Trifles and Titles – Wednesday – 32nd week in ordinary time – Wisdom 6: 1-11
The first part of the book of Wisdom consists of Chapters 1:1- 6:21. Our text finds its self at the tail end of this large section. The entire section is divided into five parts arranged concentrically. The central part is verse 3:1-4:19 and contains the authors teaching on retribution. Today’s text is an exhortation to seek wisdom written specifically to those in power but generically to all of us who read God’s word. The writer takes on the same theme with which he began the book in 1:1 and concludes this section of the book with a warning of impending judgment.
Once again as in 1:1 the Jewish writer calls on judges, rulers and kings to listen to his words of wisdom. Three groups of powerful people; monarchs, civil rulers and judges in a court of law are singled out. Listening is different from hearing. Listening involves the whole of ones being. Listening involves a spirit of openness and perhaps the constant hearing of God’s message has fallen on deaf ears. Now those in power are called to give ear, to learn and understand. Clearly, because one sits in a seat of authority, because one may boast of being in control of nations or may have the power to judge over peoples, does not make one infallible. We have seen governments fall, monarch fail and the high and mighty thrown in jail. Therefore, to those in power is the call to give ear, to listen and to understand.
Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Often those that sit in the corridors of power forget that it is God who chose them. King Saul was appointed by God and yet he forgot that dominion and sovereignty was given to him by the Lord. To those who forget, the author has several strong words of caution. God will ‘search out their works and inquire into their plans.” Clearly, accountability will be demanded from those to whom authority over others has been granted and while some may be dazzled with the seat of authority they occupy, that too will one day end. And lest we forget, the reality is that we are but ‘servants of HIS kingdom.’
God is clear, when those who sit in the seats of judgement will themselves be judged, the judgment against them for their failure to rule wisely and work hard will be ‘swift and terrible.’ The higher the authority the greater is the punishment for failure. Each will be punished according to the responsibility that they were given; more for those in ‘high places’
God is clear, he has no favourites. He is not dazzled by human trifles and titles as men do. God does not stand in awe of human kind as we might do. He does not bow down to any power as men do because he is the creator of every creature and he regards all alike; not by the human power their yield but by the accountability of their actions.
The divine judgment seat will weigh the actions of each of us and punishment will follow. This is not an idle threat! The passage is thus a warning to not only judges, rulers and kings but to all of us who have been given responsibility of some kind or there other; from the head of a household to the head of a parish. From religious leadership to political power.