Ecclesiastes: Injustice

Ecclesiastes 4:1
Again I saw all the oppressions that are done under the sun. And behold, the tears of the oppressed, and they had no one to comfort them! On the side of their oppressors there was power, and there was no one to comfort them.

As Solomon reflected on life, he concluded that it was all “vanity.” Our days “under the sun” in this fallen world are short, elusive, confusing, and meaningless. We could add the word “cruel” to the list. Life on earth is filled with injustice, described by the Scottish poet Robert Burns as “man’s inhumanity to man.” The oppressors come with all the power. The oppressed are left with no leverage, and Solomon repeats for emphasis that they have “no one to comfort them.” There is no denying that this life is unfair. 

In his book, Why Everything Matters, Philip Ryken tells the story of a 19-year-old Egyptian named Lana, who was raised in a strict Muslim home. Through the witness of a friend and Lana’s personal engagement with the Bible, she trusted in Jesus as her Savior. When her family learned of Lana’s decision, she was beaten by her father and not allowed to sit with her family at meals. Lana was eventually kicked out of her house, but the persecution continued. Lana’s family hired a person to kidnap her. She was beaten and left unconscious.¹ 

But even through her oppression, Lana kept trusting. She said, “I’m in real danger but I trust God because He is alive. My comfort is that it is only a short time I’m spending here on earth, but there will be a long time that I’ll spend with Him…. We know there will come a time when there will be no more sorrow or suffering. This is our hope in the Lord Jesus.”²  

In this life “under the sun,” we will see and experience injustice. There will be times we can step in and provide comfort. And, as Solomon reminds us twice in this passage, there will be times when the oppressed have no one to comfort them. But our time on earth is short. One day the justice of God will prevail. One day he will make all things right. There will be a day for all of us when sorrow and suffering will cease. Our hope is always in Jesus. 

Father, you are the just Judge, and one day your justice will prevail. We long for that day. In Jesus’ name. Amen. 

 

¹ Philip Ryken, Why Everything Matters: The Gospel in Ecclesiastes, (Christian Focus Publications, 2015), 77.

² Ibid., 85. 

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