Breaking Allegiances

“Do not make haste to go from before him; do not stand for an evil thing, for he does whatever he pleases. The word of the king is mighty. Who can say, ‘What are you doing?’”

(Ecclesiastes 8:3-4)

It amazes me that every election cycle there is a group of people who say, “If so in so wins the election, I am moving to Canada” or to some other part of the world. Yet, when said candidate wins, they never go anywhere. The fact is, they have it too good in America. Idle threats avail nothing.

Solomon says to us that we ought not hasten to leave the presence of the king — we ought not break our allegiances on a whim, in other words. Sometimes, because we do not see the big picture, we are tempted to protest what those in authority over us might be doing, but often those protests merely stem from the fact that we do not understand what said people understand. 

At the same time, do not stand for that which is genuinely evil or wicked. In other words, there are times to break allegiances; we just need to ensure that we break allegiances for exactly the right reasons. They must not be for selfish reasons or matters of preference, but instead for reasons where to stay would be to sin.

Yet, Solomon also gives us a word of warning. In a land with a king, the king’s word is law and there may be repercussions that follow from breaking allegiances. And, while most of us do not live in nations with a king nor serve a king directly, we sometimes forget that if we work for a private company, often our boss’ word is law. In the life of the church, word of Christ is Law (and the Elders’ have a divine commission to govern the church in that law!). And in America, at least in principle, the Law is meant to be king. Don’t break from these things too rashly; if you do, you will likely regret having done so. God’s law will never cause you to sin; but if man’s law does, that is the only context where Solomon is saying you must then break allegiance.

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