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 (57)

57 thoughts on "The Mystery of Injustice and Death"

  1. Andry Marte says:

    Wow so beautiful! Is okay to enjoy our time here. I love knowing that God is a happy God and that all he wants for his kid is happiness.

  2. Gina says:

    I think for the first time I am understanding Ecclesiastes. It us not all doom and gloom. Thanks!

  3. K D says:

    Today’s reading was such a blessing to me. Thank you for this.

  4. Lhara Larah says:

    Yolo (You Only Live Once) tells us to live life recklessly and live it at our own means. But truth is, man is destined to die once and after that judgement (Hebrews 9:27). Death is a part of every single persons’ life. However, life after death is only available to those who believe and trust Jesus as their Lord and Savior. As believers, we are called to live for God and others. Forsaking all that we have because Christ is enough. Just as pleasure is temporary in this world, pain is also temporary. But as believers, we have that eternal hope in Christ for a permanent and glorified body, ever worshipping and ever joyful with Him who redeemed us.

    1. Amy Rogers says:

      Amen!

  5. Stacie Tyson says:

    This was amazing, thank you! I must admit, I’m gaining a new appreciation for Ecclesiastes.

  6. Diana Fleenor says:

    SARAH D, what an opportunity to share with your sister (and maybe her husband) what and why you believe! Yet, I understand that it can feel overwhelming, especially that anticipation of anger or defensiveness that may rise — either in her or yourself. As others have said, of course, ongoing prayer and wisdom from the word is our greatest need to be “prepared to make a defense if anyone asks for a reason for the hope that is in you, yet do it with gentleness and respect” (1 Peter 3:15). Trust the Lord’s promise that “it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you” (Matthew 10:20). And if there is a question or belief that your sister brings up that you don’t have an immediate understanding or answer, it is good to be honest and say something like, “That’s a good question. I’ll need some time to ponder that and get back with you.” The Lord knows your own journey of learning; he is the one to be in the yoke with and learn from him. He doesn’t expect us to know everything all at once. I’m praying the Lord will grant you the boldness to speak the truth that the disciples prayed in Acts 4:24-31, filling you with the Holy Spirit. I’d be grateful for the same prayers, sister(s)!

  7. 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.

    1. Emma Hlad says:

      ❤️amen!

  8. 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 …

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