Ecclesiastes 4: Social Justice
Posted by Zak Schmoll
Social justice has become a popular topic in both Christian and secular circles recently. It can be a little bit hard to pin down a definition for this concept, but the basic idea is to obviously emphasize the need for justice and fairness in society.
This is not a new concept though. Look at the beginning of Ecclesiastes 4.
Ecc 4:1 So I returned, and considered all the oppressions that are done under the sun: and behold the tears of such as were oppressed, and they had no comforter; and on the side of their oppressors there was power; but they had no comforter.
Ecc 4:2 Wherefore I praised the dead which are already dead more than the living which are yet alive.
Ecc 4:3 Yea, better is he than both they, which hath not yet been, who hath not seen the evil work that is done under the sun.
While it is certainly an obvious point, there are a lot of bad things that happen. There are things like oppression. There are things like injustice. There are things like evil in the world. Solomon recognized that even in his day, and these things obviously had an effect on him.
He went as far as to say that because of some of the situations on earth, it was better to be dead than alive. Today, if people start talking like that, we worry that they might be suicidal. This is some serious stuff here. He was incredibly disturbed by this.
Notice what is never mentioned this passage. We never hear about God. We hear about the lack of a comforter, but we never hear about God specifically. That’s interesting.
Let’s try to find some synthesis here. When we read through Proverbs, I think it was rather obvious that God was the one who provided purpose. He provided the wisdom and the direction. Now, we have a passage that speaks to a life without purpose. It might as well be over, and God is not mentioned whatsoever.
I’m not going to lie and say that society is a perfect place. That would ruin whatever shred of credibility I might have. However, I will say that when God is involved, there is hope and purpose. There is a promise that we will live for all eternity in a better society with a perfect ruler who is not oppressive. We still ought to work to meet the present better and to help people as much as we can. However, when God is involved, the future looks great.