Limited Authority – Ecclesiastes 8:7-9
March 8, 2023, 11:15 AM

“Since no man knows the future, who can tell him what is to come? No man has power over the wind to contain it; so no one has power over the day of his death. As no one is discharged in time of war, so wickedness will not release those who practice it. 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.” Eccl 8: 7-9

We discussed proper authority ordained by God yesterday: government has the right to collect taxes, protect citizens, take care of fire emergencies, build and maintain roads, maintain military, and assist in welfare and social services. No authority in this world is all knowing.

There are no easy answers to complex questions. There is no president, senator, or political leader that is right all the time, because none of us are omniscient. There is no pastor who doesn't make mistakes. There is no boss who makes decisions that are right all the time. We do not know the future and furthermore there are areas leaders stick their noses in where frankly it does not belong.

We must be aware of limited authority.

1) Limited in wisdom, they don't know everything so don't always make the best decisions

2) Limited in power; even though they have authority they may not have the power. Someone said the rebel with the gun may have power, but no authority. Jesus told Pilate that when he was being judged falsely.

3) Authority is limited in that is it also under authority, if by no one else at least to God, for God alone has all power and all wisdom and is the final authority.

Solomon has reminded us, only God knows all things. Only God controls the winds and the storms and all power is in His hands. Only God can forgive sin. That is why we can look to Jesus and call Him our Lord first and foremost. He knows the future. Jesus alone could call the winds and the waves to obey. He did have power of the day of His own death. He conquered death and arose victorious over the grave. Jesus alone could say to people "Your sins are forgiven you.".

When it comes to earthly activity, how do we respond to limited authority? We need to recognize it. We need to pray. I Tim 2:2 says “Pray for those in authority over you.” Pray for all people and for our rulers and not just criticize. I've heard lots of complaints concerning our elected leaders - we need to pray.

When there are complaints about any in leadership positions, recognize their authority is limited. God is in charge, and pray for them.

Application:  Our task is to point each other to Him.

Prayer: Lord, when criticism of those in authority comes to my mind, help me to take it to you and give thanks for the good in that authority and then pry for them.