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Lesson 4

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Have you ever lived in a culture in which people explain all life’s coincidences by saying: “It was written (that it should happen that way).”

Among the neighbouring nations of ancient Israel, there was a widespread belief that all events in history are predetermined by the gods. An impersonal force known as fate controlled the destiny of all things. Fate was written on tablets which could at times get into wrong hands. Once, for example, the bird god Anzu stole those tablets and this accident caused a stir among the gods until Anzu was killed.

The author of Ecclesiastes relates the events from history as well as from one’s personal life to God and his providence. Thus he boldly states that God “has made everything beautiful in its time (verse 11).