What is a wise thing to do when there is a conflict between laws or ideologies of God and man?
King Solomon regarded a man who lived a long life to have been wise. “Gray Hair is a crown of glory” he stated in a proverb. Today we have medical knowledge that tends to statistically prove a person will generally live longer if he or she eats healthy and lives with moderation. Also, society deems a person wise who avoids unnecessary personal risks, is law abiding, and aware of the surroundings where they live.
In history, many have chosen to become martyrs and die rather than kneel before a strange God. Some made last statements that the choice they made was to obey a “higher authority” than man. Others chose to live for another day and bowed down to a different god. Whether they did so because of lack of courage, weakness, or perhaps because they feared for what would happen to their family if they died? They may have even chose to pray in secret and alone in private to their God. Which choice was wiser, in my opinion, only their God knows.
While King Solomon never forced anyone to kneel before his God or die, he did state that everyone must obey his laws. In the USA, everyone has a right to choose a faith of their choice or not. However, it is foolish to believe anyone in the USA has the right to kill or harm anyone because of a personal religious belief or law by a “higher authority.”
In ancient times people of God were obliged to obey their earthly King because he was anointed by God. Today a US President when sworn into office takes and oath to uphold the Constitution with the words ending “so help me God.”
What wise practical advice did the philosophic King Solomon give to everyone regardless of their different religious ideology or beliefs in religious laws who lived or visited in his country?
Ecclesiastes Chapter Eight.
2 Obey the king’s command, I say, because you took an oath before God.
Regardless or not if an oath of allegiance was taken, everyone in his country had a first duty to obey the King’s laws. The general principal of this verse is to submit to governing laws of the country you are in.
3 Do not be in a hurry to leave the king’s presence. Do not stand up for a bad cause, for he will do whatever he pleases.
Do not be in a hurry to turn your back from an authority God put in place. If a governing authority abuses their powers, do not rebel in an unrighteous way to avoid harm for yourself or others. Do not fight evil with evil. For when you do, your cause becomes a bad cause because you become the same as the abuser in authority.
4 Since a king’s word is supreme, who can say to him, “What are you doing?”
In ancient times the king’s word was supreme and no one had the authority to question him once he made a final decision. In the USA, the Supreme Court is a final authority.
In other words, King Solomon’s words of wisdom advice was this. Obedience to a king is not an option when you are in a king’s presence (country). Today, a personal choice of a different faith is a right in the USA as well as many other countries. However, it is neither wise nor rightful to disobey any laws of the King or country authority they live in or visit.
Fourteen hundred years later, Saint Augustine, another religious philosopher gave this brief version of his wise words of advice on the subject of different religious beliefs.
“When in Rome do as the Romans.”
He lived to a wise old age of seventy five and died of natural causes.
Regards and goodwill blogging.