Today’s Reading: Ecclesiastes 7 – 12; Psalm 73
Accept the way God does things, for who can straighten what he has made crooked?
Enjoy prosperity while you can, but when hard times strike, realize that both come from God.
Remember that nothing is certain in this life. – Ecclesiastes 7:13-14
Why do bad things happen to good people? We hear this question asked often. This question is addressed in books and movies like “Miracles From Heaven” or “The Shack” or “God’s Not Dead”. Or sometimes we hear the question – Why do the wicked prosper? They are valid questions. When we watch a godly person battle cancer or a child die suddenly and seemingly without purpose, we find ourselves asking God “Why?”
So I tried to understand why the wicked prosper?
But what a difficult task it is! – Psalm 73:16
King Solomon struggled with this same question and it is beneficial for us to follow his line of thinking and see where his journey for understanding took him. When we do not understand what or why, we can trust in the wisdom God gave to Solomon when he reached the following conclusion:
Indeed, how can people avoid what they don’t know is going to happen?…None of us has the power to prevent the day of our death. – Eccl. 8:7-8a
I have thought deeply about all that goes on here under the sun, where people have the power to hurt each other. I have seen wicked people buried with honor. Yet they were the very ones who frequented the Temple and are now praised in the same city where they committed their crimes! This, too, is meaningless. When a crime is not punished quickly, people feel it is safe to do wrong. But even though a person sins a hundred times and still lives a long time, I know those who fear God will be better off. The wicked will not prosper, for they do not fear God. Their days will never grow long like the evening shadows.
And this is not all that is meaningless in our world. In this life, good people are often treated as though they were wicked, and wicked people are often treated as though they were good. This is so meaningless!
So I recommend having fun, because there is nothing better for people in this world than to eat, drink, and enjoy life. That way they will experience some happiness along with all the hard work God gives them under the sun…there is ceaseless activity, day and night. I realized that no one can discover everything, no matter what they claim. – Eccl. 8:9-17
The same destiny ultimately awaits everyone, whether righteous or wicked, good or bad…Good people receive the same treatment as sinners, and people who make promises to God are treated like people who don’t.
It seems so tragic that everyone under the sun suffers the same fate. That is why people are not more careful to be good. Instead, they choose their own made course, for they have no hope…
I have observed something else under the sun. The fastest runner doesn’t always win the race, and the strongest warrior doesn’t always win the battle. The wise sometimes go hungry, and the skillful are not necessarily wealthy. And those who are educated don’t always lead successful lives. It is all decided by chance, by being in the right place at the right time.
People can never predict when hard times might come. Like fish in a net or birds in a trap, people are caught by sudden tragedy. – Eccl. 9:2-3, 11-12
Just as you cannot understand the path of the wind or the mystery of a tiny baby growing in its mother’s womb, so you cannot understand the activity of God, who does all things. – Eccl. 11:5
…rejoice in every day of life. – Eccl. 11:8
Young people, it’s wonderful to be young! Enjoy every minute of it. Do everything you want to do; take it all in. But remember that you must give an account to God for everything you do. So REFUSE TO WORRY, and keep your body health… – Eccl. 11:9-10
Don’t let the excitement of your youth cause you to forget your Creator…REMEMBER HIM…
That’s the whole story. Here now is my final conclusion; Fear God and obey his commands, for this is everyone’s duty. God will judge us for everything we do, including every secret thing, whether good or bad. – Eccl. 12:1-2,13-14
Remember Him, fear Him, obey Him… King Solomon is not giving his readers permission to participate in what the world defines as fun. When he says to “enjoy life”, he is not giving us permission to forget holiness and serve our sinful nature. Those who choose their own course, who are not careful to do what is good, have no hope. FIND JOY TODAY, enjoying every minute of it. There is no joy is choosing sin. There is joy in trusting God – fearing and obeying a God who loves us and knows everything about us.
Trust God. It is what it is. That seems to be what Solomon is saying. It does no good to worry about what will happen in life. Instead relax in God’s plan and enjoy what He gives you today, not worrying about tomorrow. Remember Him, fear Him and obey Him. There may be sinful people around you who seem to be having a better life than you, but you know where you will spend eternity. You know there will be a day when you give an account to God for everything you do in this life.
Remember Him and rejoice in every day of life. Don’t spend your youth worrying about what you have no control over. It is what it is, but that is okay because God is who He is and we can trust Him with whatever comes our way.