Friday, April 4, 2008

The Ameri-Canaan Dream

We hear so much about living the American dream, and by the name of it, you'd think we came up with it or something. Live free and wealthy, own land, enjoy the fruits of your labor... c'mon, is it really fair to call this the American dream. If we read chapters 4 & 5 in Ecclesiastes, we'll see Solomon describing the same dream in Canaan, over 3000 years ago. Let's see how well it worked out for him.

Oh, now it might sound like a stretch to say there's so much similarity between the Canaan Dream and the American Dream, but just look at the text. Starting in 4:3, we have the people pursuing contentment (in their possessions), familial relationship (2-1/2 kids and a dog, right?), political gain, and of course, all the while observing the necessary religious patronage that our societal tradition requires (5:1-7).

The tune changes in 5:8, however, as Solomon goes on to observe the evil of taxes, economic expansion, and building an estate for inheritance. Move on to chapter 6 and the picture gets grimmer.

So where do we find our hope? Who can answer the rhetorical questions in 6:8,11, & 12? The old hymn says it best, "My hope is built on nothing less Than Jesus’ blood and righteousness."

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