Text: Ecclesiastes 5:8-20
For wisdom in using the goods of this earth
For strength to strive for Godly justice
For those who need sleep
QOHOLETH, THE AUTHOR of Ecclesiastes is supposed to be Solomon in his old age, as the tradition says he wrote the Song of Songs in his youth and Proverbs in his maturity. Certainly, the book of Ecclesiastes has the tone of a person who has “seen it all” in the course of living life. Even this passages’ notice of oppression and injustice has a half-shrug quality to it: we should not be amazed or outraged when we see such things, because, as a Qoholeth of our time has said, “that’s the way that the world goes ‘round; one day you’re up, the next you’re down.”
But the Teacher of Ecclesiastes does not simply let his observation slide off the table. The verses that follow have a focus: injustice and oppression rise from the false things that we love. To love the things of this earth rather than the One who gives the things of this earth is foolishness, and from foolishness comes evil. To love riches and gain is to participate in vanity, in futility, in emptiness. Nihilism comes from a particular pain: loving things rather than the Creator while knowing that the things of earth cannot bring satisfaction.
As Jesus would later echo in his teaching about what is clean and unclean, Qoholeth reminds us that joy comes from God and is carried around with us; to take delight in what God has provided because God has provided it is the source of true satisfaction and true justice. For just as evil comes from the heart, so too does good arise from the hearts of those who love the Lord above all things.
May your day be grace-filled ~ Pr. Dave Brooks