Day 5

The Mystery of Injustice and Death

from the Ecclesiastes reading plan


Ecclesiastes 3:16-22, Genesis 3:19, Psalm 104:28-30, Psalm 119:25-26, 1 Corinthians 15:35-58

BY Jessica Lamb

I was recently given a robot vacuum. I’ve wanted one for several years, and the first night we turned it on, my husband and I watched it whir around our living room in awe. Then it stopped abruptly, full of dust, dirt, and who knows what else. We emptied it and ran it again. Then again. We ran it twelve times before it finally seemed satiated. But then when we ran it the next night, it had to be emptied multiple times yet again.

I initially felt defeated. Foolishly, I’d imagined that this gift would mean the permanent end of my dirty floors, instead of understanding it to be a helpful tool in the inevitable. My life is one of perpetually dirty floors, of glitter shed from preschool art projects and baby food flung surprisingly far from the dining room table. There will always be dust for the Roomba at the end of each day. While I can’t stop cleaning, I’m happier when I focus my energy on the joys of the mess-makers instead of pretending like their mess can be fully avoided.

At first glance, the hopelessness of today’s passage seems almost aggressive. Like Adam after the fall (Genesis 3), we read that “all are going to the same place” (meaning we will all die), but then the author of Ecclesiastes seemingly pivots and tells us to “enjoy [our] activities’ (Ecclesiastes 3:20–22).

He tells us to enjoy this life because we know death is a part of our post-fall reality, not just in spite of it. We can’t outrun death any easier than I can outsweep dirt in my home. But if we remember to number our days, we gain wisdom (Psalm 90:12). Against the backdrop of eternity, of knowing that our time here is limited, we can rightly hold all the good and bad of this life in proper perspective.

We can enjoy the blessings in our lives without expecting them to fill us in a way they were never meant to. We can grieve, mourn, and endure pain, because we know those, too, have an expiration date. We can learn to invest our hopes in and entrust our sorrows to an eternal God who satisfies eternally.

And on this side of the cross, we know God does not leave us in dust. Death is not our permanent end. As believers, we will also bear the image of Jesus, the man of heaven (1Corinthians 15:49), whose defeat over the grave is the first taste of a future harvest when all believers will be resurrected (v.20). We know that after death we will find ourselves in the presence of the Lord, where there is abundant joy (2Corinthians 5:8) and resurrection victory over death (1Corinthians 15:57). The gospel transforms the meaning of life, and it transforms the meaning of death.

Post Comments (50)

50 thoughts on "The Mystery of Injustice and Death"

  1. Lindsay C. says:

    We may begin as dust, but we end as a glorified, spiritual, heavenly body. We are born into sin but we are raised to a new life with Jesus our Lord. We are only dust without God and His word. May we find abundant life before and after death.

  2. Mari V says:

    Good morning ladies, go to the website and you can read the devotional that way. I noticed that yesterday too. I did see that devotional posted sometime later in the day.

    1. Marianne Reuter says:

      Of course we can, but considering that we pay for using the app it‘s a bit annoying that it doesn‘t work …

  3. Paula JeanShelby says:

    Why is the app a day behind?

    1. Lynn Jeppesen-Thomson says:

      Yes I wondered this too! I’m in the UK and it usually updates around 8am our time. It’s now updated much later for the last couple of days. Loving the studies though!

  4. Nicole Green says:

    “We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.”
    ‭‭2 Corinthians‬ ‭5:8‬ ‭
    This is our hope and eternal promise.

  5. Isa Ryan says:

    This was such a powerful reading, especially after the previous day, which discussed how the kingdom is spiritual rather than carnal. It really makes me think how often I’m thinking in a temporal, rather than eternal, mindset, and seeking satisfaction in earthly things that can never truly fulfill me.

  6. Jessica Nicolas says:

    Before COVID-19 I found myself striving and going so fast. I did not enjoy my work as Solomon wisely suggests. Since I’ve had to slow down I am soaking it all up. Enjoying the little things. I’m making choices and changes to continue just that and this means a lot of things will be sacrificed. But in the long run I want to enjoy what I have while I await what God has for me in eternity. ♡

    1. S J says:

      That’s is really wonderful. I feel like this time has changed my mind as well and is bringing me closer to God and thinking about what is important.

  7. Annie Bartley says:

    This is so beautiful Jessica. Much needed as I continue to struggle with grief, faith and all the things since my beloved Mom passed away last August. So comforted in this moment.

    1. Brenda Davenport says:

      Annie – continued grace to you. I also unexpectedly lost my mom last July and each day holds new struggles. Know you are heard and seen, and not alone. ❤️

  8. DOROTHY says:

    Jenna, I’m the same way. I grew up in the church and don’t know where I would be without it right now.
    Sarah D., I would pray about it. I would also say how you feel but in a polite and non-forceful but informative way. Speak from your heart and soul, don’t let her intimidate you but don’t scare her off. This is just how I would do it. Like I said at the first pray about it.
    Amen, Churchmouse, Angie, Blessed Beth, Amanda, Lizzie, and Maura.

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