Ecclesiastes 3:16 — A Necessary Evil
Furthermore, I have seen under the sun that in the place of justice there is wickedness and in the place of righteousness there is wickedness.
If you are an astute political observer, you cannot help but become frustrated and angry at the current political scene. Minority groups of all sorts manipulate an entire nation based upon perverted and selfish personal agendas. Politicians abuse their power in the most egregious manners; some of those minority groups hold politicians under their thumbs to assure that their selfish political agendas will be inflicted upon the masses. I am sure that you may experience the same frustrations as I. This is just one example of the injustices that seem to be rampant in our country. How are we as Christians to respond to such injustice? We must trust God to provide the justice we need.
Solomon was the greatest king the nation of Israel ever had. Solomon’s wisdom was legendary; his wealth was inconceivable; his political power was the envy of the world. Solomon used his supernatural wisdom to take Israel to its zenith in Old Testament history, yet he did so through the abuse of his authority. Solomon drafted the 30,000 Israelites to bring trees from Tyre to build the temple. He commanded that his palace be built; the palace was completed after thirteen years of labor! Solomon wasn’t done! Once the palace was built, he then made two summer homes! 1 Kings 12.4 tells us that Solomon greatly abused his authority over his people by placing excessive labor and tax burdens upon them1. The paradox is that, with all of his wisdom and greatness, Solomon unjustly used his authority.
Mankind is imperfect, and if Solomon ended with this fact, we would be left with a sense of hopelessness. We might as well through up our hands in frustration and futility. The next verse after our text says, “I said to myself, “God will judge both the righteous man and the wicked man,” for a time for every matter and for every deed is there.”1
God is the only source of true justice. He will judge the righteous and the wicked man. Note an interesting statement in the last half of verse seventeen. There is a time and purpose for every work. If you go to the beginning of Ecclesiastes 3, you will see that everything has its time. There is a time to be born and a time to die. There is a time to plant and a time to harvest. Since man’s government is unjust and God is just, there is a time for man’s injustice, and there is a time for God’s justice.
What are your thoughts on this verse?
What injustices make you angry?
Can government really solve all of our problems or make right every injustice?
Are there injustices in your life which you will never be made right in this life?