Getting Away With It

Ecclesiastes 8:10 -9:10

  1. For Starters
  1. How do you react when you see someone else getting away with doing wrong?
  • A Look at the Text

I What does the Text say?

Apparently as a child my grandma was always up to mischief whether it was pinning things to the deacon’s coats so when they stood to pray they appeared to have tails or dropping items down the neighbour’s chimney.  However, Nana was always able to keep a straight face unlike her twin sister who as a result ended up getting into trouble whilst Nana got away with it.

What does the preacher (Solomon) have to say about people who seem to get away with it?

It looks like people get away with it – are we to just make the best of it?

8:10-11: Justice takes a long time to happen.  Two years ago, a footballer was arrested for a serious offence. It has only been in the last few weeks that he has been charged. The case has not even gone to court yet. Imagine being a victim of crime having to wait so long for justice. However things appear worse than that here. The wicked are able to put on an appearance so that they are praised as they go in and out to worship. Justice seems absent in this life.

In fact, it seems like the wicked get justice and the righteous get judgement (8:14)  It doesn’t matter what you do (9:1-6).

8:16-17 It looks as though we cannot understand God’s plans and work. We try everything. We work hard seeking to make sense of things.  We might at this stage think about theologians pour over their books. Many have concluded that God is so unknowable that we cannot say anything positively true about him (what God is) we can only describe him by negation (what God is not).[1]

II What does the text mean?

  1. How does Christ fulfil this Scripture

1 Peter 2  shows us how Christ fulfils this. He is first of all our example of how to respond to unfair suffering as he responds with patient goodness. However, more than that, secondly and most importantly he is the one who takes our place as substitute.

We need to remember that whilst we have our own individual grievances against our fellow human beings, we all belong in the category of the wicked, appearing to get away with it. Justice was a long time coming because God chose mercifully to bear with us patiently until Christ came. This reminds us that justice has already come. It happened for us at Calvary when Jesus was condemned in our place. It will happen to those who refuse to accept him on judgement day.

  • Where is hope in the passage?

Seeing Christ in the passage helps us approach it again from a Gospel perspective and discover it is full of hope not cynicism.

We see that:

9:4-5:  It is the living who have hope. It is better to be an alive dog than a dead lion. The wicked may appear like lions as they are often rich and powerful but one day they will be dead and have nothing. Indeed, more than that we know that they remain dead in sin whilst we are alive in Christ.

8:10  tells us that the wicked are buried and forgotten 9:5, they  go to Sheol – 9:10 – justice does come. As we saw earlier, there are two places where justice happens. It is either on the Cross in Christ for us or on Christ’s return in judgement to us.

8:12 Solomon confidently say that he  knows it will be well for those who fear God.

8:15  Therefore he can say “I commend joy” cf 9:9

8:16-17 points to God’s greatness, his infinity and eternity so we can rest secure in him. He has approved/purposed/justified (9:7-9)

  • A Look at ourselves

How will this enable you to face injustice this week?

What would you say to someone who thinks that they are getting away with it?

[1] This type of theology leads to something impenetrable in its own right and without hope. Personally I would stay well clear.

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