I hated all my labor

 

DSC03239  DSC03104

20. You spend much of your allotted time striving, only to find there is not much left for enjoyment. There is the other element of reduced joy because of aging and its effects on mind and body. Under the present arrangements you spend your life gathering and building up for retirement, only to find life has past you by. They give you a sum of money claiming they have put it to good use and now it is yours to enjoy.

The Preacher has proved the point from his own experience. If you are to challenge it you would need to show from your experience that it is different.

There is a significant sample taken to corroborate the conclusion. This sample is the working life of a distinguished person. Not a sample to ridicule. Not unrepresentative or meaningless, but one to which all can relate. He gave the tree a good shake. It might have been worthwhile, except for the fact that it was threatened as soon as he left the scene.

18 Then I hated all my labor in which I had toiled under the sun, because I must leave it to the man who will come after me. 19 And who knows whether he will be wise or a fool? Yet he will rule over all my labor in which I toiled and in which I have shown myself wise under the sun. This also is vanity. I hated all my labour. History tells the end of this story. The son of Solomon, a man called Rehoboam, lost the kingdom shortly after he assumed the throne. Ten of the twelve tribes made Jeroboam king and there was friction between the two parts from that time forward. The Preacher had reason to express his concern. The social system, the finely balanced economic structure was dismantled, and in its place a feeble and ineffective system that no one was happy about. The power was gone.

20 Therefore I turned my heart and despaired of all the labor in which I had toiled under the sun. The Preacher could only despair, because his achievements were grand. The whole system depended on his ingenuity. He was like the conductor of an orchestra, and he knew that anyone taking control of Israel would find it difficult to keep everyone in tune, and in time.

Well what can you do but get depressed? Perhaps you should not make such grand plans. Perhaps you should not worry about firm Government and a settled society. Perhaps you should not bother to set things up, when you know that finally they will fall apart and the people be worse off than before. Perhaps you should make all your plans for the contingency that someone taking over will lose control. What do you do? You just despair. There is no answer to the question, because you know that you will leave the scene and the people will suffer.

Some say; there is arrogance in his approach. He assumes things. He does not admit the time honored traditions of past generations, where we have built up this store of knowledge. Generations do not just pass away, they leave a heritage, a vast store of knowledge.

The thing is we need to examine everything to see if it is true. It must make sense. Life is something we have in common and we would all like to do it properly. We know if we damage other people or even ourselves we make things worse for us and the ones we love. Why would we do that? We need to work with others to make their lives and our lives worthwhile. Life would be a lot easier if people did not do unkind things to us, because we would not be tempted to do unkind things to them. Do to others as you would have them do to you. That makes sense to me.

 

 

 

Wisdom excels folly

test1 (6)   BB

19. 13 Then I saw that wisdom excels folly as light excels darkness. That makes sense. So a life in pursuit of a goal is much better than a life spent doing nothing. It is as light is to darkness, because: 14 The wise man’s eyes are in his head, but the fool walks in darkness. yet I myself perceived that the same event happens to them all. What is the point here? A wise man needs to see where he is going and what his aims are. But a fool is content to remain in the dark. So if you are wise you will want to know the answer to the question. A fool does not even know what the question is. What is this same event that is common to all?

The tragedy of life is that man is bound by time, and Solomon wants everyone to admit this limit, because it is the single most frustrating aspect of life.

15 So I said in my heart, “As it happens to the fool, it also happens to me, and why was I then more wise?” Then I said in my heart, “this also is vanity.” What happens to Solomon that he has in common with all other men is they all die. Death is a great leveller. It brings everyone down to size.

We left Solomon with the idea that his full-on life of enterprise and struggle was a bit unsatisfactory. Why did he chase a life of privation? He complains later that his effort caused him to lose sleep. There was much aggravation associated with pursuit of goals. So he asks, why did I bother, why did I make myself more wise?

That he is moved to ask this question is unsettling. The energetic and purposeful man or woman would agree with all the conclusions so far, claiming you must make something of yourself to be fulfilled. Striving is a virtue that has its own reward. Well the question he asks now throws that conclusion into doubt. Why would The Preacher go beyond what all agree is good advice and shatter everyone’s illusion? His reason is to get at the truth. It is not hard to feel involved in this. This is our life.

