This is about as depressed as I’ve heard Solomon so far. He begins by lamenting over the oppressed who have no comforter, and he ends by expressing gratefulness over those who have never even been born.
How low can he get? His sorrow is understandable because it is true that many people are mercilessly oppressed by people more powerful than them. As Solomon said in verse 1, “On the side of their oppressors there is power, but they have no comforter.”
Yet Solomon looked at everything and concluded, “Yet, better than both is he who has never existed, who has not seen the evil work that is done under the sun.”
I don’t know how bad things were when Solomon looked around his kingdom and the rest of the surrounding country, but apparently things were pretty bleak. In fact, he concludes that life isn’t worth living because of all the evil: “Therefore I praised the dead who were already dead.”
It’s somewhat difficult to pull a challenge from this passage, and even harder to find any form of encouragement. But it does remind me to look realistically at the world around me in its deprived state. The world is full of evil, and it’s sometimes easy for Christians to overlook it. It’s especially easy for me when I’m at FBBC during the school year, at IRBC during the summer, and at my house during all the times in-between.
I need to be aware of what is going on around me and do my part as light in this darkness to illumine the Truth, magnify Christ, and point the way to the Way, the Truth, and the Life.
Look, the oppressed are full of tears,
Naught can relieve their sorrow.
The lives they live are full of fears,
Oppressed both today and tomorrow.
Better are those who are already dead,
Better are those who have never been born.
Better are those who o’er the earth will not tread,
For they never shall see evil or over it mourn.
Woe to a world that is known by its sin,
Woe to the sinners who have all gone astray.
Let the world know that God loves all men,
And to be freed from sin, He’s provided a way.