Ecclesiastes 9:1-3 (ESV)
1 But all this I laid to heart, examining it all, how the righteous and the wise and their deeds are in the hand of God. Whether it is love or hate, man does not know; both are before him. 2 It is the same for all, since the same event happens to the righteous and the wicked, to the good and the evil, to the clean and the unclean, to him who sacrifices and him who does not sacrifice. As the good one is, so is the sinner, and he who swears is as he who shuns an oath. 3 This is an evil in all that is done under the sun, that the same event happens to all. Also, the hearts of the children of man are full of evil, and madness is in their hearts while they live, and after that they go to the dead.
Ecclesiastes 12:14 (ESV)
For God will bring every deed into judgment, with every secret thing, whether good or evil.
The book of Ecclesiastes has at times a strong sense of despair. The author does not like the way that things happen in life. It does not seem fair. Why do the good not get the best of life? Why do the evil prosper? Why do the good suffer? Why are the evil not punished? Why are hard workers not always rewarded? Why are slackers sometimes rich?
The major lesson to learn in such passages is to see that these things feel wrong. Indeed, they are wrong. If everything worked exactly as it should—if sin were not a factor—everything would be fair. Hard work would be rewarded. Folly would be punished. But our world is sin-darkened. All of creation is fallen because of the fall of man in the garden. Since that time, not everything has appeared to be fair, right, or just.
Let’s make two quick points about the fact that not everything appears fair or just. First, remember that you have greatly benefitted from the fact that the wicked are not always immediately punished by God. All of us have sinned. IF God gave us justice, all of us would have died the moment of our first sin. The fact that you draw breath, that you are reading a blog on a computer, that you live at all is a reminder that God has been more gracious to all of us than we deserve. WE have all benefitted from this oddly functioning universe.
Second, to keep the Book of Ecclesiastes in right focus, you must have the end in mind. God will set all things right. God will judge every sin. God will reward all righteousness. God will ultimately put all of the universe in order, so don’t fear a lack of justice.
And, in case that concept of God punishing every sin has you worried, remember that Jesus Christ died to pay for the sin of all of God’s children. Every one of the Christian’s sins has been justly punished in Christ on the cross. Every one of the lost persons’ sins will be punished rightly in that person’s eternal condemnation. God is just, and he will do right justice. This is why we call for all people everywhere to repent and turn to Jesus for grace before their lives come to an end.