Abused Authority – Ecclesiastes 8:9-11,14
March 9, 2023, 11:56 AM

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, the hearts of the people are filled with schemes to do wrong. 14. There is something else meaningless that occurs on earth: righteous men who get what the wicked deserve, and wicked men who get what the righteous deserve. This too, I say, is meaningless. Eccl. 8:9-11,14

Unfortunately, with authority comes abuse. Power goes to one’s head when he inflicts injustice on another. It may not be for profit, but for power. There is the constant temptation of leaders to misuse their position for selfish purposes or pride. It is easy for public servants to become public masters. That is another reason why leaders need our prayers.

I read a story of one of the hired hands working on Teddy Roosevelt’s ranch in North Dakota. He captured a maverick, a wild horse, on another man's land. According to the law it belonged to the neighbor. Roosevelt’s cowhand was about to put his boss’s brand on. Teddy Roosevelt stopped him and fired him on the spot. He explained "Any man who will steal for me, will steal from me."

I don't understand companies who try to get sales representatives to misrepresent their product, for they are encouraging liars and dishonest persons as employees. They will fail one way or the other sooner or later.

When government exceeds God's authority and promotes ungodly results then it ceases to be legitimate authority and must be corrected or disobeyed, if it is contrary to God’s laws. When those in authority fail to see they are under the greater heavenly authority, the apostle Peter stated, “We must obey God rather than man.” It is the same principle when your employer asks you to do dishonest things or when parents abuse their children instead of protecting them and caring for them. Sexual and physical abuse results when empowered people seek to get their way.

Solomon says he sees cruelty done and lording it over others to their own hurt. He's seen wicked buried and then listened to their eulogy. Many wicked are praised at death, but they will be facing the One who has final authority and then it's too late to change.

If all authority is granted by God, that does not mean all things a person in that position does is allowed by God. Someday there will be an accounting of how each does his or her work.

Prayer:  Lord, keep me from compromising my values or abusing any authority you have given me.