Friday, 7 December 2007

Ecclesiastes 10:5-11

More observations from Solomon about things being topsy-turvy in this world and people who have authority don't often seem to want to set things right. In fact, a lot of the time, people with power make things worse by keeping things upside-down and back-to-front for their own gain or because they don't care or understand that anything is wrong. What do we do with that?!

Ecclesiastes 10:5-11

Solomon's observations of authority in this section are mainly negative:
  • People in authority get it wrong (v5)
  • Idiots with nothing are put in charge over wise people who have worked for their wealth (v6)
  • Slaves are honoured and royalty disgraced (v7)
We can't rely on human authorities to set this world right. The inequality and injustice that we see won't be completely done away with because of excellent human leadership. We might make a dent in it and affect many lives for good, but we won't solve these problems ourselves. We need God! And even with his help, we're still stuck with these things until Jesus returns and this sinful world ends. Does this mean we shouldn't bother helping people or looking for decent leaders? No. Let's do all we can whilst trusting in God's help but let's also realise that this world is dying and we can't fix it completely because God has got something bigger and better in mind.

Solomon's comments on work are mainly negative too and he seems to have an unhealthy paranoia about work-related accidents:
  • People who dig holes might fall in (v8)
  • People who break through walls might be bitten by snakes (v8)
  • People who work with rocks might be injured by them (v9)
  • People who work with logs might be in danger (v9)
What a negative outlook! I think what Solomon is saying is that because we live in this sinful, random, topsy-turvy world where good and bad things happen, we need to be ready for anything! The last two verses are what it's about... He uses an example of a blunt axe to illustrate how things are stacked against us in this life but then he says that with strength and skill, the job can be done. This is what it's about. More strength and skill are needed than ever because of sin and we get these things from God! The task is possible but we need God's help to overcome the challenges and setbacks that sin brings us. It's not just about strength and skill - It's about whatever we need to achieve the task for God. I love how Solomon talks about charming snakes. Sometimes it's charm we need in order to outsmart sinful situations and God will give us this too!

A prayer - Lord, in this topsy-turvy sinful world, the odds are stacked against me but thank you that you are more powerful than sin and you can help me to do all that you've called me to do for you. Please give me all the strength, skill and charm that I need to serve you today and help me not to be apathetic but instead to be raring to go for you because you are stronger than anything that will come against me. Amen!