Monday's Messianic Taste of Hidden Manna #54
Keep Moving Forward, No Matter What!
On Sunday morning, I had the chance to read the concluding words of a commentary on Qohelet (Ecclesiastes) by Peter Enns. I decided right then and there that these words must become this Monday's Messianic Taste of Hidden Manna post, no matter what I had planned. They are slightly paraphrased or expanded by me for clarity and context, but otherwise this is really a guest post by Peter Enns—with an insightful and impactful point that I think is quite perfect for this moment. Keep moving forward, no matter what! The one who is truly wise will continue to trust and follow God, even when he or she is weary from trying to make sense of God.
The Ultimate Point of Qohelet/Ecclesiastes: Keep Moving Forward, No Matter What!
At the end of the day, I think the ultimate point about Qohelet is to keep moving forward, no matter what. Whatever we are going through, however we see the world around us—even if we come to the point of blaming God for the whole mess—the final Biblical answer is to push forward. We do so NOT by ignoring or whitewashing the hardships and pain. We are not to pretend or play make-believe that everything is okay. And we are NOT to deny that real people of faith have to go through such things. To the contrary, the exhortation to 'keep moving' has teeth only because of the hardships and pain. It is only by moving through the hardships and pain that 'revere God and keep His commandments, ANYWAY' (Qoh/Ecc 12:13), can take hold of us in our deepest distress. It is easy to trust, easy to act as you do, when things are going well. But when they are not, that is where real growth happens. And like a garden plant, we cannot grow tall unless our roots are deep in the manure.
When Stripped Down to Nothing: Are You Going to Follow or Not?
The exhortation to 'keep moving anyway' is one that acknowledges that all control is out of our hands. We are stripped down to nothing and then asked or told the following: "Are you going to follow or not"? "I understand that everything you hold dear has been taken away, and nothing that once made sense now does". "I know that you hold Me responsible for everything, that I am not just or good". "I will not defend Myself". "The only matter before you is to follow nor not follow". "What will you do"?
Those Who Follow Can Be Stopped by Nothing Else
Those who, in the midst of such hardships and anguish, continue to follow, can be stopped by nothing else. If someone, feeling as Qohelet (the speaker of the assembly) did, can rise from the ashes and continue down the path, that person has become indestructible. And, if we have someone who has gone down that path before us, with more hardships and anguish than we can understand, who Himself has emerged victorious, having conquered death itself (the very enemy Qohelet so feared), then this is truly good news!
Trusting God Even When we are Weary and Worn from Trying to Make Sense of God!
No, Qohelet does not sound the note as clearly as 'THE' GOOD NEWS, but the tone is evident nonetheless. Describing what one sees in unflinching terms is not an act of rebellion, or faithlessness, or distrust. It is wisdom. But even more wise is knowing that such wisdom does not explain all. The one who is truly wise will continue to trust and follow God, even when he or she is weary from trying to make sense of God. He is never more our God than when He bids us follow, even when we have every good reason not to. And we are never more His servants than when we obey—regardless. So always keep moving forward, no matter what!
In your service always, Henri Louis Goulet
With great indebtedness to Peter Enns for the closing words of his commentary on Qohelet (Ecclesiastes), pp. 217–219.
Image by Konevi from Pixabay