24 November 2013 – Ecclesiastes 9:1-12 – Where There’s Life There’s Hope
When one observes life ‘under the sun’ it is easy to think that good things happen to bad people, and bad things happen to good people. To the Preacher such events seems to be unavoidable and random, a matter of time and chance. However, he is aware that such events are in the hands of God, but admits he cannot fathom this wisdom.
In Ecclesiastes 9, with the same brutal honesty that he has assessed life under the sun so far, the Preacher notes that whether good or evil, clean or unclean, swift or slow, strong or weak, ‘the same event happens to all.’ The one thing in life under the sun which is not random or selective is ‘death’. His concluding advice in light of this inevitable event seems rather hopeless – “Whatever you hand finds to do, do it with all your might, for there is no work or thought or knowledge or wisdom in Sheol, to which you are going.”
But now… God has revealed to those who were once ‘without hope and without God’ that in his Son ‘death has been swallowed up in victory’ and we no longer need to fear death. In fact, we can know that death is not the end of life, but is in fact, through Christ, the doorway to glory and to life in the unveiled presence of our Lord. Knowing this, we can live! Not with a self-indulgent ambivalence towards life, merely filling in time until that ‘same event happens’ to us, but with joy and love and purpose, knowing that our labours are not in vain.