16 For there is no more remembrance of the wise than of the fool forever, since all that now is will be forgotten in the days to come. and how does a wise man die? As the fool! As much as it may seem better to follow a goal, to see where you are going, and plan carefully to avoid disaster, it also is vanity because you have so little control.

Time is brought into the equation and it mocks everything you do. You may say, that is a harsh judgment, but you must admit it is a reason to consider. Why put yourself to all the turmoil of striving, when the result is so dubious?

I have to say that if the wise man dies the same as the fool, and we know a fool does not live forever, then the question of a wise man living forever is cast into doubt.

Solomon tells us there is no advantage to the wise, because they all go to one place. If the wise man inherits a place of pleasure forever how can he say he dies like a fool? And why does he go on to say he hated life? That is part of the next verse so we will read on.

17 Therefore I hated life because the work that was done under the sun was distressing to me, for all is vanity and grasping for the wind. Time is the single most significant element in frustrating life, because there is so little of it. Seventy years seems a long time to all but those who are halfway there.

 

 

 

Musical Instruments

The deep   The deep

18. Never underestimate the difficulties involved in justly managing the workload of domestic servants. He mentions it here because he knew he had done it right. So right there were a group of people who preserved their identity in Israel beyond the seventy years captivity in Babylon, and hundreds of years after his reign, who called themselves the children of Solomon’s servants. It was not something of which they were ashamed. To claim to be children of the servants of Solomon two hundred years later suggests they were proud of this claim. He involved himself in animal care and the procedures for analyzing diseases of herd animals large and small. He set up vineyards that took many years to bear fruit.

Historians declare the vintage of Israel was of fine quality, clearly signaling they knew and understood how to make and preserve fine wines. Some say the delights of the sons of men refer to his concubines, but the flow of argument is destroyed if we accept this. The term musical instruments only occurs once, and it is difficult to prove what it is talking about. It appears he engaged in the Arts. The men singers and women singers and the delights of the sons of men speak of various art forms, all of which lift the spirits of men above the mundane. Men of renown record their mark in artistic works, since works of art need the greatest focus of human energy to the point where perfection is almost achieved. In music we have some of the finest and most perfect of the accomplishments of man.

Men are fascinated by the value and quality of the Masters as they are respectfully called. So, great men turn to the arts after they have built their empire and look for something that is more complete than the things that they have done themselves. They find it in works of Art. It is the peak of man’s accomplishments. There are many in the world, who dedicate their lives to the arts, because they see in it the only assurance of immortality. In any other activity there is no offer of memorial beyond the grave.

9 So I became great and excelled more than all who were before me in Jerusalem. Also my wisdom remained with me. 10 Whatever my eyes desired I did not keep from them. I did not withhold my heart from any pleasure, for my heart rejoiced in all my labor; and this was my reward from all my labor. The danger is that a man will be so blinded by his achievements he cannot view them objectively. But Solomon’s wisdom remained with him. He could see through all the toil and ask what was the best thing to come out of it? He enjoyed doing it. That was his portion. You need to ask before you start all this labor, is it just to enjoy doing it? Is that a good reason for starting in the first place? Had that been the only reason one might not have bothered. If all you get in the end is something you could have doing something else, or nothing at all, you might not start.

11 Then I looked on all the works that my hands had done and on the labor in which I had toiled; and indeed all was vanity and grasping for the wind. there was no profit under the sun. He was a man of great achievement. There should have been something more for him. If you want to protest then now is the time to do it.

12 Then I turned myself to consider wisdom and madness and folly; for what can the man do who succeeds the king?— only what he has already done. When The Preacher speaks of wisdom here, he is talking about the wisdom he applied in the building works and other goals, that wisdom that enabled him to design and build. He needed a contrast to see what was the best that he could do? The one who follows him will experience the same constraints. This seems to be his advice.

