When Life Gets Twisted – Providence and Province: Who’s Hand Is It In? – Ecclesiastes 9:1-12July 12, 2020
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Speaker: Jerry Cisar
Karl Malden, playing Reverend Ford in Pollyanna, preaches a memorable sermon. Pollyanna is a perennial optimist.; always sunny and positive. Attending her grandmother’s church for the first time, the preacher emerges from a door to ascend a steep set of steps to one of those old-fashioned pulpits which towers over the congregation. With an ominous tone, Rev. Ford bellows, “Death comes unexpectedly.” Pollyanna’s mouth gapes open in shock!
That scene is intended to be comical, but the message of our text has an element of this declaration: Death comes unexpectedly! We might get closer if we were to say, “Death as well as consequences in life come unexpectedly!” We much prefer to think that we are in charge of our lives and their outcomes. And certainly, we seem to have some ability to impact them.
Scripture makes it plain that even when we prosper and are blessed we are never to say that we did it on our own (Deut. 8, 9)! We must attribute it to the hand of God alone. Job’s friends constantly wanted to tie Job’s suffering to actions and deeds that he did to deserve them who were rebuked and required to repent at the end of Job. Whether in the face of suffering or prosperity, we much prefer to think that it is all our fault or making. But the Preacher wants us to realize that outcomes are in the hand of God.
This does not mean that there is nothing in our hands… there is indeed.