You may consider yourself a good person. But even the best people are guilty when God is their judge (Ecclesiastes 7:20). You do not have to wait until God issues his judgement against you. You yourself already know that you have done many wrong and evil things. Your own heart (that is, your conscience) already declares you guilty.
The author of Ecclesiastes used a little story about a master and his servant to explain this matter. At the time of the Bible, many people worked as servants. An important man would have a lot of servants in his house. But even someone who was much less wealthy might employ a boy to carry out tasks for him.
Of course, a servant usually behaved well when he was in front of his master. The master would not hesitate to punish his servant; he might strike the servant with a stick. But often, a servant hated his master or he felt anger towards the master. And so the servant would say unpleasant things about his master when the master could not hear him.
In the story, the servant thought that the master would not hear his insults. But actually, the master heard, and so he had to punish his servant. He could not allow such behaviour; it was a matter of honour.
But everyone sometimes says bad things about other people, so of course this master had done that too. He was guilty of the same wrong deed for which he was punishing his servant. So by means of that punishment, the master was showing that God must punish him (the master) too. That master himself deserved that punishment, and he knew it.
Sometimes we accuse other people in order to make ourselves feel innocent. But that does not make us innocent. In fact, it only increases the reasons why God should punish us (Romans 2:1-6).
We may consider ourselves better than other people, but that is not good enough. We all deserve a terrible punishment for our evil deeds. But God sent Christ to save us from that punishment (Romans 6:23; John 3:16). We must confess our evil deeds to God and we must invite him into our lives. God forgives the people who trust Christ.
Next part: What is wisdom? (Ecclesiastes 7:23-24)
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© 2014, Keith Simons.