Sometimes life DOES seem hopeless. How do we live wisely then?
This week on the blog, we’re studying Ecclesiastes 8:9-15, and yesterday we saw how the Teacher (the writer of Ecclesiastes) suggests that life can be so unfair.
Let’s follow the Teacher’s logic:
Here are verses 12-14 in Dorsey’s translation: “12 Nevertheless, although a wicked man commits a hundred crimes and still lives a long time, I know that in the end it will go better for those who respect and obey God, who live obediently before him. 13 And the wicked person who does not live obediently before God, in the end it will not go well for him, and his days will not lengthen like a shadow. 14 The travesties of justice in this world are only temporary and ultimately inconsequential—for example, when righteous people get what the wicked deserve, and when wicked people get what the righteous deserve. But I saw that such travesties are only temporary and ultimately inconsequential.”
The Teacher is saying in verses 12-14 that, though we can see injustice and unfairness in the world, let us not dissolve into hopelessness. Instead, let us remember, “that God will right all wrongs.” In other words, the pursuit of righteousness is still right. The way of Jesus is still the best way.
Yes, there are injustices in the world. That is obvious. And we should work with God, seeking to right those injustices as much as possible in the here and now. But the Teacher reminds that the ultimate and final righting of all injustice will not occur until the day of God’s choosing.
So while we work to bring the Kingdom of God now, sharing the Gospel in word and deed, even as we see persistent injustice, we press on in hope because we know that one day God will reign victorious. That means we need not fear. With God’s love and grace pouring from our hearts, we strive to usher in the Kingdom now.
No, our work to usher in the Kingdom will not bring the Kingdom in its fullness. Instead we are like an advance, a precursor of the Kingdom.
Furthermore, our proclamation of the good news and our work for justice is not futile. Instead it is amazing to think, and maybe even more amazing to experience, that God, in his wisdom, has chosen to use people like us to make a real difference now. When we faithfully live as disciples of Jesus who die to ourselves and follow Jesus, God can use us to impact people and society. This is the new life that the Teacher envisions in this passage, and it is the new life embodied in Jesus. There is a clear connection between Ecclesiastes and the Gospels. What the Teacher depicts we will eventually see in living color in Jesus.