Marvel Not at the Matter




If thou seest the oppression of the poor, and violent perverting of judgment and justice in a province, marvel not at the matter: for he that is higher than the highest regardeth; and there be higher than they.

Ecclesiastes 5:8


  1. Large political, social, or moral changes cause angst and/or anger to the Lord’s people everywhere.
  2. Modern communication, the Internet, social media, and other changes spread events once localized.
  3. Pictures, videos, and sound bites are sensationalized to accentuate fear, anger, frustration, and worry.
  4. The breakdown of authority, caused by the government, has resulted in turning things upside down.
  5. Rather than rulers oppressing, the entitled brats under their rule oppress others and the government.
  6. Life on earth must be ruled by God’s word to avoid political, social, or moral injustice ruining life.
  7. This upside down world is the judgment of God and folly of government (Is 3:1-5,12; Eccl 10:5-7).
  8. The Bible has all the answers to every issue, including this one, as Solomon’s text so clearly states.
  9. Numerous problems in America or ISIS in Europe, the foundations are out of course (Psalm 82:5).
  10. This worldview must be taught and repeated to make sure we never doubt who is in total control.
  11. Solomon summarized human existence in this sinful world as … all is vanity and vexation of spirit.
  12. The corruption of civil authority (and all other spheres) is one of life’s very vain vexations of spirit.
  13. This text is much needed and used in the Bible for dealing with civil government and national news.
  14. Could be titled … Peace in a Storm … Who Will Laugh Last? … He Who Laughs Last, Laughs Best … Higher than the Highest.
  15. Could be studied in much greater depth and length; those desiring to do so may consult links below.
  16. Let this middle clause, marvel not at the matter, be our mantra and banner for confident living.

Current events

  1. This preacher was moved to this text by anarchic unrest at the University of Missouri (Nov, 2015).
  2. Unbeknownst to him, God redirected his preparations with ISIS killing many in Paris (11/13/2015).
  3. Europe and America presently face an overwhelming immigration horde of Muslims and Mexicans.
  4. Demonstrations in Ferguson, MO and Baltimore, MD about police brutality have ignited rebel fools.
  5. America continues to rush down into the moral abyss of abortion, sodomy, evolution, and confusion.
  6. She allows most any perversity among men while condemning the Bible, creation, strong police, etc.
  7. Instead of duties and responsibilities being publicized and promoted, demands and rights are exalted.
  8. Contrary to oppressive government in many respects, we see perverse rebellion against government.


If thou seest the oppression of the poor,

  1. Human authority in all five spheres is always imperfect, but it is still God’s ordinance.
  2. The issue considered here is not faults or mistakes but rather oppression of the poor.
  3. Solomon’s analysis of life on earth included corruption and oppression (Ec 3:16; 4:1).
  4. We see oppression of the poor from abortion to jobs lost to immigrants to poor police.
  5. We see more things and hear more things by a factor of a thousand than any other age.
  6. You cannot avoid seeing oppression today, for it is on the smart phone in your pocket.
  7. Technological advances of the last 150 years create new challenges against godliness.

And violent perverting of judgment and justice in a province,

  1. The issue considered here is not faults or mistakes but the violent perverting of right.
  2. There were world empires in the O.T., where distant rulers created provinces and deputies to run them that could easily abuse power in occupied states … 127 in Persia.
  3. There are examples of such violence provided below both from the Bible and history.
  4. In some respects the trial and crucifixion of Jesus was the worst violence of all time, yet even this event was in all details according to God’s sovereign rule (Acts 4:27-28).
  5. Learning the Bible has a negative – you get wisdom exposing man’s folly (Eccl 1:18).
  6. If events make you angry, frustrated, fearful, or worried … the next words are for you.

Marvel not at the matter:

  1. Marvel. To be filled with wonder or astonishment; to be struck with surprise.
  2. The sense of marvel here is like John wondering about the great whore (Rev 17:6-7).
  3. The definition of marvel here is somewhat different from the amazement in I Pet 3:6.
  4. Do not be surprised or confused by the perverting of justice in local or national affairs.
  5. Government was ordained to protect the poor, perverting its purpose causes surprise.
  6. Government was ordained to enforce justice, perverting its purpose causes surprise.
  7. There is no reason to lose confidence or trust in God when seeing His regents sin.
  8. There is no reason to fear or worry about political events with God totally in control.
  9. We know rulers should rule in five spheres, but God sees and will avenge all wrong.
  10. Atheists are known to argue that there cannot be a God with so much evil in the world.
    1. They can only argue against the Arminian God – good, omniscient, omnipotent.
    2. If a good God knows evil is occurring and can stop it but does not, there is no God.
    3. We know our God is good but governs and uses evil for good known only to Him.
    4. The folly of this world as it shows greater and greater insanity should not move us.
  11. You need not fear, read the news, stockpile foolishly, join patriots, or other vanity.
  12. Encourage yourself in the Lord, as with Psalm 18, and know that their end is coming.
  13. The existence of evil, including places of justice (3:16), should not cause us to marvel in our worldview, because (1) men are inherently corrupt, depraved, and selfish; (2) God knows and uses all events of injustice; and (3) He will certainly judge all wrong.
  14. There is no mention here to get involved in politics, demonstrating, rebelling, etc., etc.

