I really enjoy the Book of Ecclesiastes. I forget how much I enjoy it until I start reading it. It’s one of the more relatable books to me. Why? Because if we’re honest, sometimes we’re just not feeling it.
I would say, it’s certainly not ironic, but this week I’ve not been feeling it. Not feeling like working and not feeling like making the extra effort. Yet, I’ve got to do it. I’ve got to work. I’ve got to try. But I don’t feel like it…What’s the point?
Do you ever feel that way? Like there’s no point to your routine. Work, maybe play, and back at it all over again. This never-ending cycle of the mundane routine feels draining, doesn’t it?
If you relate to any of that, then you can understand why Ecclesiastes resonates. The Teacher, in the Book of Ecclesiastes is battling the question of life that has carried throughout centuries. What’s the point?
Let’s journey through Ecclesiastes for the answer.
Last time we talked about Jeremiah questioning God or rather his questions for God. He asked, just like us, why? Why are the wicked doing so well?
What was pointed out was the heartfelt cry of Jeremiah. The genuine desire to know why people who aren’t for God seem to prosper so much. Why this unfairness?
I believe God’s response probably wasn’t the one Jeremiah wanted, but guarantee it was the one he needed:
“If racing against mere men makes you tired, how will you race against horses? If you stumble and fall on open ground, what will you do in the thickets near the Jordan?
Jeremiah 12:5 NLT
If wicked people are draining you, how are you going to be ready to handle a bigger task? If the prosperity of them is weighing you down how will you be ready for what’s to come?
Note, God never says it’s ok to be wicked. He never says Jeremiah is wrong for his questions. He’s saying this is small potatoes compared to what’s ahead. This is a nation living out wickedness not just some people. So you don’t have time to give up. You don’t have time to throw in the towel on the smaller tasks because there’s a bigger mission at stake.
Today, you might feel like Jeremiah. Or this week you may feel like him. I know I have plenty of moments when I do, but I have to stay mindful there’s something bigger at stake. I don’t have time to sink into discouragement and frustration, and if I do sink, I don’t have time to stay there long.
There’s a race taking place and we can’t lose sight of who our opponent actually us.
Lord, you always give me justice when I bring a case before you. So let me bring you this complaint: Why are the wicked so prosperous? Why are evil people so happy? You have planted them, and they have taken root and prospered. Your name is on their lips, but you are far from their hearts. But as for me, Lord, you know my heart. You see me and test my thoughts. Drag these people away like sheep to be butchered! Set them aside to be slaughtered!
Jeremiah 12:1-3 NLT
Can’t you just feel the agony of Jeremiah? Don’t you relate? I find myself often wondering, why? Why Lord? Why are the wicked doing so well?
I even spoke with my grandmother last night, and I said I don’t know how these people sleep at night. In an instant I thought, but who says they’re sleeping? They actually may not be.
We don’t know the demons these people face in their days. And God is still just and will allow justice to be served. We just have to be patient.
Jeremiah asked questions that any person who is trying to live right would have. What’s going on God? I’m trying here and they’re living for selfish gain and gaining. How can this be!?
But I’m mindful that the Bible tells us to not grow weary in well doing. We aren’t to fall into comparison of how much better we are compared to others. All of our righteous deeds are like filthy rags before a perfect God.
In the next few verses we see God’s response to Jeremiah’s questions. But today I just want to leave us with Jeremiah’s point of view. And I want to acknowledge that God is fine with us respectfully asking questions. He’s the one with the answers. And He also wants us to respectfully listen to His response because it’s not always what we want.
Soon we’ll see how He responds to Jeremiah’s genuine questions.
It is so easy to ask why? Why, God? Why is this happening? Why can’t I have that? Why can’t I have him? Why?
And it’s easy to get caught up into our “whys” that we miss what’s happening right now. If I’m too busy asking God why He didn’t do something else, I might miss what He’s doing in the current moment. See, when my focus is on what God didn’t do for me, my vision is more blurred than it’s ever been.
Gratitude really is the right attitude to cure such a problem. If I spend my time being thankful for what God did yesterday, and looking forward to the work He’s going to do tomorrow, it’s easier to want to join Him in the work He’s doing today.
