-Obedience to ruling authorities takes up the majority of this chapter as to its thematic excellence. Interpreting a matter is best left to the wise man who has illumination brightening his countenance. When I think of illumination, I always thing to the Holy Spirit’s work in our lives (John 16:13). Solomon’s advice is to keep the command of the king since we are under oath before God. He says we should not be in a hurry to leave him in joining an evil matter, for the king has power and does whatever he pleases. No one but God can say to him, “What are you doing?” Keeping royal commands from authority causes one to experience no trouble, and a wise heart knows the proper time and procedure to address issues and every delight, even in heavily troubled times (Ecclesiastes 8:1-6).
-“If no one knows what will happen, who can tell when it will happen?” No one of mankind can have the power to restrain the wind with the wind, nor can they claim authority over the day of death. There is no discharge in the time of war, and evil absolutely will NOT deliver those who practice its demonic functions. Solomon now discusses all he had seen and applied to his mind concerning deeds done under the sun wherein a man had exercised authority over another to his hurt. He had seen the wicked buried, presumably there in Jerusalem on the other side of the Kidron Valley on the Mount of Olives, those who he had seen go in and out of the holy place (the Temple he had built under his Father and father’s command, 1 Kings 5-8, 1 Chronicles 22, 2 Chronicles 2-7). He may have even had his half-brother, Absalom, in mind here who had incited a rebellion against David, his father (2 Samuel 15-18). Absalom is buried in this graveyard at the base of the Kidron. But, these were quickly forgotten without people taking enough notice to learn from their treacherous mistakes, which the Preacher saw as futility. He accurately comments, “Because the sentence against an evil deed is not executed quickly, therefore the hearts of the sons of men among them are given fully to do evil.” Then he supports the fear of God theme saying, “Although a sinner does evil a hundred times and may lengthen his life, still I know that it will be well for those who fear God, who fear Him openly.” In contrast, it will NOT be well for the evil man and he typically will NOT lengthen his days like a shadow. Why? Because he does not have a healthy fear of the LORD (Ecclesiastes 8:7-13).
-More futility that Solomon sees revolves around this reoccurring theme of injustice that he has seen under the sun. He has observed righteous men getting the penalty of the wicked and evil men getting away with having the rewards of righteous somehow. These are temporary blessings from a loving Creator in the grand scheme of things, but it bothers the king as we see here in this passage. When judging just on temporal arrangements, things often appear futile. Eating, drinking, and being merry seem to be the only things that stand beside a person in their toils on earth during God’s gift of life. As Solomon continued to express the giving of his heart to know wisdom and observe the task of this earth, which was tireless and all-consuming, he saw every work of God undiscovered by man under the sun. Even though man may seek it out laboriously, he cannot discover such mysteries even though in his pride he may think that somehow he knows (Ecclesiastes 8:14-17).
-*Application* Apart from the LORD’s revelation, we as humans are doomed to disaster and hopelessly applying momentary solutions to an eternal problem. The labor we feel in trying to get things right is obviously draining and too demanding. We must come under God’s authority and the authorities He’s set up in our lives for our well-being (Jeremiah 29:4-7). There is no authority in government, or elsewhere, that has not been established by the God of the universe for His transcendent plan and purpose (Romans 13:1-4). Obedience is key along with a healthy fear. Unfortunately, we see in these last days much lawlessness and anarchy, which destabilizes everything (Matthew 24:12, 2 Thessalonians 2:3, 2 Timothy 2:7, 1 John 3:4). Fortunately, King Jesus will return and straighten everything out (Matthew 7:23; 13:41, Revelation 19:11-16).
Verses to Memorize: Ecclesiastes 8:5, 12