Ecclesiastes 7:13, 14
Consider the work of God: for who can make that straight, which he has made crooked?…
Before we apply the main principle of the text, we may gather two lessons by the way.
I. THE WISDOM OF APPROPRIATING - of appropriating to ourselves and enjoying what God gives us without hesitation. In the day of our prosperity let us be joyful. We need not be draping our path with gloomy thoughts; we need not send the skeleton round at the feast; we should, indeed, partake moderately of everything, and in everything give thanks, showing gratitude to the Divine Giver; and we should also have the open heart which does not fail to show liberality to those in need. If our success be hallowed by these three virtues, it will be well with us.
II. THE RIGHTNESS OF RECTIFYING - of making straight all the crooked things which can be straightened. We are not to give up great moral problems as insoluble until we are absolutely convinced that they are beyond our reach. Poverty, ignorance, intemperance, irreligion, - these are very "crooked" things; but God did not make them what they are. Man has done that. His sin is the great and sad perverting force in the world, bending all things out of their course and turning them in wrong directions. And though they may seem to be too rigid and fixed to be amenable to our treatment, yet, hoping in God and seeking his aid, we must address ourselves courageously and intelligently to these crooked things until they are made straight. There is nothing that so strongly appeals to, and that will so richly reward, our aspiration, our ingenuity, our energy, our patience.
III. THE DUTY OF SUBMITTING. There are some things in regard to which we have to acknowledge that the evil thing is a "work of God," something he has "made crooked." This is to be accepted as the ordering of his holy will, as something that is balanced and overbalanced by the good things which are on the other side. It may be slenderness of means, lowliness of position, feebleness of intelligence, exclusion from society in which we should like to mingle, incapacity to visit scenes we long to look upon, the inaccessibility of a sphere for which we think ourselves peculiarly fitted, the advance of fatal disease, the reduction of resources or the decline of power, the breaking up of the old home and the scattering of near relatives, the loosening of old ties with the formation of new ones, etc. Such things as these are to be calmly and contentedly accepted.
1. To strive against the inevitable or irremediable is
(1) to strive against God and be guilty;
(2) to court failure and be miserable;
(3) to waste energy that might be happily and fruitfully spent in other ways.
2. To submit to the will of God, after considering his work, is
(1) to please him;
(2) to have the heart filled with pure and elevating contentment;
(3) to be free to do a good if not a great work "while it is day." - C.
Parallel VersesKJV: Consider the work of God: for who can make that straight, which he hath made crooked?