I don’t want to spend anymore time with a blurred perspective of what God didn’t do, when all along I missed what He did do. If my focus is solely on God, I don’t see anything that He didn’t do, because all I can see is what He did.
Let’s say that Mel Brooks was right and there were originally 15 Commandments. (Moses dropped five of them, according to Brooks.) What are Commandments 11 through 15?
Mel Brooks isn’t right. I believe that the commandments God wanted us to have are 1 through 10. If God trusted Moses enough to give them to him, then surely He trust Moses enough to believe he wouldn’t drop them along the way.
This next statement might seem a bit contradictory but bear with me here. If Moses, in his anger, broke the commandments as he looked upon the Israelites worshipping a god they made (Exodus 32:19), and God rewrote them for us, why would He not make sure all “15” were given?
Why go through the trouble of writing 10 commandments over and not write all 15? That wouldn’t make much sense to me. I’m sure God’s hand didn’t get tired. Therefore, out of simple logic I believe there were only 10.
Besides, do you know the 10 Commandments? What else is there left to say? Let’s focus on getting those right.
Why me? Isn’t that a million dollar question? Why me? I’ve found myself asking that before. I’ve probably said it more than I want to admit it. In fact, I have said it more than I want to admit it.
Yesterday, as I was praying, something happened. It’s happened before, but I definitely needed a reminder. Why is it so easy to ask “why me,” when it’s not what I want? When it’s something negative, I can’t wait to wonder why it has to be happening to me. When it’s positive do I do the same thing? Not hardly.
I’m so quick to wonder why something is happening when I don’t like it. But, what about asking “why me” when it’s positive? Why so much favor on my life? What have I done to deserve it? Nothing. Why bless me so much God?
My prayer is that from now on my “why” is for all that is good that is happening. No more why am I going through this when I am blessed to get to the point He is taking me to. I won’t keep asking God why things are happening to me when I can ask God why things are happening for me. From now on, “why me” is going to mean “wow, me!”
If God cares about the grass that is here today and gone tomorrow, surely He cares about you who He made for Eternity.
I hate that I don’t have the mindset of Eternity all the time. I hate that I think about things day to day, week by week, and month by month. And I pretty much just put Eternity in the background of it all. Strange, huh?
God created us for fellowship. He didn’t create us with the intent of us living and dying and the end. No. He created us for Eternity, but He knew the outcome of our decisions.
It’s crazy, God created us to be in fellowship with Him, and some of us don’t believe in Him. Some of us don’t know Him. And some of us think we know Him, but don’t really.
What I can’t understand is why I’m so worked up about things that happen today and are forgotten tomorrow. In comparison to Eternity, what are things? When I was made for Eternity, what? When I will be with God eternally, what stuff is anymore than that? Stuff.
Matthew 6: 28-30 “And why worry about your clothing? Look at the lilies of the field and how they grow. They don’t work or make their clothing,yet Solomon in all his glory was not dressed as beautifully as they are.And if God cares so wonderfully for wildflowers that are here today and thrown into the fire tomorrow, he will certainly care for you. Why do you have so little faith?
Ecclesiastes 6:11 Yet God has made everything beautiful for its own time. He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God’s work from beginning to end.
We are all very amazing people. I amaze myself often, and not in the ways that I wish that I did. I amaze myself with my ability to do wrong. And since I’m speaking about negative behavior, I should probably try something a little different to express myself. Maybe amaze isn’t the correct word. Perhaps, being dumbfounded is just a little bit better?
It’s dumbfounding to me that I can always find time to sin. No matter how sleepy I am, no matter how I look forward to going to bed that night, somehow I can always manage to pour one more drink that I don’t need. I can always seem to think one more thought that I’ll need forgiveness for immediately. I can always manage to think and tempt myself with one more thought that’s already unbeneficial. I can always make time for one more something that I have no business doing anyway.
It’s crazy to me that throughout the day I can think about going to sleep. I can think about sleeping all night. I can even consider going to bed early. But for some reason, when that sin comes up I can always seem to make time and produce enough energy for it.