For he that is higher than the highest regardeth;

  1. Here is the reason we should not marvel, wonder, be astonished, or be surprised at all.
  2. The highest authority on earth or in heaven is under the higher authority of Jehovah.
  3. There are generally three degrees of authority – high, higher, highest – God is fourth!
  4. There is no earthly authority beyond the view and rule of God’s righteous judgment.
  5. He is 11 times in both testaments called the most high God (Gen 14:18; Acts 16:17).
  6. There are 37 more times He is referenced as most high (De 32:8; Ps 47:2; Dan 7:27).
  7. God is not a spectator like Deistic heresy; He observes rulers with holiness (Pr 15:3).
  8. He will never forget, though He may wait a while (Amos 8:7; II Sam 21:1-9; Jehu).
  9. Our God records every injustice, and He will repay in the most perfect way possible.
  10. Let Psalm 82 comfort you about any politicians not doing their God-assigned duties.
  11. No matter what conspiracy you fall for, Jesus Christ must humble himself to look down far enough to see their impotent plans of oppression and violence (Ps 113:5-6).
  12. The highest authority and evil in the universe is the devil and his angels, as in the case of the devils behind the Persian and Greek empires (Dan 10:13,20), yet they cannot even drown a pig without express permission from our brother the Prince of peace.

And there be higher than they.

  1. The pomp, power, presence, or popularity of a ruler can be overwhelming to a citizen.
  2. The great difficulty citizens have to even meet rulers takes the issue from their hands.
  3. There is an authority and power higher than any earthly, heavenly, or hellish authority.
  4. There are angels over every earthly ruler and nation, yet they are far beneath Jehovah.
  5. When you think power is in Washington or ISIS, you have forgotten Jerusalem above.
  6. Not only is the LORD Jehovah higher, He is also terrible and a great King (Ps 47:2).

Examples of violence by Government

  1. Pharaoh oppressed the O.T. church, and God heard their sighing (Ex 18:10-11; 9:16).
  2. God ripped Eli’s family tree to shreds for wickedness of his priest sons (I Sa 2:27-36).
  3. Saul’s family tree was ripped to shreds for a variety of sins against God (II Sa 21:1-9).
  4. Ask Ahab and Jezebel about consequences for stealing from Naboth (I Kgs 21:17-24).
  5. Sennacherib blasphemed and threatened Judah, but he was destroyed (Isaiah 10:5-19).
  6. Joash did not remember Jehoiada’s kindness to him, but God did (II Chron 24:19-27).
  7. Who surely moved Nero to burn Rome (six days of fire) and why? All glory to God!
  8. Read Psalm 2 to see about the enemies of Jesus Christ; think 70 A.D. and 476 A.D.
  9. For many examples of God over kings.

Examples of violence against Rulers

  1. What is the first example of rebellion against authority? What happened (Matt 25:41)?
  2. Korah and company thought to rebel against Moses – think again (Numbers 16:1-50)!
  3. Absalom rebelled against his father king David, no matter the reason (II Sa 18:9-15).
  4. Ask the men of Persia what happened to them for unjustly accusing Daniel (Da 6:24).
  5. Men are perversely against rulers today; are such rebels worth double God’s wrath?

Examples of simple Arrogance and Wickedness

  1. Shushan was perplexed (Es 3:15) – the Persian capital marveled – but God regarded!
    1. Haman did not last for very long; God destroyed Haman as only Jehovah could.
    2. He and his sons were killed on his own gallows that he had designed for Mordecai.
    3. Before he got to die he had to publicly honor Mordecai in the streets of Shushan.
    4. His crafty legislation against the Jews turned to allow the Jews to kill all enemies.
    5. He had to endure a lunch with Esther, where Ahasuerus implied his attempted rape.
  2. Herod Agrippa I should not have messed with the apostles of Jesus, but God regarded!
    1. In a shining silver robe, he gave an oration on his throne to sycophants in Caesarea.
    2. Foolish people cried, It is the voice of a god, and not of a man. They were wrong.
    3. Because Herod did not give God the glory, the angel of the Lord fatally smote him.
    4. He was eaten internally by worms and then died. Why? Because he killed James!
    5. Josephus (37-100) gave an interesting account.
  3. Abortion, sought by the most vile, results in limiting their population (Eze 20:25-26).

God will right all Wrongs

  1. Job and his friends knew God would surely judge wicked men (Job 20:4-29; 27:7-23).
  2. Note how David prayed and promised God’s judgment on wicked men (Ps 12:1-5).
  3. God sits as Judge of all the earth and will not miss any injustice of any sort – so do not marvel (Ps 58:11; 68:5; 82:1-8; 140:11-12; Ezek 22:6-16; Mal 3:5; James 5:1-8).
  4. God promised to judge Israel, including plowing of Zion (Mic 2:1-3; 3:9-12; 6:10-13).

