Monday, September 4, 2023

Consider God’s Work (Ecclesiastes 7:13-8:1)

"… who can make straight what He has made crooked?" (Eccl. 7:13).

The Preacher asks us to consider a deeply profound truth, which, when rightly understood, can help us through difficult times: “Consider the work of God; for who can make straight what He has made crooked? In the day of prosperity be joyful, but in the day of adversity consider: surely God has appointed the one as well as the other.”

We learn from the Preacher that the best way to deal with the ups and downs of life is to consider things from God’s point of view. God has promised that He will work all things out for our good—if we are His children. He has promised that all things are designed according to His goodness and His wisdom—all for His glory. God has also assured us that He is in control of all things—the good and the bad. Therefore, we can be comforted remembering that everything that happens to us is for a wise and glorious purpose, and for our good.

Because God has a purpose for every season of our lives, there is no sense in trying to change what God has already established. Instead of arguing with God and trying to thwart His purposes, let us take the advice of the Preacher: when times are good, be happy; but when times are bad, consider. God allows us to enjoy times of refreshment and ease, but as Charles Bridges cleverly puts it, “it is hard to hold a full cup steady.” Sometimes, God finds it necessary to pour a little, or a lot, from our cups to teach us to hold them more steady. During those times, it is our duty to consider what God is teaching us, to search out the good in the midst of adversity. We can be sure it is there.

Our lives have just the right amount of prosperity and adversity. God Keeps a perfect balance. “What God has done, He has done best,” Bridges writes. “He has indeed kept His own time, and used His own means—not ours. But He has made us to see in the end, that His time and means are better than ours. Whatever seems to oppose or to perplex—remember—it is our Father’s work; and let us learn to take a cheerful view of that lot, which He has ordained solely for our happiness, and which under His guidance will turn to the best account.”

Read Job 1:6–2:10. Who allowed Job to be afflicted? Did Job recognize that God was in control of his adversity? How did he deal with his affliction (1:21–22)? Think about how you deal with the troubles you face. If you are facing some trial at this time, consider what the Lord is teaching you and how you should respond.