Ecclesiastes 9:1-6: Real Hope

Read: Ecclesiastes 9:1-6

The Preacher seems to be all doom and gloom in chapter 9 of Ecclesiastes. He again he reflects on the common destiny of all people – the righteous and the wicked, the ones who take oaths and those that do not – there is no difference so the Preacher thinks. The Preacher tops off his lament with saying that the human hearts are full of evil and madness. In a poetic form, the Preacher waxes about how people are forgotten after they are dead. Not only do they die, the memories of the ones who have died die as well. And yet in spite of all this, the Preacher says there is still hope in the ones who live. He seems to think that even in spite of the certainty of death and the obvious evil that fills people hearts people still have a hope – there is a certain yearning to for the eternal in the hearts of men (Ecclesiastes 3:1-15).

God set men’s heart on this, and perhaps on purpose. In Acts 17:22-31, Paul gives a discourse concerning how God made the world and its contents and has made the world such that men would seek after God. Paul then talks about the coming judgment and how God has commanded everyone to repent and how Jesus’s resurrection is the proof of this. While the Preacher seems only certain about death, Paul is saying that there is a coming judgment for all – even those who have died. The hope that that yearns for the eternal is made possible by resurrection.

The Christian gospel strikes a chord with men because it is with the Christian gospel that one finds what he or she is seeking and he fulfills the yearnings of his or her heart with the gospel. 1 Peter 1:3-5 couldn’t say it better:

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. (ESV)

There is new birth to a “living hope” through the resurrection of Jesus. This stands in stark contrast to the doom and gloom of the Preacher talking about the evil that exists in all men and the certainty of death. This is free from evil the taint of sin and is eternal. This is what the heart is seeking and yearns for and can only be found one place, and that is through faith in Jesus. Christians should, as 1 Peter 1:4 says, rejoice in this hope. The hope here is not pie-in-the-sky, rather it is as real and was proved to be so by the resurrection of Jesus!

Lord, your resurrection gives me a living hope! Help me to celebrate that!