Someone close to me has been studying the Book of Ecclesiastes with a small group from her church. The study had been going on for quite a while, so I asked her about it. She said she didn’t really like it, so I asked her to tell me what the group had concluded from the study. She said that everything here is meaningless and bad. Now, I’ll grant you, the words “meaningless” and “evil” occur many times in the book. We need to remember that this is still God’s creation, and remember when He was finished creating the heavens and the earth, He said, “it was very good”. We have our church, we show our love for each other, there is compassion and forgiveness, yes, even though mankind has damaged our relationship with God, there is still a lot of good here. So how are these two perspectives reconciled?
Turning to the last chapter of the Book of Ecclesiastes should clear things up for us. Verse 13 says, “…Fear God and keep His commandments, for this is the whole duty of man.” Well, there it is. The author is telling us that apart from God, all things are meaningless. I was reminded of the story told by Jesus of a beggar named Lazarus (Luke 16: 19-31). When Lazarus died he went to heaven, while a rich man, who died about the same time went to hell. What good did all that wealth and power do for that rich man? Ultimately, it was all meaningless. Apart from God, it is meaningless.
In the next verse in Ecclesiastes, we get another important lesson. Verse 14 reads, “For God will bring every deed into judgement, including every hidden thing, whether good or evil.” We will all one day, stand before the Almighty God, and be asked to give an accounting for all that we have been given.
“For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive what is due him for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad.” (II Corinthians 5: 10) I don’t know about you, but I don’t want what is due me. That’s why I praise God for the sending His Son to pay my price. “In Him (Jesus) we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace.” (Ephesians 1: 7)
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