Ecclesiastes 9:1 So I reflected on all this and concluded that the righteous and the wise and what they do are in God’s hands, but no man knows whether love or hate awaits him.
These first 10 verses of chapter nine gave me an AHA moment about how Solomon could live the life he did: he had no grasp of eternal life with God, of eternal rewards. Despite writing, “He has also set eternity in the hearts of men,” (Ecclesiastes 3:11) Solomon failed to understand that what we do and how we live does affect our eternity. I have always wondered how on earth he could participate in idolatry with his foreign wives when God had spoken to him personally and given him such a massive intellect. If you don’t think life on earth affects anything other than life on earth, what you do becomes relatively unimportant. The thing is, the rest of the Bible, and of course the whole New Testament, makes it very clear that the choices we make now govern our eternity. That’s why the devil works so hard to remove belief in hell: if there is no eternal punishment, then why bother to try to obey God? Paul wrote forcefully on this subject. “If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are to be pitied more than all men.” (1 Corinthians 15:19) Solomon lived on this earth in great luxury, his every whim answered, but the beggar Lazarus that Jesus talked about (Luke 16:19-31) was ultimately far better off, just as Jesus told that story to help us understand. We sometimes speak of someone living “as though there were no tomorrow.” That echoes the attitude Isaiah talked about: “Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die!” (Isaiah 22:13) Paul referenced that in his discussion of the subject. (1 Corinthians 15:32) We may not have the intellect of Solomon, but we can have far more wisdom, because we know through the resurrection of Jesus that this life is by no means all, and we can live accordingly.
I had the enormous blessing of being raised in a home that was founded on faith in a risen Savior. One of the favorite songs of my childhood was, “I serve a risen Savior; He’s in the world today.” I made the commitment to serve Him at age 7, but my obedience was spotty at best until after He confronted me when I was already a father. At this point I delight to live as His child, with a growing anticipation of what awaits me after I am removed from the mess the world is in. My wife had a brief taste of that when she died from a heart attack in 1975, and then God sent her back. She says that before that experience she was afraid to die, but she certainly hasn’t been since! I don’t know all the ins and outs of physical resurrection, but I know that it is promised in the Bible, and I believe it. More than that, to me, is the awareness that if I abide in Christ now, I will get to abide in Him for eternity, whether I have a physical body or not, and that is a prospect too wonderful for words. The thing is, far too few people have that understanding, so they don’t live like it’s true. My task is to speak the truth in love so that as many as will may accept God’s free offer, repent of their rebellion and unbelief, and believe for their own salvation.
Father, thank You indeed for Your incredible grace. Help me be an open channel for that grace to flow to all, for their salvation and Your glory. Thank You. Hallelujah!