In the film The Sound of Music Julie Andrews famously sings the lines: Nothing comes from nothing / nothing ever could. / So somewhere in my youth or childhood / I must have done something good.
One of the most widely held beliefs in the world is: if I do good, good things will happen to me, and if I do bad, bad things will happen. This sentiment is certainly the moral of many stories – not just quaint Julie Andrew’s musicals.
Many things haven’t turned out the way we thought they should in our life stories. Some people become more bitter about this than others. We may feel bitter because we believe we’ve paid God with some good behaviour and He hasn’t come through on His end of the bargain.
In Ecclesiastes 7:15 Solomon reveals another observation to us: “In my vain life I have seen everything. There is a righteous man who perishes in his righteousness, and there is a wicked man who prolongs his life in evildoing”.
In the remainder of Chapter 7 Solomon urges us to look closely at ourselves and face some hard questions. Are we like the self-righteous religious person who thinks they are in the right and should therefore be rewarded by God? Or, have we given up on God, Christianity, and religion and started to allow lawlessness to creep into our lives?
These may seem contrary positions, but Solomon tells us that they have more in common than we think. What’s more, they’re found much closer to home than each of us might like to admit.
Let’s join together this Sunday evening from 6.00 p.m. to study this passage of scripture and consider the “Folly of Self-righteousness and Lawlessness”.