I built houses

Antipatris fortress .   Shuttle 10076624

17. We are not dealing with drunkenness, for he quickly says he was still aware of what he was doing. People who drink wine appear merry and uninhibited, as if they have found something that allows a constant state of enjoyment. The Preacher sought to discover the delight wine could give, and the reason others applaud it. He decides it is of no importance. And he dispenses with another leisure activity put forward to explain the purpose of all the work.

4 I made my works great, I built myself houses, and planted myself vineyards. 5 I made myself gardens and orchards, and I planted all kinds of fruit trees in them. 6 I made myself water pools from which to water the growing trees of the grove. 7 I acquired male and female servants, and had servants born in my house. Yes, I had greater possessions of herds and flocks than all who were in Jerusalem before me. 8 I also gathered for myself silver and gold and the special treasures of kings and of the provinces. I acquired male and female singers, the delights of the sons of men, and musical instruments of all kinds. Now we come to some hefty enterprise, real mind stretching activity. He was the Chief Executive Officer of a huge administration. We are told there was so much food that came into the court of the King there must have been about thirty thousand people allowed within the precincts of the palace.

In the time when he were built the temple, there were one hundred and eighty thousand laborers involved in the work, and one hundred and fifty three thousand Gentiles as well. There were three thousand three hundred chief officers over the labor force. Solomon was involved in building store houses, cities for his chariots and cities for his horsemen. These were mainly cities strategically positioned throughout Israel for military and administrative purposes.

He built Hazor. He engaged in enormous public works in Megiddo, and Gezer, and Lower Beth Horon, and Baalath, and Tomar in the wilderness. He had to control the trade routes. He set himself the task for a reason. The purpose was to secure Israel against marauding bands, and set up a system that would be able to gather the treasures of kings and of provinces, and survive in a hostile world.

He was at once, a scientist, an architect, an agriculturist and biologist, far in advance of the period in which he lived. We are told that he spoke of trees from the hyssop that grew in the walls to the marvelous Cedars of Lebanon. He could talk of these things as an expert who knew all that was necessary to know to grow them successfully in the right soil and climate to produce the best results.

He was a geologist, politician, a sociologist, an economist, a trader, a financier, and the kingdom revolved around him.

His aqueducts, that provided the water for orchards and fruit trees, and the pools of water that he describes here, to water therewith the wood that brings forth trees,” are a marvel of the ancient world. The ruins remain today, and engineers are staggered by the resourcefulness and skill involved in designing and building them. The Smelting works of Solomon are a fascinating use of available energy and show an appreciation of engineering and design that would challenge a university professor of our day.

These matters are highlighted so we can take out of his catalog of accomplishments the one we would consider most fitting for us. What goal would you set yourself? Would you be a trader, an economist, an accountant? Take your pick.

His accomplishments were significant in all of these different fields. He did not take on a task and fail. We need to accept that we would only set ourselves portion of the tasks he set himself and completed.

 

 

Light excels darkness

Penguins corp2417   Festive pattern great for winter.

16. The Boss measures your success in your job to see if you are making a profit for the business. We need to make some measurements and see if we are progressing in life. It seems Solomon has made them for us and his answer is; there is no profit. But one conclusion he does draw is light excels darkness. We need to know where we are going.

We may find that offensive. He is not trying to disappoint you. He is trying to convince you. Give him a chance to explain. I told you he is abrupt, but he has given you the conclusion and now he is in the process of explaining why he draws this conclusion.

With this thing about “vanity” we can think of many things that make life worthwhile. Solomon has a job to do to convince us of this. We do not see it as “vain.”

Solomon has just begun to make the argument. It will take a few more sessions to make his point. In the mean time just listen and learn. The Church in the matter of Galileo was too hasty. They dismissed his argument without giving it any thought. It was their prejudice against change that prevented them from even listening. This is not the way to get at the truth. You listen to every argument and evaluate it. But you need a strong counter argument before you can dismiss it. You do not dismiss it because you prefer your present position. There must be substance to your reason for believing your position is true. We have a long way to go. Just relax and enjoy the journey. You do not need to fear the outcome. You are looking for truth. Well, truth never hurt anyone. It is the lie that will hurt you. We are not in danger of truth. The truth will make us free.

