Lent Devotional: Ecclesiastes 4

by Jonathan Haefs

Ecclesiastes 4 (click here)
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. And I thought the dead who are already dead more fortunate than the living who are still alive. But better than both is he who has not yet been and has not seen the evil deeds that are done under the sun. (Ecclesiastes 4:1-3)

Reflection
An honest assessment of the world we live in doesn’t give Solomon any hope of finding meaning. On the contrary, things seem more senseless than ever. The world is filled with evil and oppression…so much so that for many people he thinks it would have been better had they never been born. Even he, with all his riches and wisdom, is not powerful enough to permanently stem the tide of injustice.

Solomon recognizes that even the good done by one generation will be undone by the next. History teaches us that we are prone to repeat our follies. So again he cries out…all is vanity! Is there any hope for a world so full of injustice and senseless pain? Is there one who is both powerful enough and possessing the right resources to rid the world of injustice and fill it with righteousness?

If someone like that exists…they cannot be found “under the sun” where we see so many evil deeds. If someone who can save us exists, they will have to come to us…that would take extreme love. Is there anyone out there who loves us that much?

*The complete SVCC Lenten reading guide is available here.

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