There is an old saying that there are only two certain things in life: death and taxes. Solomon learned that death is certain for all.
He has been on a journey to understand life. As he concludes he says he has discovered one thing: all men die. Solomon says, “There is one fate for the righteous and one for the wicked; for the good, for the clean and the unclean.”
Sober Truth (1–3)
Solomon acknowledged that the righteous and wise are in God’s hands. God and God alone is in control. Righteous and wise people understand that God is sovereign and active in every part of their lives.
In this Genesis 3 world we all, Christian and non-Christian alike, experience the ups and downs of life. In fact, life consists of one experience after another. Some experiences are good and some are bad, while others are happy or sad. Some experiences are planned and others completely unexpected. We cannot determine whether we are children of God simply by our present experiences in life. Everyone suffers in this sinful world.
The Bible says, “It is appointed unto men once to die, and then comes the judgment” (Heb. 9:27). Everyone faces death and we must be prepared. There are two things we must do: Be right with God and be right with our fellow man.
Although death is certain, we can choose our approach to it. We can follow King Louis XV of France who forbad the word “death” from being mentioned in his presence. Why? He did not want to face up to his own mortality and vulnerability.
Or we can follow the approach of Phillip of Macedon. The great king had a slave whose one duty was to approach him every morning, regardless of the circumstances or business, and proclaim in a loud voice, “Phillip, remember, thou must die.”
Solomon called death “evil.” Paul called death an “enemy” (1 Cor. 15:26). No one can escape the curse of death. Coming to grips with this reality can enable us to straighten out our priorities and live more wisely.
Seek Life (4–6)
Solomon said considering the certainty of physical death, God’s people should realize the preciousness of life. While alive, there is hope of finding purpose and reward.
In verse 2 Solomon says, “There is one fate for the righteous and for the wicked.” This does not mean the righteous and wicked are destined for the same place. At death, the righteous go into the presence of God whereas the wicked into a place of punishment.
Believers have hope and can look forward to heaven because Christ defeated death when He rose from the grave. In the New Testament this is referred to as “the blessed hope,” the return of Christ.
We need to take advantage of every moment of time we are blessed to have. We are to live every moment of every day for the glory of God.
Since we do not know what tomorrow will bring but we do know the certainty of death, Solomon recommended we enjoy life. He encouraged us to enjoy what we have.
Some mistakenly live on “Someday Isle,” meaning one day they will do something. Others live on “If Only Avenue,” constantly looking back with regrets.
Obviously, neither is healthy. We must enjoy today.
Death is a subject we may not like to discuss, but it is certain. Because it is certain, we must prepare for it. To do that, we must trust Christ as our Savior. (Jay Robertson contributed)
By Gregg Potts, D. Min.
Potts served as a pastor for more than 30 years in Mississippi and Georgia.