We want to know what a man should do in his life to get the best out of it. Everyone wants to reach his full potential, so how do you go about doing that?

1 I said in my heart, “Come now, I will test you with mirth; therefore enjoy pleasure”; but surely, this also was vanity. 2 I said of laughter—”Madness”; and of mirth, “What does it accomplish?” 3 I searched in my heart how to gratify my flesh with wine, while guiding my heart with wisdom, and how to lay hold on folly, till I might see what was good for the sons of men to do under heaven all the days of their lives. Not a bad place to start, as most people in our world will decide the most satisfying and fulfilling thing to do with your life is to enjoy pleasure.

The Preacher discovered that it did not provide the affect people imply it has. You tire of it. Too much of a good thing wears thin after a while.

Laughter is a physical response to a process caused by looking at things in a way that is different from the most usual. If you want to cause someone to laugh just twist a well-known phrase or image, so it presents differently than your audience expects. They will laugh. They cannot help it. Some comic changes are more-funny than others, and some people are better able to do it than others, but this is how it is done. The affect on others is good, but they cannot keep responding forever. When they start expecting the change it is not funny anymore. It wears thin, does not work as well, and sometimes closes down altogether, and the comic is perceived a nuisance.

You are compelled to ask “what does it do?” Ask what a friend would like to do for leisure, and laughter and mirth are a popular choice.

But no one considers leisure more than respite from more meaningful and important things. Make it the main game and you soon wonder what you are doing. Even so men devote their lives in pursuit of it.

So he dispenses with one of the activities used to prove things have a useful purpose, by showing it is only a respite. It could not be considered a consuming interest.

 

 

Much grief

cadre sup       African American man in sweatshirt covering face with hands

15. We do not see it that way, but the proof is compelling. 18 for in much wisdom is much grief, And he who increases knowledge increases sorrow.

I said I will tell you when we get to the title. Well there it is. His examination is in two parts. First he will examine pleasure, involving laughter, mirth and wine. From there he continues to contrast the unsatisfactory result with toil. The argument moves on to present his findings about which pursuit is better, madness and folly, or wisdom. It is not surprising that he decides wisdom is better, and gives his reason. But there is still the matter of why wisdom is so unsatisfactory.

About this idea of striving after the wind. Everyone knows when you contain the wind it is nothing, but to liken our lives to that is gross. Yes, the goal once achieved fades away where it was once the only thing that mattered, but it does not mean the achievement is insignificant.

It is not insignificant. Sometimes it is the best that has ever been done by any other human being. But if you spend your life doing it you have a right to ask why did I bother? After all, it will be remembered until someone comes along and does it quicker or better. Then, that significant achievement becomes the sum of your life. At that point you can ask yourself why?

If we say everything is crooked and everything is wanting, and no one can straighten it or make up what is missing. That is too harsh. Some things are fixed. Some things are straightened out. Not as many things as we would like perhaps, but some things. And that would be great if it were to stay that way, but go down the road and it is crooked again. Give it a little time and you have the same old same old. We want it to be fixed forever so it does not always trip us up. Why cannot that be done? I think it means it is crooked.

If we say God cursed the ground for our sake. Why did he do that? It is inconvenient. He has made it crooked. It is his fault. That is what Solomon is telling us. So you ought to listen to the message of God about the way to fix it or it will remain an issue for you. There is a way to fix it. It is part of the argument, but we have not got there yet.

The inventions God complains about are in order. We are trying to straighten the things out that he made crooked. And provided we do it with integrity, and do not make everyone else pay the cost, then there is no complaint. It is the injustice that is complained about, shifting the blame and the load of making it right, that is the problem.

If we say the Romans book takes up the same point as Solomon we need to realize it was written fifteen hundred years later. It speaks of the change back to a perfect world where nothing is decaying. But why would we believe that? Because God said that is the plan.

Man made it wrong in the first place. Man was the one who wanted to change the rules. Death was introduced because people who sin cannot live forever. If you need to change you are not forever. Death is the result of doing things wrong.

