I’m sure you’ve heard that there are two things that never change…death and taxes! In Chapter 9, Solomon confronts the reality of death.
“The same destiny ultimately awaits everyone, whether righteous or wicked, good or bad, ceremonially clean or unclean, religious or irreligious. Good people receive the same treatment as sinners, and people who make promises to God are treated like people who don’t.” Ecclesiastes 9:2
We all live in the “real” world, right? Life’s unfair. Bad things happen to good people, as well as good things happening to rotten people.
As we read Ecclesiastes, we must remember that it was written before Jesus; the Resurrection to a new life after death was a vague concept for Old Testament believers. Eternal life was made clear to us after Jesus rose from the dead.
“I have observed something else under the sun. The fastest runner doesn’t always win the race, and the strongest warrior doesn’t always win the battle. The wise sometimes go hungry, and the skillful are not necessarily wealthy. And those who are educated don’t always lead successful lives. It is all decided by chance, by being in the right place at the right time.” Ecclesiastes 9: 11
Again…life isn’t fair. The world is not the way God first intended it to be. Sin has twisted life and has broken our relationship with God. But we have a way out…through Jesus. He opened the way for us to renew fellowship with God. He is preparing a new earth as an eternal paradise for His people. In Ecclesiastes, Solomon tells it like it is and explains what usually happens in our sinful and imperfect world. But in the book of Proverbs (also written by Solomon), he emphasizes how life would go if everyone acted fairly.
Our society honors wealth, success, and attractiveness… No secret there. But it’s here where the problem lies; these things are honored more than wisdom. Solomon tells us a parable so we can learn to appreciate wisdom, no matter whom it comes from…
“Here is another bit of wisdom that has impressed me as I have watched the way our world works. There was a small town with only a few people, and a great king came with his army and besieged it. A poor, wise man knew how to save the town, and so it was rescued. But afterward no one thought to thank him. So even though wisdom is better than strength, those who are wise will be despised if they are poor. What they say will not be appreciated for long.” Ecclesiastes 9: 13-16