Wednesday, 28 November 2007

Ecclesiastes 9:1-12

Solomon's been saying in the last chapter about how unfair it is how bad things happen to good people and sometimes good things happen to bad people but now with a more general perspective, he says actually everyone gets the same...

Ecclesiastes 9:1-12


We're back to the 'mixed bag' idea from earlier chapters. Sure, sometimes good happens to people who don't deserve it and bad things happen to relatively good people but we all get the same mixed bag. What does he mean? Well, we all get life (a mixed bag of good and bad) and we all die. Everyone's in the same boat. They can't see what tomorrow will bring (v1), they're all evil and selfish next to God (v3). And in the end we all die. This is what Solomon means when he says, 'the same destiny overtakes them all' (v3).

I can just imagine Solomon's melancholic tone of voice as he drones on about this. It even makes me laugh when I get to verses 7-10 and his uninspiring conclusion. It's like he's saying, 'Oh well, you're all gonna die anyway so you may as well enjoy life while you have the chance. Go on then, you may as well get married, have kids, have your fun because you know it won't last. Go on and enjoy your meaningless life until you die!'

But is it melancholy or sarcasm?! I wonder if Solomon is deliberately labouring the point here in order to make his shallow readers realise how futile and blinded their lives really are. They're so busy amassing wealth and going along with the crowd, building careers and having families etc, etc but totally missing the point of life at the same time. Maybe Solomon's sarcasm is enough to wake us up to reality. 'Is that really what life is about?' 'Is that really the sum total of what I'm doing?' I think Solomon wants us to think - 'There must be more than this!'

It's not about the swift or the strong, or the rich, or the powerful. It's not about the popular, or the charismatic, or the talented, or the famous. Why not? Because all these will still get the mixed bag of joy, suffering, pain, happiness, sorrow, regret, loneliness, fun, pride, etc, that we all get and in the end they'll all face death too. And if it's not about these things, then what is it about? There must be more! There just has to be! And Solomon wants us to see it!

Today, why not use these words by Tim Hughes as a prayer?...

There must be more than this
O breath of God, come breathe within
There must be more than this
Spirit of God we wait for You
Fill us anew we pray
Fill us anew we pray

Consuming fire

Fan into flame
A passion for Your name
Spirit of God
Fall in this place
Lord have Your way
Lord have Your way
With us

Come like a rushing wind
Clothe us with power from on high
Now set the captives free
Leave us abandoned to Your praise
Lord let Your glory fall
Lord let Your glory fall

Consuming fire
Fan into flame
A passion for Your name
Spirit of God
Fall in this place
Lord have Your way
Lord have Your way
With us