Who Wants Pressure?
Author: Roy B. Zuck
Week of May 22, 2016
No one naturally welcomes or requests pressure. We tend to shun the excessive demands of life, to look for easy ways out. But as we saw in yesterday’s reading, adversity—even death—can be deeply beneficial.
In the next verses in Ecclesiastes, Solomon discussed two other kinds of seeming adversity: the pressure of criticism and the pressure of bribery.
Ever been criticized by a person you know is wise? It hurts, doesn’t it? And yet you know that heeding the rebuke can have beneficial effects (7:5). By contrast, the empty frivolity of fools is as temporary and useless as dried thornbushes that burn quickly but soon die out (v. 6).
Pressure to favor one person over another—by oppression or bribery—is another problem (v. 7). Such pressure can show up your true colors. It can give you opportunity to exercise patience, rather than to explode in anger (vv. 8-9). It can lead you to accept God’s timing rather than to long unrealistically for the “good ole days” (v. 10). True wisdom is beneficial; it can shelter you from problems and even preserve your life (vv. 11-12). Wisdom can also help us see that both prosperity and adversity are from God (vv. 13-14).
Questions: Are you experiencing good times? Then rejoice in God’s blessing. Are you experiencing hard times? Then learn from God’s lessons. Are you facing pressure today—the pressure of rebuke or of favoritism or of other difficult circumstances? Most people respond to those difficulties with impatience, pride, or anger. What good does anger do? After all, “anger resides in the lap of fools” (7:9). For the child of God suffering may be considered beneficial because it “produces perseverance” (Rom. 5:3).