Wisdom on Authority


Hostile Against Authority

Why do people resist those who have authority?  Regardless if it is between parents and their children, teachers and their students, or employers and their employees; there exists a great deal of tension between them, because one has authority over the other.  Where does this hostility that people have for authority come from?  It all started when mankind resisted the ultimate authority.

The First Defiance

When God made Adam and Eve, He gave them the authority to rule over the earth as they saw fit.  The only thing the Lord required them was to respect and obey His authority over them.  Unfortunately, we know the rest of the story; Adam and Eve did not want to be under the Almighty’s reign and wanted the power for themselves.  This desire to resist authority of the Lord, and indeed all who have power, has been passed down from generation to generation, becoming more violent as time progressed.

Defiance is Wickedness

To despise and resist authority figures is a wicked act against the Lord.  That is because all the authority that certain people have does not come from within themselves, but originates from the One who has power over all things: THE LORD GOD.  With that in mind, any time you disobey the authority figures in your life, you are not just offending them, but you are also offending the Almighty.

God’s Authority Over All

Now if God gave people authority, why is there still injustice in the world?  In a perfect world, people who have given power would use it to help others, for this fulfills the wishes of the Lord.  Unfortunately, even those in authority resists their God-given mandate and use their position to get what they want.  With that in mind, when a follower of God is forced to choose between a mandate of man (which goes against the Lord) or the commands of the Almighty, he must resist man’s authority lest he defy the power of the Lord.

Respecting Authority is Wise

Obey the king’s command, I say, because you took an oath before God.   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.  Since a king’s word is supreme, who can say to him, “What are you doing?” (Ecclesiastes 8:2-4 NIV)  The preacher warns us that we must obey the ones who are over us, because it is the wise thing to do.  A wise man recognizes that it is the Lord who gives the power to certain people in order to fulfill His will on the earth.  

A Defiant World

Whoever obeys his command will come to no harm, and the wise heart will know the proper time and procedure. (Ecclesiastes 8:5 NIV)  The man who is wise will understand that to respect man’s authority is to fear the Lord.  However, we live in a world that encourages resistance against all authority.  As a matter of fact, when someone defies an authority figure, they receive praise from their peers.  

The Defiant Will Be Punished

However, the one who has received wisdom from the Lord recognizes that such acts are foolish and wicked.   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.  Yet because the wicked do not fear God, it will not go well with them, and their days will not lengthen like a shadow. (Ecclesiastes 8:12-13 NIV) The preacher reminds us that those who act wickedly and resist authority will in time be punished; if not by man, then by the Lord.

Respect Authority/Respect God

 Therefore, we must exercise wisdom and respect those who are in authority.  We must do this not out of bitter obligation, but out of reverent fear of the Lord.  After all, He is the one who has all the power on the earth.

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