Monday, January 23, 2017
Solomon: Death Day better than Birthday?
Note: Another devotion take from January 15, 2017 sermon on Ecclesiastes 7:1-6.
Solomon adds in Ecclesiastes 7:1b:: “and the day of death [is better] than the day of one’s birth.”
That seems like a pretty dark and pessimistic thing to say. Can you imagine getting a Hallmark card with that cheery line on your birthday?
I have to think that Solomon is asking us to imagine what existence would be like apart from Christ. If there were no God, if life was just sound and fury signifying nothing, then all would be vanity. All our labor, all our worry, all our striving, all our achievements, and even all our pleasure, would be a chasing after the wind.
Look back to Ecclesiastes 6:3-5 where he describes the man who tries to make his life meaningful by having a large family and living a long life, apart from true godliness, and concludes it would be better for him if he had died stillborn!
Jesus says of the one who would betray the Son of Man (Judas Iscariot): “it had been good for that man if he had not been born” (Matt 26:24).
For the unregenerate man, at least on the day that he dies, he stops piling up his offenses and transgressions against a holy and righteous God.
It is in the face of this meaninglessness of life, this nihilism of existence, which has no purpose, which is empty apart from Christ, that Solomon will encourage his hearers to exit the house of mirth and enter the house of mourning (see v. 2), where sober reckoning on the real meaning of life takes place.