Ralph's Daily Devotional - Friday, April 20

Ecclesiastes 12:13-14 concludes with the admonition of fearing God and keeping His commandments.  I'm happy to leave Ecclesiastes and to move onto sunnier books such as John's gospel or Paul's letter to the Philippians.  Ecclesiastes has been for me a dark and winding road, often filled with things that are hard to understand.  It's been challenging and at times bewildering to make sense of what it says in light of other Scriptures.

Yet it's given me a greater appreciation for what God has done and will yet do in Christ.  Sometimes the darkness is the best place from which to see the light.

I love astronomy.  In our Nevada home I have a beautiful telescope set up where I explore the clear desert sky.  The stars, like jewels, stand out against the blackness of space.  Even so with this book.  It is an honest, if not myopic, assessment of life, helping us to both hope and rejoice in the light that dawned Christmas morning and the cry, "Joy to the world! The Lord has come!"

In the New Testament, Paul states: "If Christ is not raised, we are most miserable and our faith is in vain."  Paul uses the word "vain" just like the writer of Ecclesiastes uses in his opening chapter where he states, "All is vanity."

In this chapter, Paul speaks of life without the risen Christ.  He is saying pretty much what Ecclesiastes is saying - that without Jesus' resurrection, life ultimately affords little comfort or joy, and that our Christianity without Jesus is a vain hope.  If Christ has not been raised, we find ourselves back in the world of Ecclesiastes!  Eat, drink and be merry, for tomorrow we die.  All is dust in the wind. Yuck!

But Christ is risen!  The hope and triumph of Romans 8 is that "nothing now in light of this can separate us from the love of God in Christ."

Grace is God's light piercing through the darkness. That's not wishful thinking.  That's a wish that came true (John 14:6).


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