I know people who get up in the morning looking forward to the challenge of the new day and thrive on what happens, and then rise the next morning to do it again. And so they should. The alternative is to stay in bed, and where does that get you? People are different and will respond in a variety of ways, but it does not alter the fact that we must face the day. There are people to meet, trains to catch, but it is a bit repetitive, and we need to see it for what it is.

We get up in the morning and shower, get dressed, have breakfast, catch the Bus or train, work hard and then have lunch. We return to our desks, and stop when the work is finished. We usually join our families for tea, read a story to the children, relax and go to sleep. That is all Solomon is saying. Everything we do involves cycles of life that go round and round. While we seem to be a small part of the whole, the world we live in involves cycles as well.

 

 

 

Grasping for the wind

Sailing ship  Stormy sea

14. I need to point out that Quantum theory is a religious philosophy and it points to a creator power. It is the answer science has come up with to explain what they are observing. For instance Electrons jump from one orbit to another without the passage of time. We call this a Quantum leap which means not involving time. Intention can affect a random event. Intentions drive all the processes in our body.

Experiments show our intentions effect what happens in this new world. In the 1970’s a person named Ben Libbit experimented with exposed brains and looked at and measured reactions. He would stimulate the finger and the brain projected the message back in time so the feeling occurs at the same time as the stimulation. It takes time for the message to get to the brain and the brain compensates for that time loss. But the brain is looking into the future. Quantum theory involves multiple places at the same time, things in super position, or multiple possibilities.

I Mention all this to make the point that we were in awe of science and the strides they were making and were under the impression science opposed the truth. We discover now that science is beginning to examine things scripture has always known.

The Preacher fully expects to be opposed by his readers as they grapple with these profound yet intriguing points. So he lets go of his argument to make a few things clear. He is more than adequately equipped to make this examination of life. He is not boasting in any way, simply saying he was better placed than others to make this assessment.

16 I communed with my heart, saying, “Look, I have attained greatness, and have gained more wisdom than all who were before me in Jerusalem. My heart has understood great wisdom and knowledge.” 17And I set my heart to know wisdom and to know madness and folly. I perceived that this also is grasping for the wind. Few people can do what he can do. He had great experience of wisdom and knowledge. He had wealth and prosperity. He could devote himself to the task, to examine it thoroughly and objectively.

When we talk about wisdom what do we mean? Wisdom means to gain knowledge, to get understanding, to get insight, to study and to learn. But to experience the benefit of wisdom, this process of building knowledge, he wanted to contrast it with the opposite. It is described here as madness and folly. That involved unproductive and foolish behavior. The experience of idleness, which many prefer to the rigors of constant and relentless pursuit, highlight the gaining of knowledge was vexation of spirit. What about this term “vexation of spirit”

The picture is developed around the athlete who strives to gain the prize. We have a man who is running with all his might for a single purpose. But when he achieves the goal, and catches hold of the force that was driving him, he finds that it was nothing. That is the sense of the expression “vexation of spirit.” It is striving after wind. The wind is a force. It has energy and momentum and we know of its potential power. But if you contain it, you find that it has no force at all. It is nothing. That is a threatening view. I can understand everyone wanting to challenge that.

The goal once achieved seems insignificant compared to its importance while still in the future. Our goals will motivate and will power us to victory, but there is something perverse about a goal that loses its force when you get there. The reason it does this involves the fleeting nature of fame, and it is not what we imagine it to be. When you achieve the goal you find it is out of proportion to the pain, and you wonder why you bothered. So you start to think about your life and what you are doing.

This is a hypothesis The Preacher will proceed to prove. As a proposition it is negative. He is about to prove that in gathering what we spend much of our lives doing, we are gathering grief.

