Ecclesiastes 8:5-7 – King Solomon’s Fourth Principle for Good Leaders

This will be my only post for the next two weeks. I will be on vacation as well as driving my daughters all over the place when I’m not on vacation. It’s going to be busy but I am really looking forward to it!

This post discusses King Solomon’s fourth principle for a good leader: a keen judgment (taken from Robert McLaughlin’s commentary on Ecclesiastes which can be ordered for free here). I don’t know about you but most of the places I have worked for have had some very smart people managing the company and making the “big decisions.” The strange thing is that I have trusted some of those people without giving it much thought and some of the others I have never trusted. I suppose that over the years I have learned that someone with a high IQ is not always wise, at least not in a business situation. The qualities listed by King Solomon in Ecclesiastes 8:5-7 are ones that I notice very quickly and will tend to trust the leader who has them. The message of these verses really caught my attention and they probably should catch yours too.

Here is Pastor McLaughlin:

Ecclesiastes 8:5. “He who keeps a royal command experiences no trouble, for a wise heart knows the proper time and procedure.” If you are in a position of authority, God has given you a royal command. Romans 13:1, “Let every person be in subjection to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God.”

God has given you that authority and that royal command. Promotion comes from God alone. Even if it seems as if someone has manipulated their way to the top, or has pushed and politicked for it, remember that they were successful because God promoted them. If someone has talent and charisma and a seemingly natural ability to lead, it was God who gave them those things and they are promoted through the grace of God. All authority comes from God alone.

Ecclesiastes 8:6. “For there is a proper time and procedure for every delight, when a man’s trouble is heavy upon him.” This is stability under pressure and a lack of panic. A good leader is calm, steady, and has keen judgment when trouble is all around. He or she can think clearly under pressure because he knows the proper time and the proper procedure. A good leader is also able to make tough decisions knowing he or she will not be popular at the time.

Ecclesiastes 8:7. “If no one knows what will happen, who can tell him when it will happen?” In context, this verse is saying that since no one under your authority knows what will happen, how can they advise you? This implies that a leader must rely on his own intuition. Intuition is the act of knowing or sensing without the use of rational processes. It is a sense of something not evident or deducible. And you can’t learn intuition from a book, or pick it up from simply watching someone else. You either have it, or you don’t. Good leaders have a sensitive heart toward what’s happening around them. There are opponents of this trait such as insensitivity, preoccupation, panic, indecisiveness, impatience and most of all, insecurity.

The Eight Experiments of Man: A Commentary on the Book of Ecclesiastes
Robert R. McLaughlin
pp 258-259

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