January 10, 2015

Nothing New?

Ecclesiastes 1:1-11

Is there anything of which one can say, “Look! This is something new”?

—  Ecclesiastes 1:10

A young man spoke in distress about his marriage: "Nothing ever changes! Every day it's the same mess. We have the same conflicts all the time!" His voice was full of hopelessness and ­despair.

Have you ever felt that way? Whether it's a failing marriage, a dead-end job, a betrayed friendship, or some other discouraging situation, sin damages every part of our existence. Despite the attraction of temptation, our sin soon locks us into patterns of disappointment and hurt.

The book of Ecclesiastes summarizes the brokenness of the human condition. Even when things seem to be going well in our lives, each day brings new reminders of brokenness, sickness, and war in someone's life. Every grand plan to construct a new and better future eventually gives way to the reality that all of our attempts to build something new are doomed to failure. It's a vicious cycle of meaninglessness, according to the writer.

Yet as we realize that, we begin to discover the source of true hope and change. The writer of Ecclesiastes shows with brilliant clarity how only a new Word, spoken from God, can break us out of our sin and offer something new (see John 1:1-5, 14). In admitting the hopelessness of our own situation, we admit that only a gracious gift from God can change our lives.

Heavenly Father, we are stuck without you. Every day brings new evidence that nothing in us really changes. We are broken people in a broken world. Help us. Change us, for Jesus’ sake. Amen.

About the author — Joel Vande Werken

Joel Vande Werken has been a pastor since 2007, serving churches in Sussex, New Jersey, and in Whitinsville, Massachusetts. He and his wife, Brandie, have five young children.

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