Our Leaders Are Supposed to Take Care of the “House” (America)

August 25, 2013 at 12:38 PM

It’s important to take care in speaking about those things which you cannot change…

ecclesiastes10_18Though Ecclesiastes is difficult to appreciate, Solomon has some very wise words to share. The tough thing about Ecclesiastes is that it is written in a form of prose that is uncommon today. Because of that, a good many nuances are not seen, that otherwise might be. In other words, it requires some digging and in some cases, lots of it.

Let’s look at verses 16 – 20 of chapter ten.

“16 Woe to you, O land, whose king is a lad and whose princes feast in the morning. 17 Blessed are you, O land, whose king is of nobility and whose princes eat at the appropriate time—for strength and not for drunkenness. 18 Through indolence the rafters sag, and through slackness the house leaks. 19 Men prepare a meal for enjoyment, and wine makes life merry, and money is the answer to everything. 20 Furthermore, in your bedchamber do not curse a king, and in your sleeping rooms do not curse a rich man, for a bird of the heavens will carry the sound and the winged creature will make the matter known.”

Dr. Thomas Constable states, “These proverbs show what bad effects can come from unqualified, irresponsible leadership (cf. Isa. 5:11; Acts 2:15). Verse 19 reflects the bad attitudes of the profligate leaders.”

Solomon references a king who is a “lad” and whose princes feast in the morning. In other words, because of their immaturity and self-centered attitudes, they care nothing about the kingdom that they rule over unless it directly benefits them. What is important to them is feeding their own stomachs and enjoying the benefits of being royalty. Verse 16 is written to specifically contrast with verse 17 where Solomon notes the proper way leaders should be doing things. They understand the business at hand and everything is done in an orderly way. They eat for strength, not for the pleasure of eating and to gorge themselves on delicacies that are available only to kings.

Verses 18 and 19 also connect and in some sense, connect back to verses 16 and 17. Solomon here is speaking of a responsible person vs. an irresponsible one. The irresponsible individual (v. 18) doesn’t care if the roof is ready to cave in or that the house is in such bad shape, rain water pours through during a storm. He is speaking of leaders who do not rule responsibly. They are in their position only to take care of themselves. They don’t really care what the shape the rest of the kingdom is in. Not only do they not care about important things like making sure the roof is in good shape and the house itself does not leak, but all they really want is to eat, drink, and be merry with whatever money can buy.

This is not to say that we should not enjoy food, drink, and the things money can buy for our needs. What it speaks against is being only concerned with these things to the exclusion of other things that are of great importance. A responsible leader takes care of all the things that need his attention. He does not leave things up to chance and he does not ignore those things that must be dealt with.

Verse 20 provides a warning for all who will listen. In the preceding verses (16-19), Solomon discloses information about an irresponsible leader and what that might look like. In verse 20, he goes a step further and warns that during the time when a ruling government becomes fully corrupt, it is important to guard our lips.

Sadly, if a corrupt leadership is ruling, chances are very good that due to their corruption, they won’t like it when anyone speaks against them. When they find people engaging in this, they will likely react by getting rid of you, one way or another. “In spite of such bad leadership, Solomon urged restraint. If you complain, those in authority may eliminate you.” Scary, isn’t it? Yet it makes sense. Generally, leaders who are fearful of those they rule, usually employ spies to learn what is being said about them. If leaders are truly corrupt, they probably have little difficulty using any numbers of ways to take care of people they consider to be problems. A word to the wise.

With this goes a word of caution as well. Constable asks the question, “Was Solomon saying that people should submit to governmental corruption and oppression without ever speaking out?” He answers the question by noting that neither the prophets or Jesus Himself did that. They did not hide the truth. They did not submit to their government’s oppressive rule without question.

However, during a time when the government has become so corrupt that it is impossible to change it and complaining openly about it may do nothing more than put a target on our backs, Solomon seems to be saying that we should refrain from speaking out. “Solomon had conditions in view in which there was no possibility that speaking out would produce any change for the better.”

If what we say or do does nothing to effect any good change in society, then we have lost our influence. Wisdom can only be recognized and used when it is wanted. No amount of wisdom, no matter how beneficial, is useful to those who have created absolute corruption in society. I would agree with Constable who notes, “[Solomon’s] point was, do not endanger your future unnecessarily. He was not speaking about how to effect change in a crooked government.”

There will likely come a time in that type of government where we will be hauled in and questioned anyway. Leave the timing in God’s hands.

I believe our own government is well on its way to this point. Many speak out and at best, slow the process of corruption down, yet it continues.

We need to be wise as serpents and gentle as doves in the coming days as our government turns on its citizens with greater clarity and abuse.

Entry filed under: Life in America, Political Correctness, Politically Correct, Politics, Religious - Christian - Theology.

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