September 9, 2019 • By Ed Wrather
I returned and saw under the sun that—
The race is not to the swift,
Nor the battle to the strong,
Nor bread to the wise,
Nor riches to men of understanding,
Nor favor to men of skill;
But time and chance happen to them all.
For man also does not know his time:
Like fish taken in a cruel net,
Like birds caught in a snare,
So the sons of men are snared in an evil time,
When it falls suddenly upon them. - Ecclesiastes 9:11-12 NKJV.
A deputy sheriff in Humboldt County in northern California had a sudden shock last week. The deputy had been dispatched to help a victim of a drug overdose, but he never made it to the address given. He never made it, because the deputy had a sudden change in plans when a bear either jumped or fell onto his vehicle. The deputy crashed, and the vehicle turned over and caught on fire. Thankfully, the deputy and the bear both escaped serious injury.
After finding that story, I noticed a link to another story with a much sadder ending. This sad story also happened last week. Three drivers were involved in an accident in northern New Mexico which resulted in the deaths of two of the drivers. Country singer Kylie Rae Harris was one of the drivers killed. The other driver killed was 16-year-old Maria Elena Cruz. Apparently, Kylie clipped the back of one vehicle and then hit the vehicle driven by Maria head on. Even sadder is that Maria’s father, Pedro Cruz, a deputy chief of a nearby volunteer fire department, was the first on the scene of the accident. He was unaware that his daughter had been involved in the accident until he saw her body. (AP, CBS, and many other news venues)
Jesus tells us in the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5:44-46: “But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same?”
In Ecclesiastes 9:11-12, the preacher (or teacher), who is traditionally believed to be King Solomon, shares from his life experiences and wisdom. He indicates that just because someone has wisdom, skill, strength, or cleverness those things are no guarantee of success in life and are no guarantee of a long life.
Knowing that there is an uncertainty to life, that we could suddenly be Like fish taken in a cruel net, like birds caught in a snare how should we approach life? We must live life with wisdom, the kind of wisdom that comes from God’s Word, knowing that every day is a day that has been given to us by God. We must live life knowing that we have no guarantee of tomorrow. Knowing this we should strive to live each day to the glory of God.
King Solomon sums up all of his wisdom of life experiences at the end of Ecclesiastes by saying “Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God and keep His commandments, for this is man’s all. For God will bring every work into judgment, Including every secret thing, whether good or evil (Ecclesiastes 12:13-14).”