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January 8, 1990

Getting What We Deserve

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All this I saw, as I applied my mind to everything done under the sun. There is a time when a man lords it over others to his own hurt. Then too, I saw the wicked buried—those who used to come and go from the holy place and receive praise in the city where they did this. This too is meaningless. . . . Although a wicked man commits a hundred crimes and still lives a long time, I know that it will go better with God-fearing men, who are reverent before God. Yet because the wicked do not fear God, it will not go well with them, and their days will not lengthen like a shadow. ECCLESIASTES 8:9-13

When we look around at people of influence and in positions of leadership, it is easy to find things that just aren’t right. Some folks are held in high regard even though they are quite evil. Other leaders gained their leadership by stepping all over people on their way to the top.

Why are these people given such credibility and held in such high esteem? They certainly don’t deserve it. It just doesn’t make sense.

Solomon doesn’t try to answer the question. Part of his pragmatic mind-set, which we see throughout the Book of Ecclesiastes, includes making observations about the inequities of life without trying to come up with a satisfying answer. But neither does he simply pose problems without any sense of a solution. And in this case, the solution is for us to take the long perspective.

What kind of long perspective? Unfortunately, as Solomon indicates, bad people seem to get away with doing bad things. But God knows who does what. And He will settle the score on an individual basis. Specifically, “Because the wicked do not fear God, it will not go well with them” (Ecclesiastes 8:13).

So what about somebody who does the right thing but may not get the headlines or the credit? Solomon says, “I know that it will go better with God-fearing men, who are reverent before God” (v. 12). Their days, he implies, will lengthen like a shadow.

Are you tired of keeping your integrity but remaining in the background? Take heart; your days will be lengthened, and God will bless you for it.

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