7Light is sweet, and it is pleasant for the eyes to see the sun. 8So if a person lives many years, let him rejoice in them all; but let him remember that the days of darkness will be many. All that comes is vanity.
(Ecclesiastes 11:7-8 ESV)
The first thing God made was light. And He declared that light was good [Genesis 1:3, 4]. Solomon echoes those sentiments. Being alive – being able to see the sun – is a good and pleasant thing.
For as long as a person may live, he/she should rejoice in all the many years of life they have. This is not a new declaration by King Solomon; he had told us to do this previously [Ecclesiastes 3:12, 8:15 et. al].
But we should also remember that the days of darkness will me many. It is difficult to tell whether this is referring to the recurring times of trial we experience during our life on this earth or to the end of our life (death). Considering that people who lived during Old Testament times didn’t have full understanding of life after death, it could be the latter.
But in either case, the point is clear: life is given to us for enjoyment. God wants us to enjoy life, including our time on earth. Happiness is not meant solely for heaven.
We can be happy on this earth, despite the struggles, unfairness, and meaninglessness that exists here. The secret is, as we’ve already studied, that happiness can not be found in wealth, or career, or sex, or fame [Luke 12:15]. It comes from relationship – a relationship with the living God who created each and every one of us.
It is good for us often to remember the days of darkness else we might live for pleasure itself, which is also not good [Ecclesiastes 2:1-2]. Pleasure in life is found in living it God’s way – through work and relationship. Pleasure is meant to come from having the necessities of life and from the very fact that we are alive to begin with.
Light in the Bible is often a reference to God Himself, for God is light [Psalm 27:1; 1 John 1:5]. In heaven, there will be no sun but there will be light [Revelation 21:23]. In hell, there will be only darkness (figuratively; possibly literally) because God will not be there.
For those who choose to decline God’s offer of forgiveness before they die, this earth will be the only chance they have to enjoy being alive. For them, this life is as good as it gets. There will be no enjoyment of existence in hell because good things only come from God who will not be present there [James 1:17].
For those who do accept God’s offer of forgiveness of their sins before they die then this life is as bad as it gets. As such, we can tolerate the hurts and disappointments we experience here knowing that they are but temporary.
Comments? Questions? I’d love to hear from you. Please feel free to contact me about this post.