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Disillusionment with Heroes

Today’s reading: Ecclesiastes 3:1-6:12

My selection: Ecclesiastes 3:16-18

16 Moreover, I saw under the sun that in the place of justice, even there was wickedness, and in the place of righteousness, even there was wickedness. 17 I said in my heart, God will judge the righteous and the wicked, for there is a time for every matter and for every work. 18 I said in my heart with regard to the children of man that God is testing them that they may see that they themselves are but beasts.

My reflections: The writer of Ecclesiastes, probably King Solomon, had suffered a loss of idealism, that there exists in human society pockets of pure goodness and uprightness. He no longer believed that familiar cliche “man is basically good.” His heroes were unmasked. He began to see men as no more than beasts. This is partly true, because, like beasts, men die.  But unlike beasts, men (and women) face the judgment of God.

Controversy rages today among historians and biographers over how we should view our so-called national heroes like Thomas Jefferson. Was he a great, wise, noble founding father or a despicable, immoral, exploiting slave owner? Should we admire him or denounce him? As Christians, we can neither idolize any human figure nor completely disregard God’s providence working through fallen human beings to bring about His purposes. Jefferson was more evil than some of us previously realized, but also one whom God, in His providence, used to complete His purposes in establishing our nation.

My challenge: God will ultimately judge every human being. Meanwhile, we may not excuse ourselves from accountability to Him by hiding behind someone we deem worse than us. To each of us is given a talent to use wisely for His glory and His kingdom. Use it well today. Jefferson could not hide and neither can we.

And remember, the real “hero” in human history is the God-Man, Jesus Christ, in Whom there is redemption from sin and guilt for all who believe in Him (Ephesians 1:3-14).

Tomorrow’s reading: Ecclesiastes 7:1-10:20

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