Friday, November 9, 2007

The Conclusion of the Matter

The news is not the most encouraging part of my day, what about yours? Look at the newspaper and you read about the latest murder, sex scandal, or auto accident. very rarely does anything good ever make the front page of the newspaper. Oh it's in there on page 10 of section E, but never the headlines. Look at the television as the news hour approaches, Each commercial break we see headlines like... "Man shoots his wife" tonight at 10:00pm... or "Fiery crash downtown, 3 dead," tonight at 10:00pm.

Every time I listen to the news I get depressed. If there is a national tragedy going on then the media never let's up. We can watch every detail of what's happening in real time and even get to hear everyone's commentary on it as we watch. It's overwhelming. I remember a few years ago as I was visiting with my mom she just folded up the paper and shared how disgusted she was with all the stuff she just read about. It's crazy and often we find ourselves wondering, "What is happening to this crazy world." "Is everyone going nuts or what?"

In case you think this is something that's just gotten bad lately, I'd like to take you back to another time when everything seemed just as crazy as it is today. Listen to the words of the Teacher, Solomon, son of David, king in Jerusalem. The book of Ecclesiastes reminds me of a modern day news story. Yes it's chalked full of depressing information, everything under the sun appears and seems meaningless. Listen to these words...


1:2, Everything is Meaningless.
1 "Meaningless! Meaningless!" says the Teacher. "Utterly meaningless! Everything is meaningless!"

1:12-14, Wisdom Is Meaningless
12 I, the Teacher, was king over Israel in Jerusalem. 13 I devoted myself to study and to explore by wisdom all that is done under heaven. What a heavy burden God has laid on men! 14 I have seen all the things that are done under the sun; all of them are meaningless, a chasing after the wind.

2:1, Pleasures Are Meaningless
1 I thought in my heart, "Come now, I will test you with pleasure to find out what is good." But that also proved to be meaningless.

2:17, Toil Is Meaningless
17 So I hated life, because the work that is done under the sun was grievous to me. All of it is meaningless, a chasing after the wind.

Solomon goes on and on in the following chapters talking about all the things he sees as meaningless. Advancement and Riches are also seen as meaningless. He goes on about the evil that's in the world. He sees the oppressed in the world and he sees suffering. He sees loneliness, he sees the foolish things people do, he sees imprisonment of people because of the things they do. Even when people have wealth and good health he sees that they don't enjoy them, they don't see what they have.

Ecclesiastes is full of the headlines of evil and depressing things. It's the newspaper of yesterday but with same issues of today. At the end of all these observations and things learned this Teacher, this King came to the following conclusion.

Ecclesiastes 12:13 Now all has been heard; here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man. 14 For God will bring every deed into judgment, including every hidden thing, whether it is good or evil.

So what's all this mean to us? If you feel life is unfair, if you feel that the evil ones get away without being held accountable for their actions, you must remember that God will review every persons life to determine how each person has responded to him and he will bring every deed into judgement. Solomon shows us throughout Ecclesiastes that we should enjoy life, but this does not excuse us from obeying God's commandments. We should search for purpose and meaning in our life. But our purpose and meaning is not found in our own endeavours, it's found only in God. Yes there is evil in the world, we should acknowledge this and even recognize this, but we must remain faithful and trust that God will deal with the injustice of this world. We must maintain a positive attitude and strong faith in God.

One day every man will stand before God and be held accountable for what he or she has done. God will judge everyone for the things they did in this life. God will judge both good and evil. God will judge the quality of every persons life. So focus on living for him rather than being down trodden about what is happening in the world today. Life is not fair... never has been, but aren't you thankful that God will judge the good and evil that people do. So don't concern yourself with what you have no control over, trust in God to take care of it and enjoy your life as you serve your Lord.

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