Matters of Faith: Do You Really Think It’s By Chance?

Ecclesiastes‬ ‭9:11‬ ‭NLT‬‬

“I have observed something else under the sun. The fastest runner doesn’t always win the race, and the strongest warrior doesn’t always win the battle. The wise sometimes go hungry, and the skillful are not necessarily wealthy. And those who are educated don’t always lead successful lives. It is all decided by chance, by being in the right place at the right time.”

Personal life experiences influence our interpretation of situations. It’s those experiences that create our world perspective. Solomon’s perspective was likewise shaped by his experiences which were shaped by his wisdom and the privileged life he lived. This gave him the ability to acquire anything he desired, including 700 wives and 300 concubines (referred to today as mistresses).

Solomon was the son of King David and the wealthiest and wisest man to ever live (‭‭1 Kings‬ ‭3:12-13‬). People would come from near and far to hear him preach. He wrote the book of Ecclesiastes when he was old. Retrospectively, he shares his life experiences, rarely references God, and looks at life from a very humanistic, secular and pessimistic perspective. From the very beginning of the book, it seems clear what he thinks. Immediately after introducing himself in verse one of chapter one, he states, “Everything is meaningless…, completely meaningless!” (Eccl. 1:2 NLT).

‭‭By the time he writes the ninth chapter, life had become arbitrary and unjust. The fastest, the strongest, the wisest, the most skilled, even the most educated does not guarantee victory, success, favor, or comfort. He says that his experiences and observations have taught him that success, victory and/or comfort in life all happen by chance, by being at the right place at the right time.

By this time, Solomon was no longer the moral compass of the land or the spiritual leader he was when he became king (1 Kings 11:1-6). He had gone outside of God’s divine plan for his life on many occasions. He seems to have forgotten that it rains on the just as well as the unjust; that the Lord is more concerned with what we do with the things that happen in our lives than He is with the things that happen. He seems to have forgotten how much favor the Lord showed him. Solomon’s wisdom seems to have abandoned him.

If we stopped our reading of the preacher’s book before we reach the end, we would miss his summation as to why it only appears as if everything is meaningless. We would miss the “Here now is my final conclusion: Fear God and obey his commands, for this is everyone’s duty. God will judge us for everything we do, including every secret thing, whether good or bad.” (Ecclesiastes‬ ‭12:13-14)‬ ‭NLT‬‬.

If you still think it’s by chance we are where we are or who we are, consider Solomon’s conclusion. He discovered that it wasn’t what we do or the results achieved, but who we become from those things that matters most. Solomon asked for and received wisdom when he was a young man. His actions and decisions during his life, however, proved that despite his gifts of wisdom and wealth, they did not stop him from creating a world view that was less than wholesome. Yet, he exhibits the epitome of wisdom when he concluded that fear (reverence, honor) and obedience to the Lord is what we all should do. We don’t have to be old, nor should we wait to get old, before we recognize and embrace what Solomon concluded; ”Fear God and obey his commands, for this is everyone’s duty.” That’s not by chance, it’s by choice!

Be Blessed!

Rev. J. Loren Russell is an associate minister at both Goodwill and The Greater Universal Baptist Churches in the Bronx, President/CEO of The JLR Company for Church Financial & Strategic Consulting, and hosts
Matters of Faith – The Radio Showon Soul 1 Radio, Mondays 8:00 – 10:00 PM. Listen here or by phone at 626-226-1448. Be sure to Friend “Matters of Faith” on Facebook and email us at Order your copy of Matters of Faith: The Book at

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