Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Balance

15 I have seen everything in my days of vanity:

There is a just man who perishes in his righteousness,
And there is a wicked man who prolongs life in his wickedness.
16 Do not be overly righteous,
Nor be overly wise:
Why should you destroy yourself?
17 Do not be overly wicked,
Nor be foolish:
Why should you die before your time?
18 It is good that you grasp this,
And also not remove your hand from the other;
For he who fears God will escape them all.
(Ecclesiastes 7:15-18, New King James Version)

Balance

There is a just man who perishes in his righteousness,
And there is a wicked man who prolongs life in his wickedness.

I know that we have all seen this same observation made by Solomon. Will living a just life grant us length of days? Will living a wicked life shorten our days? As I pondered this I came to understand that there is no formula for life with built in guarantees.

What does that mean? Does the manner in which we live make any difference? Solomon gives us some valuable insights into this dilemma. In essence, he tells us to live a life of balance.

16 Do not be overly righteous,
Nor be overly wise:
Why should you destroy yourself?

Solomon is not speaking of the righteousness of Christ; he is speaking of man's self righteousness. We have all met a person in life like this; perhaps it has been us! This person lives a model life, and is proud of his own righteousness. Usually this is also a person we are not able to correct because they will soon explain their perfection to us. Yes, we can see how a life lived like this would lead to destruction, or extreme unhappiness.

17 Do not be overly wicked,
Nor be foolish:
Why should you die before your time?

This is a little easier for us to understand. One who lives a life of wickedness usually has a short life expectancy. This may be due to the health hazards of a profligate living style, or it may be due to having one's life taken by one's enemies.

18 It is good that you grasp this,
And also not remove your hand from the other;
For he who fears God will escape them all.

What is the answer? We are to live a life of balance. How can we do that? Solomon simply states, For he who fears God will escape them all. That is the answer.

Let us pray that through our fear of God we will avoid a life of self-righteousness or wickedness, but rather live in the peace and joy of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

God Bless You,
Linda

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