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Swan Dive This Thing

August 9, 2011

Back when I was a teenager…a time that is getting farther and farther back…we got the idea to build a rope swing into the lake.  We found the right tree, built some steps, experimented with a few ropes (some good, some not so good) and we’ve been using this method for years to get into the water on a hot day.  Everybody has their own way of going off…back flips, swan dives, and even a nice belly flop every once in a while.  As I read our passage today, I can’t help but wonder how Solomon would have gotten after it.

 Take a few moments and read through Ecclesiastes 9:1-10 today…even if not right now…give it a go at some point today.

 There is a sense of urgency in this chapter.  He really gets right to the point.  He’s laying out for us that there are a few things that we can know with absolute certainty.  In verse 1 he tells us that God is sovereign…that everything is “in the hand of God.”  Verse 2 points out that it doesn’t matter if you are righteous or wicked, good or evil, clean or unclean…no matter who you are…you are going to die.  And listen…everybody knows that.  Nobody reading this thought for even one second, “Nope…not me.”  But we often live as if we have forgotten that reality.  Next, he points out in verse 3 that “the hearts of the children of man are full of evil.”  This is the reformed doctrine of “total depravity.”  Now, let’s just be honest.  We’re all jacked up…we all have selfish desires and dark intentions…and I get it…I know you’re a nice person by most measurable standards…but you are a sinner…just like me. 

 Then…verse 4, “But he who is joined with all the living has hope, for a living dog is better than a dead lion.”  Listen to me…if you are not dead…there’s a reason…and it’s not just that you’ve managed to keep breathing.  The evidence that God has a plan for you, that hasn’t been completed, is the fact that you are still alive…He just isn’t done with you…so there is hope.  We can’t overemphasize this point.  For those who have been called, who have friends that have not yet come to know the Lord…there is hope.

 It is in this hope that we begin to understand what it means to live a full life.  Verse 7 isn’t a license to lose your mind…it’s an encouragement to appreciate what you’ve been given.  Only a fool would read that verse and think that Solomon is implying that God somehow doesn’t care what you are doing and just wants you to do whatever you feel like doing.  He even follows it in verse 8 by telling us to stay pure.  We live in a culture that wants to usurp the sovereignty of God with our own authority.  Even Solomon, a man who enjoyed every indulgence that one could ever imagine…more parties, more possessions, and more women than any man could dream tells us to “enjoy life with the wife (singular) whom you love.”  This was learned through experience…a man with 700 wives would trade them all for the one he loves.

 Now, I love verse 10.  Dr. Dale Welden said that this is like Solomon is saying, “Attack life.”  My brother in law has the best entrance into the water off the rope swing.  He just goes for it…full out…swan dive.  There’s a moment when he just sort of pauses in the air and then cruises into the deep.  It’s a thing of beauty.  He attacks it.  Some of us need to get after it.  We need to quit holding our nose and sliding off the edge…and just swan dive this thing.  After all, our hope is found in a sovereign God…and a merciful Savior…and we’re still alive.           

There It Is

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