Application of the Text

  1. Nothing should move us to fear, worry, or ungodly anger, no matter what the news is.
  2. Do not get confused by widespread wickedness or then its judgment (Hab 1:2-4,13).
  3. All of history should be viewed as His story – the working out of God’s secret will.
  4. God uses kings, nations, and armies like an axe, saw, or rod for His ends (Is 10:5-15).
  5. Pray for our rulers, as the Jews in Babylon and Paul for Rome (Jer 29:4-7; I Ti 2:1-3).
  6. Obey your rulers at every level in every sphere, for God regards your perversion also.
  7. Prayer for God’s judgment on evil men is good i.e. ISIS (Ps 55:9; 58:1-11; 83:1-18).
  8. Blood, shame, and pain will come on this nation for crimes at all levels e.g. rejection of Creator, rejection of any moral restraint, abortion, Christian compromise, etc.


  1. Marvel not at the matter should be our mantra, banner, and comfort in this corrupt and wicked earth.
  2. This upside down world is the judgment of God and folly of government (Is 3:1-5,12; Eccl 10:5-7).
  3. The Bible has all the answers to every issue, including this one, as Solomon’s text so clearly states.
  4. Numerous problems in America or ISIS in Europe, the foundations are out of course (Psalm 82:5).
  5. This worldview must be taught and repeated to make sure we never doubt who is in total control.
  6. Consider the suggested other sources below to get an even broader and deeper treatment of the topic.
  7. Identify your favorite verses on this subject, including Eccl 5:8, and hold on to them for perfect faith.
  8. We should be incredibly thankful, as was David in Psalm 18, for God’s deliverance of His people.

For Further Study:

  1. Slide Presentation: Living Under Obama.
  2. Web Document: God Bless the IRS.
  3. Sermon Outline:  King of Kings.
  4. Slide Presentation:  Right Side Up.
  5. Sermon Outline:  Dominion of God.
  6. Slide Presentation: Death of a Nation.
  7. Slide Presentation:  Techno Sins.
  8. Sermon Outline: Ordinance of Authority.
  9. Proverb Commentary: Proverbs 21:1.
  10. Quiz about Jehoiada, the protector of Joash.
  11. Ecclesiastes series with 63 lessons from Solomon … not in e-format at this time.


From Josephus, Antiquities 19.8.2 343-361: “Now when Agrippa had reigned three years over all Judea he came to the city Caesarea, which was formerly called Strato’s Tower; and there he exhibited spectacles in honor of Caesar, for whose well-being he’d been informed that a certain festival was being celebrated. At this festival a great number were gathered together of the principal persons of dignity of his province. On the second day of the spectacles he put on a garment made wholly of silver, of a truly wonderful texture, and came into the theater early in the morning. There the silver of his garment, being illuminated by the fresh reflection of the sun’s rays, shone out in a wonderful manner, and was so resplendent as to spread awe over those that looked intently upon him. Presently his flatterers cried out, one from one place, and another from another, (though not for his good) that he was a god; and they added, “Be thou merciful to us; for although we have hitherto reverenced thee only as a man, yet shall we henceforth own thee as superior to mortal nature.” Upon this the king neither rebuked them nor rejected their impious flattery. But he shortly afterward looked up and saw an owl sitting on a certain rope over his head, and immediately understood that this bird was the messenger of ill tidings, just as it had once been the messenger of good tidings to him; and fell into the deepest sorrow. A severe pain arose in his belly, striking with a most violent intensity. He therefore looked upon his friends, and said, “I, whom you call a god, am commanded presently to depart this life; while Providence thus reproves the lying words you just now said to me; and I, who was by you called immortal, am immediately to be hurried away by death. But I am bound to accept what Providence allots, as it pleases God; for we have by no means lived ill, but in a splendid and happy manner.” When he had said this, his pain became violent. Accordingly he was carried into the palace, and the rumor went abroad everywhere that he would certainly die soon. The multitude sat in sackcloth, men, women and children, after the law of their country, and besought God for the king’s recovery. All places were also full of mourning and lamentation. Now the king rested in a high chamber, and as he saw them below lying prostrate on the ground he could not keep himself from weeping. And when he had been quite worn out by the pain in his belly for five days, he departed this life, being in the fifty-fourth year of his age and in the seventh year of his reign. He ruled four years under Caius Caesar, three of them were over Philip’s tetrarchy only, and on the fourth that of Herod was added to it; and he reigned, besides those, three years under Claudius Caesar, during which time he had Judea added to his lands, as well as Samaria and Cesarea. The revenues that he received out of them were very great, no less than twelve millions of drachmae. But he borrowed great sums from others, for he was so very liberal that his expenses exceeded his incomes, and his generosity was boundless.”