The teacher in Ecclesiastes goes on to question power and oppression and achievement and envy. He concludes that they are all ‘chasing after the wind’. Then he asks about the lonely person who seems to bear all things on their own. That’s very hard! But perhaps the more we’re aware of misery and meaninglessness, the more we appreciate the beauty and gift of a friend. ‘If either of them falls down, one can help the other up.’ (Ecclesiastes 4:10.) ‘A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.’ (Ecclesiastes 4:12b.) It’s a wonderfully needed reminder of the beauty of friendship. But there is more. As well as the gift of friendship, there is the gift of awe – the awe that we need when we approach God. The writer reminds us to tremble a bit, and guard our steps. Go near to listen, rather than to offer the sacrifice of fools. Why? Because God is in heaven and you are on earth. It’s a simple reminder, yet it changes everything. God is in heaven and we are not. So mind the gap . . . and remember there is a gap! The gap causes us to listen reverently and to honor God and praise him as fearful and worthy. But incredibly, God also chose to bridge the gap. He sent his own Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, to bear all things so that we could approach God whenever we wanted.
Reflect: Consider again how amazing it is that we can approach God – on any ordinary day, on the train to the city, or on an arduous walk, or stuck in a traffic jam, or while cutting up watermelon. We can speak to God anywhere, and we can listen to him, and he will always hear us. It causes us to give thanks abundantly.
Prayer: Lord, we have sometimes taken your word and your grace for granted. Please renew reverence and hope in us today.