Monday, 5 September 2011

Meditation on "The Battle is not to the Strong"

"The battle is not to the strong nor the race to the swift, but time and chance happen to all" Ecclesiastes 9:11

The modern concept of the good life is worldly success: being admired in the eyes of the world. This worldview is strongly influenced by the philosophy of Nietsche who depised weakness and wished to eradicate the sickly. He ultimately lost his reason.

Who are the world's "strong"? Last week, a UK academic told  women in the workplace to dress seductively to earn thousands more than others. We are told authoritatively that university graduates earn £x% more than others.  So the "strong" are the wealthy, the educated, the fit, the seductive, the talented. Yet we regularly see political careers crash and some of the famous cut down in youth. We see materialists destroyed by their own misjudgment, the world's gifted (talented) overlooked by their peers and beauty becoming "a curse". Fate is clearly unstable.  No one is entirely in control - not even the strong.

To worldly eyes, some of this appears to be caused by chance, "the lottery of life".  The world also senses that the effect of time eventually cuts down all the strong.

"Golden girls and lads all must like chimney sweepers come to dust"....(Shakespeare).

This Ecclesiastes text hints that the weak, using apparently weak spiritual weapons may sometimes win the crown and "inherit the earth". The New Testament develops this idea further and appearance v reality is part of Christ's teaching.

The Bible teaches that God's Providence alone is in control of our lives. For Paul, through faith, this principle is so true that he confidently declares,

"For when I am weak, then I am strong".

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