10 November 2013 – Ecclesiastes 7:14-29 – The Schemes of Men and of God

Published November 8, 2013 by Ray Bell in Next Sunday

This week we hear from the Preacher of Ecclesiastes in the second half of Chapter 7 who, having searched high and low under the sun, seeking wisdom, righteousness and ‘the scheme of things’, comes up empty handed. ‘Surely there is not a righteous man on earth who does good and never sins,’ he remarks. Aware of this sad truth, in his wisdom, the Preacher offers sound instruction to all who might listen: Don’t be overly righteous, nor overly wicked, for neither can secure your destiny – instead, fear God.

Humanity has devised many schemes as we seek to secure our futures and grasp at that which we can only receive from God himself – righteousness and joy. However, like the Preacher, at the end of all our schemes we come up empty handed. As one translation renders Ecclesiastes 7:29, “God made men and women true and upright; we are the ones who’ve made a mess of things.”

In the wonderful good news of Christ, God addresses this ‘mess’ through the great exchange which took place upon the cross – where the only truly upright and righteous man, who knew no sin, became sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. Thankfully, by the grace of God, it is not our foolish and futile schemes which determine our destiny, but God’s great scheme of salvation fulfilled in his Son. What love! What righteousness! What wisdom! What a Saviour we have to worship and praise.

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