Daily Proverbial, from Ecclesiastes, 22 October 2012

Although a wicked man commits a hundred crimes and still lives a long time, I know that it will go better with God-fearing men, who are reverent before God. Yet because the wicked do not fear God, it will not go well with them, and their days will not lengthen like a shadow. Ecclesiastes 8, verses 12 and 13.

Good wins out in the end. Pretty simple platitude, isn’t it? In election season, your guy is the good guy and the other guy is a no good so & so. The other guy seems to use a bunch of dirty tricks to get what he wants and we the people end up getting the short shrift, right? Or is it?

And what about at work? I’ve worked for all kinds of people, but some of the ones I remember best are the ones who screwed me over. Either I gave them opportunities or they simply went around me and let me have it but good. I’ve been rolled off projects when I shouldn’t have; I’ve been passed over for lesser people; I’ve been fired from jobs in which I was brought in to fix someone else’s wrongs. If you think about it, the people who game the system always seem to get ahead of me, right? Or is that so?

How about in your finances? I don’t know about you but there just don’t seem to be enough zeros before the decimal point when I look at my checkbook. I keep waiting for someone to spread golden goose manure underneath my money tree. Sure, times are hard and I have some serious bills in my name, some deep debts to repay. I’ve been blessed with a job that pays more than any other I’ve ever had, but it just doesn’t seem to be enough. When I read the news, I read about rich fat cats who have so much more than I do and they aren’t working 50, 60 or 70 hours a week being away from home eight of the last nine weeks. Do you have enough money in your life? I sure don’t, right? Or, again, is that really so?

It isn’t. You know it isn’t. Good really does win out in the end. Sometimes I read up on my Bible and see that the whole thing seems kind of pointless. THAT is a strange thing to say about the inerrant word of God. I mean, it is pre-ordained that evil will be defeated in the end and that God’s good will prevail for eternity. What’s the point in the devil even trying? What’s the point when he must surely know he’ll be defeated? The Word is the way God chooses to reveal Himself to us, and within it is the story of the ages, namely His unending good love overcoming the unspeakable arrogance of evil. What is the point in evil even trying when its future is pre-ordained for failure?

The point is to reflect God’s glory. God doesn’t need evil to make Himself look good. He’s God. He can do it on His own. We aren’t God, though, and we’re limited. It’s we limited humans who need the contrast, who need to see Him against an alternative to truly understand how beautiful his pure, just love really is.

It’s like the movies. How many villains get vanquished at the end when good triumphs over evil? Darth Vader? Voldemort? The Sherriff of Nottingham? Dr Evil? Lex Luthor, the Joker, and a host of Marvel villains in all the comic book movies Hollywood churns out these days? Evil is on the rise and good doesn’t seem to stand a chance…until it does. Face it: we like to watch the bad guys be bad, but we don’t like the story to end that way because fiction reflects life. We like that good finishes first because, in the real world, it usually does.

I honestly believe that most people want good to triumph in the end, but that they’re scared of finding out that it does. Committing to being on the side of God takes real commitment, real sacrifice. We don’t want to do that if we don’t have to, yet we find comfort in knowing that the bad times won’t last forever. If we thought they would, we would despair.

The key to not despairing is to cling to faith, saving faith, in God. That faith imbues reverence and fear of God, that fear being respect, love, desire, and knowledge. The central focus of our days can become worship instead of avoidance. Until just the last few years, I always thought worship was something we did. It was a Sunday thing. Now I see it is a way of life for God. We worship in how we talk, the things we do, the way we interact, and all we are in addition to the formal times of prayer, supplication or formal fellowship. We worship for Him and to Him but NOT because He’s some vain supernatural power-monger. In worship – and thus in how we live our lives – He pours out Himself, that just and pure and life-giving love. By living in reverence and worship of Him, he fuels us and builds us up and imparts real knowledge into us. Through worship, we are in communion with Him.

When that happens, the bad guys don’t stand a chance.

Good really does win out in the end. No matter who you vote for, history eventually judges the elected in a fair way. Your candidate may not always win, but a good system generally works well. There may not be as much money as we’d like, but God always provides what we need to get through today. Workplace issues tend to be resolved. By and large, good always prevails. I mean, why work for the weekend if the weekend isn’t going to be good? You and I like a happy ending. The best happy ending is beginning in Christ.

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