Eternal Purpose in the Midst of Apparent Injustice.

The next section of Ecclesiastes we will study is Ecclesiastes 6:1-8:15. The beginning of chapter 6 instructs us how to navigate life's apparent divine inequalities. The message of the book is consistent: God's people must persevere in enjoying God and His blessings, even when God seems unfair.

Ecclesiastes 6:1-7:15 addresses apparent injustices in outward fortunes. Ecclesiastes 7:16-29 looks at apparent injustice related to people's character. Ecclesiastes 8:1-14 reminds us of the future removal of injustice by God's Providence. It is indeed a spiritual discipline to enjoy life in the midst of these perplexities, while living with eternal purpose according to God's commands (Ecclesiastes 8:15).

Even as it examines the difficulties of life, Solomon's book of wisdom reminds us that darkness is never greater than God. We don't know how our short stories fit into His full plan. We have to go through hard times together and remind each other that God's bigger story ultimately does triumph over evil. For a timely reminder, listen to last week's evening sermon from Isaiah. The Lord's coming and future kingdom comfort us in confusing times.

"The gifts of God are not dangled on a string before men's eyes only to be retracted just as they seem to come within reach. The promise is that in the good plan of God they will accompany men who fear Him. God really intended that men should come to a proper enjoyment of the good material gifts placed in this world by Him and that the gifts should be a source of constant satisfaction when the things and the user are properly related to the Giver of those gifts Himself." – Walter Kaiser

Apparent Divine Inequity: When Life Seems to Dead-End

Ecclesiastes 6:1-2 describes a hopelessness we feel when life seems futile. A myriad of circumstances can make us feel this way. Warren Wiersbe quotes William Cowper's description of "the toil of dropping buckets into empty wells and growing old and drawing nothing up." Put in modern language, we could imagine blind men driving cars down crowded, dead-end streets. We wonder what is God's point in allowing events that seem to be going well, then suddenly end before coming to fruition.

One Christian teacher wrote, "Perhaps the fundamental problem is that life confronts us with too many mysteries we can’t fathom and too many puzzles we can’t solve. For life to be genuinely satisfying, it has to make sense. When it doesn’t make sense, we get frustrated. If people can’t see a purpose in life, especially when they go through deep suffering, they start to question God and even wonder if life is worthwhile." Many people in the Bible were severely discouraged at times: Moses, Elijah, Job, Jeremiah, Jonah, Paul, and even Jesus. They all needed people around them at those times. When we are living for the Great Commission, the value of temporary achievements fade because we understand our eternal purpose. We will continue to learn wisdom from Solomon as we study the chapter further.

Application Points

  • Satan can use our inability to fully know God's plan for our lives to wreck our lives, especially if we try to go through difficult times alone. God's first good gifts are His people around us in our local church. Difficulty will not dominate us if we let fellow believers help us navigate rough waters.
  • Has difficulty distracted you from the steady stream of good gifts that God has placed in your life? Practice the spiritual discipline of thankfulness for these.
  • Has your life ever felt like a dead-end street? Living for God's purpose gives an eternal perspective that is a comfort during those times. Do you know someone under the weight of this discouragement now? You can help them reorient back to a life of perseverance supported by God's grace.

Tools for Further Study

Cross References to Explore
  • Philippians 4:8 – Keeping spiritual focus.
  • 1 Thessalonians 5:14, 1 Corinthians 10:13 – Even the spiritually strong get discouraged.
A Hymn to Encourage: "Satisfied"

All my life long I had panted
For a drink from some cool spring
That I hoped would quench the burning
Of the thirst I felt within.

Hallelujah! I have found Him
Whom my soul so long has craved!
Jesus satisfies my longings;
Through His blood I now am saved.

Feeding on the husks around me
Till my strength was almost gone,
Longed my soul for something better,
Only still to hunger on.

Poor I was, and sought for riches,
Something that would satisfy,
But the dust I gathered round me
Only mocked my soul’s sad cry.

Well of water, ever springing,
Bread of life, so rich and free,
Untold wealth that never faileth,
My Redeemer is to me.