NO GOD; NO HOPE
Lord, I come before you with a ready heart to hear you speak today.
Read Ecclesiastes 3:16–22
16 And I saw something else under the sun:
In the place of judgment—wickedness was there,
in the place of justice—wickedness was there.
17 I said to myself,
“God will bring into judgment
both the righteous and the wicked,
for there will be a time for every activity,
a time to judge every deed.”
18 I also said to myself, “As for humans, God tests them so that they may see that they are like the animals. 19 Surely the fate of human beings is like that of the animals; the same fate awaits them both: As one dies, so dies the other. All have the same breath[a]; humans have no advantage over animals. Everything is meaningless. 20 All go to the same place; all come from dust, and to dust all return. 21 Who knows if the human spirit rises upward and if the spirit of the animal goes down into the earth?”
22 So I saw that there is nothing better for a person than to enjoy their work, because that is their lot. For who can bring them to see what will happen after them?
a Ecclesiastes 3:19 Or spirit
New International Version (NIV)
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectWhat is life like for those without hope?
This passage describes the sad reality of a life without God. There is no hope, no assurance of anything beyond the grave (21). If death is the end for us, then we really do have no advantage over animals (19). All that is left for us is to enjoy life while we can (22).
Sadly, this is the philosophy of many of those around us. If you believe that there is no God, no afterlife, nothing beyond the here and now, then it makes perfect sense simply to enjoy yourself as much as possible (22). Even though God has put eternity in people’s hearts (3:11), our society encourages us to seek to have fun today instead of thinking about what might come later.
The Teacher has no assurance that there is an afterlife (21) or that what we do in this life might have eternal consequences (20). Thankfully, our hope is not in human understanding, or in our work and great achievements – the things the Teacher has put his energies into throughout his life. Rather, our hope is in Jesus Christ who said, “I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in me will live even if he dies” (John 11:25).
In what do you put your hope? What does it mean to have Jesus at the center of your life? How does this shape your priorities?
Lord, I pray for friends and colleagues who do not have faith in Christ. May they believe and find their hope in Jesus.