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The Scriptorium

Yes, but...

So, why is there still so much wickedness in the world?

Ecclesiastes 3.16, 17
16Moreover I saw under the sun:
In the place of judgment,
Wickedness was there;
And in the place of righteousness,
Iniquity was there.
17I said in my heart,
“God shall judge the righteous and the wicked,
For there is a time there for every purpose and for every work.”

The Story: If it is the case that God is in the details – the patterns and routines of life – then why do we find wickedness where it ought not be? Solomon does not deny that things aren’t what they’re supposed to be. This is a function of people living “under the sun” and apart from faith in God – as Solomon did for many years. But God takes note of those who transgress His purposes. His judgment will come in His way and time. Even wickedness, therefore, has its place “under the heaven,” because it provides a foil against which the justice and might of God can be displayed. So. Solomon says, don’t be surprised when you see wickedness having its season. The wicked may think they’re “getting away with it,” but God sees, and God will respond with judgment in His own good time (cf. Ps. 10).

The Structure: The ongoing presence of wickedness in the world simply testifies to the reality and effects of mankind’s fall into sin. People know they have been made for God, but they rebel against Him, preferring their own way of life rather than His (Rom. 1.18-32). God gradually gives up sinners to their own wickedness, all the while striving by His Spirit (Gen. 6.3) to woo them back to Him. People who choose to live in sin, knowing in their hearts that God has made them for good works (Rom. 2.14, 15), consign themselves to judgment, both in this life and in the life to come. The righteous understand the judgment of God and, looking in faith to Him, eschew everything that does not comport with His will and seek to do that which they know will please and honor Him (v. 12).

In what ways can you see that God is both judging men today and wooing them by His Spirit? Is He using you in either of these ways?

Each week’s studies in our Scriptorium column are available in a free PDF form, suitable for personal or group use. For this week’s study, “Heart of the Matter: Ecclesiastes 3,” simply click here.

T. M. Moore

Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in the Champlain Valley of Vermont.
Books by T. M. Moore

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