Peace in Chaos
This passage shows us how you can have peace in the midst of a chaotic world. The text opens with the righteous man finding rest and ends with the wicked man finding none. That sounds like what we might expect from a religious position. If you do right, you will experience good things. If you do wrong, then you’ll experience suffering.
The problem with this is that it doesn’t line up with people’s experiences. In the real world good people suffer terrible tragedies – tragedies that seem to have no explanation. And bad people seem to prosper in their badness. The good die young and the wicked prosper. Does this mean religion is wrong? If God were there, he wouldn’t allow such injustice in the world, would he?
But, in the verses between 1 and 21 you find described the very thing that we experience. The righteous man perishes and the wicked man prospers. Instead of denying our real experience in the world, it describes it. Rather than its descriptions leading to the cursory conclusion that God must be rejected, it leads us to see that only God makes sense of it. Only God can give you peace in the midst of real world tragedy and chaos.