Thursday, June 9, 2016
“Don’t ask: ‘Why was life better in the ‘good old days’?’ It is not an intelligent question.” (Ecclesiastes 7:10 IEB).
When one looks at today’s ignorance, he cannot help but desire “the good old days.” For the past 65 years or more, the government has been very intrusive in our lives, using “safety” as their excuse. True, some laws may protect lives, but others simply erect barriers that destroy businesses, dry up jobs, and leave people without work.
Why would Solomon say the above? Is it a sin to remember the past? That’s not his point. Job had a very pleasant past before Satan afflicted him. He was wealthy. He had wonderful children which he prayed for. He was a godly man. Yahweh loved and bragged on him. And, his wife was more encouraging back then! He lost everything except his counseling wife and some accusing friends. He was sick and burden with unbearable pain. There seemed to be no relief available. Like so many today when afflicted, he wondered why this was happening to him. The only comfort would be in remembering the past.
As one reads these twelve chapters, keep in mind that Solomon is describing why life is meaningless. Growing up I had a special meal that I enjoyed. Some may not appreciate my culinary delight, but cornbread, pinto beans, and a sweet onion were a delicacy! However, if I had to eat that menu three times daily, seven days a week, for the past 70 years or more, I would gag at the sight of a plate of beans! Solomon describes how monotonous life can be, if this existence is all there is! No one escapes that tediousness. If there is no God, life becomes meaningless.
When his brother died, the self-proclaimed agnostic of yesteryear, Colonel Robert Ingersoll, spoke at his brother’s grave site. President Garfield, who was one of the pall bearers, said that the Colonel broke down and cried like a child during his speech. Among other things, Ingersoll said:
“Though every hour is rich with love, and every moment is jeweled with a joy, it will at its close be a tragedy as deep and dark as can be woven of the warp and woof of mystery and death. Life is a narrow vale between the cold and barren peaks of two eternities; we strive in vain to look beyond the heights; we cry aloud, and the only answer is our wailing cry. From the voiceless lips of the un-replying dead there comes no word.”
Most want to be remembered for something which they considered worthwhile. But what will faded pictures or a short inscription tell future generations? Solomon mentioned a wise man who saved his small town from the army of a great king. Yet Solomon sums up his life with, “Everyone forgot about him!” Solomon was showing that life is meaningless without God! If we are born to die and that’s it, then we are no different than the animals. Rich or poor, healthy or not, wise or a fool, industrious or lazy, life ends with a “so what?” There is no meaning to those few years if there is no God.
“Remember your Creator while you are young . . . Now the conclusion of the whole thing has been heard. Here is my advice: Revere the one true God and obey His commands. Why? Because this is the most important thing that anyone can do!” (12:1, 13 KJV & IEB).