Thursday, April 07, 2011

Every Day Light




What's Scarce?

"... I found one [upright] man among a thousand ..." (v. 28)


For reading & meditation: Ecclesiastes 7:25-29

Wisdom was something very important to Solomon. It was this that he prayed for when God said to him: 'Ask for whatever you want me to give you' (1 Kings 3:5). In addition, Solomon had set out to discover all he could about earthly wisdom. When he put all his findings together, he concluded human wisdom was not all it was cracked up to be.

His next remark, one that some would say is extremely sexist, makes the point that while wisdom was elusive, so also was righteousness, and although he had found one righteous man in a thousand, he had not found one righteous woman at all. Does this mean that men are better than women? Of course not. Solomon is just making a comparison which in his culture would not have the connotation it has today. He is using what we call hyperbole - an exaggerated statement made for emphasis.

Even if he was saying that men are better than women then, as R. Gordis points out: "When you work out his figures men are only one tenth of one percent better than women." His real point is seen in verse 29 - righteousness is scarce.

Why? It's not God's fault, because in the beginning He made humankind pure and upright. But tragedy struck, and through the willful disobedience of Adam and Eve, sin invaded human nature. Our problems are not God's fault, but ours. They are not around us, but within us. We can't blame anyone other than ourselves for our lack of righteousness. The reason we are not righteous is because we don't want to be.

Father, I am so thankful that although I cannot find righteousness in myself, I can find it in You. Through Christ's sacrifice for me on Calvary I have righteousness not merely imputed to me, but imparted to me. I am eternally grateful. Amen.

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