Ecclesiastes 8 has Solomon continuing to share his thoughts on wisdom. “A man’s wisdom makes his face shine, and the hardness of his face is changed”. He knew that wisdom makes a man happier and changes him. A shining face indicates the glow of the facial expression of a man who knows things from God’s perspective. There is confidence and understanding. Wisdom changes us. As we allow God’s perspective to take over the way we see the world, our heart becomes more aligned with His and our external impact is changed.
Solomon continues by challenging us to walk in submission to authority. “Keep the king’s command, because of God’s oath to him”. This is a tough pill to swallow, as often we don’t necessarily like or agree with those who are in authority. But scripture is clear that we are to obey those in authority over us. It is part of our obedience to God. Obedience is not based on agreement, but rather a choice to do what God has commanded us. In the event that an earthly authority asks us to do something that is in conflict with God’s commands, we then need to tactfully refuse the earthly authority. Obedience to God takes precedence over all others.
Our time on earth is limited and no one knows when that time will come. “No man has power to retain the spirit, or power over the day of death”. We don’t have assurance about most things in life, but we certainly do this one. 100% of mankind will die (unless Jesus comes first). We can’t control the time or place. We can’t determine the how or why. We merely can know it will come and we need to be prepared for that time. We will stand before God when death comes. That’s another thing we can be assured of. There is a judgment we will face. We need to be ready for that as well!
Solomon goes on to say “Though a sinner does evil a hundred times and prolongs his life, yet I know that it will be well with those who fear God, because they fear before him”. It seems that sometimes those who do evil get rewarded for their actions. And on earth, that may in fact be the case. But it is only temporary gain. We’re all going to stand before God and face Him some day. How we live will matter. Our entrance into Heaven and eternity with Him will be based on how we’ve addressed our sin – as we’re all sinners and guilty of disobedience and falling short of God’s requirements. If we’ve accepted the grace of the blood of Christ’s death on the cross, we’ll gain entry. If not, eternity will be apart from God. There will be a day of reckoning. We must never lose sight of that.