Read Ecclesiastes 8:14. In what ways do you see the stark and powerful reality of what is written here?
While suffering, oppression, and tragedy are hard enough to bear in their own right, the injury or insult is harder still if it appears to be meaningless or unnoticed. The possible meaninglessness of sorrow is heavier than its initial burden.
A world without record or final justice is the ultimate in cruel absurdity. No wonder atheist writers in the twentieth century lamented about what they believed was the “absurdity” of the human condition. With no hope of justice, no hope of judgment, no hope of things being made right, ours would indeed be an absurd world.
But the cry of Ecclesiastes 8:14 is not the end of the story. At the end of his protests, Solomon takes a sudden turn. In the midst of his laments about meaninglessness, he says, essentially: Hold on a minute, God is going to judge, so everything is not meaningless; in fact, now everything and everyone matters.
Read Ecclesiastes 12:13-14. What does this tell us about just how important all that we do here is?
The hope of judgment comes down to what one believes about the core nature of God, life, and the world in which we live. As we have seen, the Bible insists that we live in a world that God created and loves, but a world that has gone wrong and in which God is working toward His plan for re-creation, all through the life and death of Jesus. God’s judgment is a key part of His setting our world right. For those on the receiving end of so many of the world’s wrongs—those who have been marginalized, brutalized, oppressed, and exploited—the promise of judgment is surely good news.
What does it mean to you to know that, one day, and in ways we can’t imagine, the justice that we so much long for now will finally come? How can we draw hope from this promise?