to the strength of heart prophesied by the prophet Daniel regarding those that know God:
[Dan 11:32 KJV] 32 … the people that do know their God shall be strong, and do [exploits].
Where does this strength and boldness come from? The next verse instructing us to keep the commandment of the king as the oath of God in our heart. This is what Jesus referred to when He said in John 5:19 that He only did what He saw the Father do. Our mandate as believers is to commune with the wisdom of God personified by Christ living in our heart and to do what the Father commands us to do on a moment by moment basis. This is what Isaiah prophesied of:
[Isa 30:21 KJV] 21 And thine ears shall hear a word behind thee, saying, This [is] the way, walk ye in it, when ye turn to the right hand, and when ye turn to the left.
There is a difference between the commandment of God and the law of God. The law of God is found in His word. The commandment of God is the voice of God speaking in your life on a day to day basis. What does God want you to do? Look to His word – and listen to the inward voice of the Father that Jesus referred to when He said His sheep would hear His voice and another they would not follow. It is astonishing that many Christians, perhaps the majority in the Christian world have not be taught to become acquainted with and to follow intimately not only the mandates of the written word of God but the directions of the inward witness of the voice of the Holy Spirit.
9 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. 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 find [it].
Verse 9 speaks of one man ruling over another to his own hurt. In the body of Christ there are many pernicious teachings about leadership, covering and alignment. If you read in Eph. 4:11-16 you will see that leadership in the body of Christ, over God’s people is about equipping the saints not controlling the saints. In truth, the “covering” teachings that are common in many circles today are a perversion of a covering concept taught in 1 Corinthians 11 that specifically applies within the husband and wife marriage and not beyond it. That very passage tells us that if we prophesy or act for God with our heads covered we are dishonoring our head who is Christ. Gal. 3:28 says that in Christ there is neither male nor female. Are you in Christ? Then why are you talking about covering and feeling like you need to be covered? 1 Cor. 11:7 says a man ought not to cover his head. This even applies to women for Peter spoke in 1 Peter 3:4 of a woman who has in her – in her human spirit the “hidden man of the heart”. In truth men and women are to submit one to another according to Eph. 5:21 and there is little precedent in scripture suggesting that an ecclesiastical leader has the right to dominate or control another believer.
Jesus taught extensively on concepts of leadership and the character of a true leader in the kingdom.
[Mat 23:8-12 KJV] 8 But be not ye called Rabbi: for one is your Master, [even] Christ; and all ye are brethren. 9 And call no [man] your father upon the earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven. 10 Neither be ye called masters: for one is your Master, [even] Christ. 11 But he that is greatest among you shall be your servant. 12 And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted.
The word rabbi is interpreted as calling someone “my master” or “my great one”. Jesus goes on to describe the nature of leadership as that of a servant. Rendered litereally verse 11 reads “he that would be ‘mega’ among you shall be your servant”. Eph. 2:20 reads that the apostles and prophets are part of the foundation with Christ not the head ruling over all but the foundation equipping the saints under Christ. In Luke 22 Jesus defines this even clearer:
[Luk 22:25-27 KJV] 25 And he said unto them, The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and they that exercise authority upon them are called benefactors. 26 But ye [shall] not [be] so: but he that is greatest among you, let him be as the younger; and he that is chief, as he that doth serve. 27 For whether [is] greater, he that sitteth at meat, or he that serveth? [is] not he that sitteth at meat? but I am among you as he that serveth.
We are to honor our leaders. We are to give them deference and receive them as the representatives of Christ in our lives. However when a leader becomes dictatorial or begins to suggest that you cannot be right with God or blessed by God unless you allow them to exert undue influence or control over your life – there is a problem. That kind of influence amounts to witchcraft and sorcery. Many people are struggling in their lives because of misunderstanding in this area. Abraham was not fully blessed of God until he separated from Lot. Lot’s name means “covering”. I would suggest to you that Christ is your covering. Love your leaders. Love them, submit to them and learn from them but always bear in mind that your primary accountability is something worked out between you and God and no man should be allowed to trespass on that holy ground.
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