If you see the oppression of the poor, and the violent perversion of justice and righteousness in a province, do not marvel at the matter; for high official watches over high official, and higher officials are over them. Moreover the profit of the land is for all; even the king is served from the field.
– Ecclesiastes 5:8-9
The author of Ecclesiastes provides a cynical viewpoint on the lack of justice and righteousness in the world. He basically says, “So, what’s new? Of course the poor are oppressed – everyone higher in power takes advantage of them for their own gain. Even the king ultimately profits from their labor.”
Though I don’t find myself resigned to the current state of the world (I’m far too stubborn for that), I can relate to the cynical nature of the statement. I find myself asking questions more along the following lines:
If God’s so concerned for the poor, the widows, the orphans, and the strangers, then why doesn’t He change the way the world treats them? And if He cares so much about justice, then why don’t we see it here on earth?
I plan to share my limited understanding of what some answers to these questions might be, but I’d love to hear your thoughts first.