Comfort in Confusion
Ecclesiastes 5:8-16
If you see the oppression of the poor, and violent perverting of judgment and justice in a province, marvel not at the matter…

In the time and the country to which the text belongs there was a very large amount of injustice, rapacity, insecurity. Men could not count on enjoying the fruits of their labor; they were in serious danger of being wronged, or even "done to death;" there were not the constitutional guards and fences with which we are familiar now and here. The political and social conditions of the age and of the land. added much to the seriousness of the great problems of the moralist. But though he was perplexed, he was not without light and comfort. There was that -

I. AFFORDED BY REASON AND EXPERIENCE. What if it were true that oppression was often to be witnessed, and, with oppression, the suffering of the weak, yet it was to be remembered that:

1. There was often an appeal to a higher authority, and the unrighteous sentence was reversed (ver. 8).

2. There was always reason to hope that injustice and tyranny would be short-lived (ver. 9). The king was served by the field; he was by no means independent of those who lived by manual labor; he was as much their subject in fact and truth as they were his in form and in law; he could not afford to live in their disregard and disapproval.

3. Successful oppression was far from being satisfactory to those who practiced it.

(1) No avaricious man was ever satisfied with the money he made; he was always coveting more; the thirst for gold lived on, and grew by what it gained (ver. 10).

(2) The wealthy man found that he could not enjoy more than a fraction of what he acquired; he was compelled to see others partaking of that which his own toil had earned (ver. 11).

(3) The successful man was worried and burdened with his own wealth; the fear of losing balanced, if it did not more than counterbalance, the enjoyment of acquisition (ver. 12).

(4) No rich man could be sure of the disposition of his hardly won and carefully stored treasure his son might scatter it in sin and folly (vers. 13, 14).

(5) No man can take a solitary fraction of his goods beyond the boundary of life (vers. 15, 16).

4. Obscurity is not without its own advantage.

(1) It sleeps the sweet sleep of security; it has nothing to lose; it holds out no bait to the despoiler (ver. 12).

(2) It enjoys the fruit of its labor, untroubled by the ambitions, unwearied with the excessive toils, unworried by the frequent vexations of those who aim at higher posts and move in larger spheres.

II. AFFORDED BY REVELATION. The godly man, and more especially he to whom Jesus Christ has spoken, contents himself - so far as it is right and welt to be contented in the midst of confusion and perversion - with the peace-bringing considerations:

1. That Infinite Wisdom is overruling, and will direct all things to a right issue.

2. That it is not our circumstances, but our character, that should chiefly concern us. To be pure, true, loyal, helpful, Christ-like, is immeasurably more than to have and to hold any quantity of treasure, any place or rank whatsoever.

3. That we who travel to a heavenly home, who look forward to a "crown of life," can afford to wait for our heritage. - C.

Parallel Verses
KJV: If thou seest the oppression of the poor, and violent perverting of judgment and justice in a province, marvel not at the matter: for he that is higher than the highest regardeth; and there be higher than they.

WEB: If you see the oppression of the poor, and the violent taking away of justice and righteousness in a district, don't marvel at the matter: for one official is eyed by a higher one; and there are officials over them.

A Misgoverned State
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