 

 

 

 

The process of decay

industrial pipes   Nasa lift off 10060793

13. In Romans chapter 8 Paul outlines his understanding of the problem: Verse 18For I consider the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. 19 For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God. 20 For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it in hope; 21 because the creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. 22 For we know that the whole creation groans and labors with birth pangs together until now. 23 Not only that, but we also who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, eagerly waiting for the adoption, the redemption of our body.” Where the word creature occurs we should read creation because this is the sense. The Preacher saw all creation involved in this cycle of labor. Creation is waiting for the time when the sons of God are revealed. Meanwhile we experience this vanity. Who made it subject to vanity? God made it subject to vanity. But he also subjected the same in hope.

Our own bodies begin to die as soon as we are born. It is a process of decay, but it will be changed. Until this change comes, we will always be involved in labor. You will not straighten the situation out, it is not as if you can avoid suffering, it is not as if you can change things so your life is full of pleasure and contentment. This will not happen.

We know of the second law of Thermodynamics that say’s that every form of energy deteriorates over time. Paul tells us, that in the twinkling of an eye, that is in no time at all, we will all be changed, from our present bodies of decay into glorious liberty. That is the only word Paul could find suitable to describe what it will be like when the change takes place. Liberty, that means no longer bound by time, living in a world where time does not exist as a source of frustration, but of pleasure.

In science there is what is known as “a fundamental law of physics” which says, “all transformations of matter that result in the production of energy are a result of degeneration, that is a breaking down from the complex to the simple.

What this means is that every system, left to itself changes in such a way to approach a definite and final state of equilibrium. So substances defuse from concentrated solutions to dilute ones, heat passes from hot bodies to cold, water seeks its own level.

Now I need not remind you the law of thermodynamics that defines this scientific fact, is a product of the increase of knowledge of the last one hundred to one hundred and fifty years. Industrialization made it essential that scientists come up with these laws that can be applied to life on the planet. We use thermodynamics in locomotion, power and energy transfer, it is an essential part of our world. Nowhere in the Universe is there a process where energy builds up from the simple to the complex. It is always a process of degeneration.

Quantum is the one scientific discovery that stands in opposition to the mechanistic world. An electron is not a thing it is a charge and when you get to this level, strange things happen. The sub-atomic level is so confusing that science invented Quantum mechanics to explain it. The second law of Thermodynamics does not apply in the Quantum world. Things can go backwards in time. Since Quantum physics they see the reverse of entropy. This is where everything decays over time to reach equilibrium.

Sustainability and ecology put pressure on the scientist to realize they need to change. Einstein considered that Quantum mechanics destroyed science. He spent his life trying to prove it wrong. But the 20th century blew apart the view of a mechanistic world. And the 21st Century is trying to explain our new world.

The new paradigm tells us we are not separate, we are all one, we are connected.

 

 

Rules

Earth from space 73723054   Voyager probe AC74-9006_a

12. How can we be held responsible for something Adam did wrong? Why do we pay the price when we are not guilty?

The problem is we are guilty because we do the same as he did. The question God placed before Adam when he made the decree not to touch the tree in the middle of the garden was this. ‘Will you do exactly what I advise or will you do something else.’ The answer came back clearly. You give me a law and I will find my way around it, so in the end I do what I want to do. The law brought out an interesting side of the character of man. “God made man upright but he has sought out many inventions.” This is a quotation from Ecclesiastes 7:29.

What is wrong with inventions? It shows initiative, enterprise, independence, qualities of which we can be proud?

Yes it does, mainly in avoiding responsibility to the one who made us. Man is the first to cry foul when their child fails to show respect to the parent, as if the child knows what is best. The father knows the child is using its brain to invent a way around responsibility to do as it is told, so it can do as it wants. What it is told to do is rarely in harmony with what it wants.

However the wise parent will not relent, because they know it is in the best interest of the child to make it obey. The child may not know why it needs to obey the rules. The child knows nothing of social responsibility, and the first thing we teach is how to get along with others.

About guilt, any parent knows the child is born with this inventive quality. So the child exasperates the parents, the wife exasperates the husband, and the husband exasperates God. The inventions become more sophisticated, but are all designed to avoid the need to do exactly what we have been told to do.

God does not make laws to exasperate people. God makes laws to ensure everything is done decently and in order, with consideration for the health and welfare of all involved. Man on the other hand, being only concerned for himself, finds his way around these constraints to take advantage of the situation.

