Of course we desire life and not death. Our lives are precious and they are God’s gift to us. Even as the sun surrounds us with light and warmth, so our lives offer us so many opportunities.
The most wonderful opportunity in our lives is the opportunity to know God. In God, we find the most perfect light (James 1:17). In other words, everything that is good and perfect comes from him. When we know him, we belong to that light (1 Thessalonians 5:5). And the darkness does not make us afraid, even when the darkness means the death of our bodies (Psalm 23:4; Luke 1:78-79). God gives his people life that never ends (John 3:16). Darkness will never overcome the light and the life that comes from God (John 1:4-5).
But not everyone receives a life that never ends. Most people never choose to serve God. Instead, they follow their own desires and they live by their emotions. They do not want to know God and they would not choose to obey him. When God is their judge, they will not be ready (Ecclesiastes 11:9; Ecclesiastes 12:14).
By ‘darkness’, the author means death. He chose the word ‘darkness’ to show that the good things in life had ended for that person. Instead, that person would suffer trouble and pain.
Clearly, that cannot describe the person with life that never ends. It must describe God’s judgement against the person who refused to know him. For that reason, the author of Ecclesiastes urges people to accept a right relationship with God (Ecclesiastes 12:1).
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© 2014, Keith Simons.