The Missing Theology of Ecclesiastes (2)


We saw yesterday that Solomon thought about sin and righteousness in terms of avoiding judgment. We contrasted that with David’s desire to do right in order to maintain his friendship with Jehovah.

Today, we’ll contrast David’s view of his sin and God’s mercy with the view Solomon expressed in Ecclesiasted.

Bible Reading

Psa 25:6-7 Remember, O LORD, thy tender mercies and thy lovingkindnesses; for they have been ever of old. (7) Remember not the sins of my youth, nor my transgressions: according to thy mercy remember thou me for thy goodness’ sake, O LORD.

Psa 25:11 For thy name’s sake, O LORD, pardon mine iniquity; for it is great.

Psa 32:1-2 Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. (2) Blessed is the man unto whom the LORD imputeth not iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no guile.

Psa 51:1-4 To the chief Musician, A Psalm of David, when Nathan the prophet came unto him, after he had gone in to Bathsheba. Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy lovingkindness: according unto the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions. (2) Wash me throughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. (3) For I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me. (4) Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight: that thou mightest be justified when thou speakest, and be clear when thou judgest.

Psa 86:5,15 For thou, Lord, art good, and ready to forgive; and plenteous in mercy unto all them that call upon thee. 15 But thou, O Lord, art a God full of compassion, and gracious, longsuffering, and plenteous in mercy and truth.

Psa 103:10-14 He hath not dealt with us after our sins; nor rewarded us according to our iniquities. (11) For as the heaven is high above the earth, so great is his mercy toward them that fear him. (12) As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us. (13) Like as a father pitieth his children, so the LORD pitieth them that fear him. (14) For he knoweth our frame; he remembereth that we are dust.

A Sense of Sinfulness

David was keenly aware of his personal sinfulness. He knew that he had sinned as a youth. He knew his iniquity was great. He also saw his sins as, first and most, against God. Any sin was an act of disobedience to the Lord he loved.

In contrast, Solomon’s view is sin is much less personal. He acknowledges it, but his main concern is the judgment sin brings, not the fact that his sins grieved the Divine Lawgiver.

A God of Mercy

David often appealed to God’s mercy and lovingkindness in his prayers for forgiveness and help. It was a central part of David’s theology. Solomon, on the ohter hand, never mentions God’s mercy or kindness. If all you had was the book of Ecclesiastes, you wouldn’t know God was plenteous in mercy.

What About You?

  • Do your sins grieve you because they grieve God?
  • Do you believe that God is merciful and kind?

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