Man employs rules and regulation for the smooth running of his arrangements. He knows that rules are essential to make everyone aware of their responsibility to their neighbor. Only those who obey the rules are allowed to play the game. The others are excluded by enforcement of the rules. Try to avoid the needs of Occupational Health and Safety and see how far you get. If there is an accident then the sky falls on you. Society has learned that safety is important or some innocent person is going to get hurt.

We agree with the rules. We do not uphold the rules, but we agree they are necessary for safety. Is that the only way to get control?

God makes the rules, and God enforces the rules, when it comes to his world. If you do not want to be in his world then do as you will. You will not be in his world. Do not imagine this world you live in is God’s world. He did not intend it to be like this. He did not intend it to be governed by sin, disease and death. These things were introduced because man did not want to live in God’s world. Man wanted a world where he could do as he pleased. This is the world he got. You can do anything you want, provided you are prepared to pay what it costs.

Man is prepared to pay what it costs as long as the cost does not come out of his own pocket. The murder and the mayhem does not affect him, so he does not care. The wars and slaughter are a problem, but as long as they are happening to someone else it does not matter to him. Let it happen to him and God is the most unreasonable, unfair and unjust God you can imagine. And the man lets God know about it.

 

 

 

Crooked

crooked tree  What is crooked

11. You may reject the above statement, but you must at the same time accept the following challenge.

12 I, the Preacher, was king over Israel in Jerusalem. 13 And I set my heart to seek and search out by wisdom concerning all that is done under heaven; this burdensome task God has given to the sons of man, by which they may be exercised. 14 I have seen all the works that are done under the sun; and indeed, all is vanity and grasping for the wind.

We can see it, “this burdensome task God has given to the sons of man, by which they may be exercised.” It is part of the process. But what does it do?

We are going to find out the answer to that. What he does not say is that he presided over the most celebrated period of the history of his people, and the prosperity was because of his initiatives. This man knows what man can and cannot do.

He examined all things. Not just our specialty but everyone else’s specialty. The uniqueness of our special set of experiences is not so unique at all.

Just accept this proposition. It is a sore travail, and God is the one who made it that way. The purpose is to give all his creatures experiences that will force them to reach beyond themselves to a prize reserved for those who get it right. The next verse will make the point.

15 What is crooked cannot be made straight, And what is lacking cannot be numbered. As much as men try, they cannot straighten out their lives. No matter how hard they work at it, the quantity missing remains deficient. The Preacher tried to straighten it and discovered it was impossible, for reasons he will explain. To the end that man should find no profit. By which The Preacher means God made it like that, and you will not fix it. God has arranged the experience of prosperity and misfortune that they balance one another. If the one takes away what the other gives, the result will be nothing. There is no profit.

How many times have you heard men use the expression, “I just want to get a few things straightened out first.” Things are not right, and a little effort in the right direction will fix it. But they never fix it. It always needs attention. They do not realize that God has so arranged things so they cannot fix it.

Is there any information to explain why God has done this? Or is there any evidence to say this theory is flawed? There is information to support and explain, and it is found right at the beginning of the Bible after the sin of Adam; Genesis 3:17. Then to Adam he said, “Because you have heeded the voice of your wife, and have eaten from the tree of which I commanded you, saying,

‘You shall not eat of it’: ” Cursed is the ground for your sake; In toil you shall eat of it All the days of your life. 18 Both thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you, And you shall eat the herb of the field.

That is enough to make the point. The ground is cursed, and it is to teach a lesson. Instead of producing food in profusion it produced sorrow in plenty. It is worthwhile looking at these verses more closely. So read on: Genesis 3:19 “In the sweat of your face you will eat bread till you return unto the ground; for out of it were you taken: for dust you are and to dust you will return.”

What you must realize is that it has been deliberately made hard. After the sin of Adam, God changed things in such a way that Adam, and those that followed are involved in labor and travail all the days of their life. This process of labor will go on and on. This is an endless cycle that will only stop when we are dead. The important thing to realize is that God is the one who has done it, and he has done it for our sake.