Again I saw under the sun that the race is not to the swift, or the battle to the strong, or bread to the wise, or riches to the discerning, or favor to the skillful; rather, time and chance happen to all of them.
~Ecclesiastes 9:11, Holman
Merit is not always rewarded because the world can be unfair. Wisdom, skill and hard work can promote success but not guarantee it.
~Duane A. Garrett
The keyword today is chance [pega‘] which can be translated: occurrence, happening, chance, incident or event. Practically every English translation uses the word ‘chance’ and the GNT reads ‘bad luck,’ but Solomon didn’t really believe in good or bad luck. If you study the book of Ecclesiastes as a whole, you learn that Solomon had a strong view of the sovereignty of God. His point, which is excellent, is that deserving individuals do not always win in this unjust world system. There are no guaranteed formulas for success. I like the God’s Word Translation best…I saw something else under the sun. The race isn’t [always won] by fast runners, or the battle by heroes. Wise people don’t necessarily have food. Intelligent people don’t necessarily have riches, and skilled people don’t necessarily receive special treatment. But time and unpredictable events overtake all of them. No human being can foresee these unpredictable events.
The world’s value system is cruel. Not only does the world award the undeserving, they soon forget the deserving. Princess Diana and Mother Teresa died on the same day but we heard nothing about Mother Teresa’s death for days because the news of Diana’s untimely demise flooded the airways. On November 22, 1963, the greatest Christian apologist since Paul and Apollo died and nothing was said on any news outlet in America because on this same day, John Kennedy was assassinated. How many John Kennedy books have you read lately? Even though the left has made an icon out of Kennedy, C.S. Lewis [on the merit of his own work] has grown in statue over the last two decades to become a household name. Now the left wants to remove statues of George Washington because he owned slaves and they have made Lincoln the new father of the nation because he freed the slaves and preserved the Union, yet he is directly responsible for the deaths of over 600,000 Americans.
Solomon’s point is very clear: it doesn’t matter how hard you work or compete, unpredictable events may keep you from winning or succeeding. There is no guaranteed formula for success so the best thing to do is fear God and keep His commandments.
In a Jewish marriage, the couple drinks from two cups of wine: the first is the cup of JOY which is to remind them that in marriage our JOYS are doubled. The second cup is the cup of SACRIFICE which forewarns the young couple that burdens, problems and trials will someday come to the marriage but together, the troubles will be cut in half. So marriage doubled our joy and cuts our sorrow in half. It is unrealistic for a couple to get married and to think they will live a life of bliss. Although Solomon often sounds cynical in Ecclesiastes; it is not really cynicism but naked reality. In a much kinder, gentler way, Jesus taught the same principle in the Sermon on the Mount. The storms came to both the wise and the foolish man.
I listened to a John MacArthur lecture coming home from Birmingham Saturday. The title and most of the content is about Christians and Alcohol but he has one very interesting segment on slavery. The entire thing is good. If you think it’s OK for Christians to drink, you need to watch the entire thing but the segment on slavery begins near minute 39…it is a very interesting lecture. The left is grossly ignorant on many subjects but none more than the subject of slavery.
- Doug called today and we talked about the service on Sunday. It was a highlight for both of us. I am meeting he, Danny and David for lunch on Friday. Looking forward to the fellowship.
- Had one of those days where I intended to get a lot done but got interrupted, by my own children. Needless to say, we didn’t get a lot done. I did get a load of horse manure from Robert Pope and he does have two John Deere tractors: matter of fact he has four. He has two very modern tractors and then he has a G and an A. Sue told me at the ball game, earlier, that this envy toward those who have John Deere tractors is getting to be a problem. I am envious but the LORD is going to work it out. I believe that whatever is going to happen will! What about you?
- I going to the hospital early in the morning so I have to go to bed a little earlier than usual which means an early post. Some of you will read this Monday night but it is Tuesday’s post.