Rev. Doug Griebenaw, mission advocate for KFUO Radio in St. Louis, MO, joins host Rev. Timothy Appel to study Ecclesiastes 3:16-4:3.
Solomon recognizes wickedness that comes even in those places where we most expect to find justice and righteousness. He finds comfort in the fact that God serves as judge over all, and he recognizes the way that God uses this reality to test people to see the truth about themselves. From the perspective of life under the sun, all people die, just like all animals die. As Solomon reflects upon the oppression he sees in this life under the sun, he sees no comfort for anyone and mourns over this aspect of evil in life. Only from God’s perspective can anyone know the truth of what it means to be one of God’s beloved human creatures, redeemed by the death and resurrection of Jesus.
“Wisdom for Life Under the Sun” is a series on Sharper Iron that goes through the book of Ecclesiastes. Solomon’s favorite word in Ecclesiastes paints a bleak picture: “Vanity of vanities! All is vanity!” Apart from God, life is nothing but vapor that does not last and can never be grasped. Yet Solomon does not leave us in despair. He shows us that life does have meaning in the faith and fear of God, from whom all things come to us as a gift.
Sharper Iron, hosted by Rev. Timothy Appel, looks at the text of Holy Scripture both in its broad context and its narrow detail, all for the sake of proclaiming Christ crucified and risen for sinners. Two pastors engage with God’s Word to sharpen not only their own faith and knowledge, but the faith and knowledge of all who listen.
Sharper Iron is underwritten by Lutheran Church Extension Fund, where your investments help support the work of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod. Visit lcef.org.
From Dust to Dust
16 Moreover, I saw under the sun that in the place of justice, even there was wickedness, and in the place of righteousness, even there was wickedness. 17 I said in my heart, God will judge the righteous and the wicked, for there is a time for every matter and for every work. 18 I said in my heart with regard to the children of man that God is testing them that they may see that they themselves are but beasts. 19 For what happens to the children of man and what happens to the beasts is the same; as one dies, so dies the other. They all have the same breath, and man has no advantage over the beasts, for all is vanity.[a] 20 All go to one place. All are from the dust, and to dust all return. 21 Who knows whether the spirit of man goes upward and the spirit of the beast goes down into the earth? 22 So I saw that there is nothing better than that a man should rejoice in his work, for that is his lot. Who can bring him to see what will be after him?
Evil Under the Sun
4 Again I saw all the oppressions that are done under the sun. And behold, the tears of the oppressed, and they had no one to comfort them! On the side of their oppressors there was power, and there was no one to comfort them. 2 And I thought the dead who are already dead more fortunate than the living who are still alive. 3 But better than both is he who has not yet been and has not seen the evil deeds that are done under the sun.
English Standard Version (ESV) The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Text Edition: 2016. Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. esv.org