Read: Ecclesiastes 7:27-29
God created man upright, but men pursue their own schemes, so the Preacher says. These words resonate with what the Preacher had said earlier concerning the issues of righteousness (Ecclesiastes 7:20). Truly righteous people don’t exist, but even those that come close the Preacher thinks are hard to find. He is unable to find righteous people among thousands of people. When God created man, man was in a relationship with God and without sin. But it wasn’t long before man was tempted and fell, and ever since the first sin, men who were created by God to live according to God’s ways, have lived according to their own ways. The Hebrew the word translated “schemes” or “devices” carries with it the idea of a machine, craft, or invention of sort. Rather than use the God-provided devices, man invented his own and uses them.
The Preacher arrived at this conclusion basically by eliminating all number of other things. He was trying to discover why men were not righteous by reasoning from any number possible explanations. As mentioned, he also looked for righteous people and failed to find any. The conclusion he makes is rather simple and rather apparent – man does not follow God, but apparently the Preacher didn’t want to accept the obvious explanation. Paul in his case against all of humanity noted that no one seeks God and that all have turned away (Romans 3:1-20). He quote from the Old Testament verses that say no one seeks God (Psalms 14:1-3, Isaiah 53:1-3). The Jews had the Law and the Gentiles had conscience to tell them this truth (Romans 2:15). There can be no mistake about it. Rather than worship God, man made for themselves other things and pursued those instead, and this has been what the Preacher sees as a fundamental problem of concerning the relationship. Men claim to be wise in their own eyes by inventing folly and following it, which has dire consequences (Romans 1:20-32).
People, then, have basically two options: follow God’s inventions or follow their own inventions. Christians should follow God’s. Following God’s inventions are reasonably easier anyways for a number of reasons. First of all, God’s inventions already exist. One does not have to “reinvent the wheel” so to speak. Second, they are made by a perfect being that has infinitely more wisdom and knowledge than man. Third, God’s inventions are made by the one who made man. It would be reasonable to think that the one who made man knows man better than man knows himself. These are probably just a few of the reasons why it is more prudent to follow God.
Lord, help me to know and follow your ways!