Ecclesiastes

Ecclesiastes 3:1-15

           

            The opening ten verses of chapter three of the book of Ecclesiastes are a great reminder to humanity that we have not control over anything.  In the opening verse of chapter three Solomon states that “there is a time for everything.”  This statement reminds people things happen, circumstances change, and nothing in this life or on this earth will last forever (outside of the word of God).  Solomon goes on giving specific examples of things in life that are going to happen.  He says, “there is a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot, a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build, a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance, a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them, a time to embrace and a time to refrain, a time to search and a time to give up, a time to keep and a time to throw away, a time to tear and a time to mend, a time to be silent and a time to speak, a time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace.”  Solomon is simply pointing out that anything can happen at any given time.  World War III could break out tomorrow and radically change our country or even the world.  I could be diagnosed with leukemia tomorrow.  A tornado could threaten to wipe Branson, Missouri off the map.  We have no control over any situation but God tells us through Solomon that “there is a time for everything” under the sun.  Solomon goes on to ask what we gain from this life or more specifically what a worker gains for his toil.  He wants to know if we are rewarded or if these things just happen.  And, honestly, God does not really give him a straight answer.  He instead comforts Solomon by saying “he has made everything beautiful in its own time.”  God is saying that we humans do not have the answers to any of the questions we want answered but that God is sovereign and we need to just enjoy our lives and take both the good and bad as they come.  Solomon goes on in verse twelve to say that there is nothing better for men to be happy and do good while they are alive.  I personally believe that true happiness only happens when I am committed to my relationship with Jesus Christ.  When I am walking with Christ then everything else seems to fall right into place, even on the bad days.  In verse thirteen Solomon says that man should eat, drink, and find satisfaction in their toil or work because it is a gift of God.  God wants us to ultimately look back at our lives and be happy and satisfied with the way we lived.  He wants us to say what the apostle Paul says at the end of his life in 2 Timothy 4:7.  That we have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.  Solomon then goes on to say that everything God does will endure forever and nothing can be added or taken from it.  Whatever is has already been, and what will be has been before; and God will call the past to account.  God knows what happens next.  How cool is that?  I can apply this passage to my life in so many ways!  What a blessing!  There is a time for all of the things mentioned previously so I better start enjoying life and sharing my faith with every person I encounter because it might be my or that persons first or last opportunity to ever tell or be told the good news of Christ.  We can take comfort in the fact that God knows everything that is going to happen and that He already has told us what is going to happen at the end.  Spoiler alert: Jesus Christ returns and claims victory and we get to spend eternity with Him as long as we are believers.  Therefore the way I can best apply this passage to my life is to share the truth and power of the Gospel to every person I encounter.

 

Ecclesiastes 1-2 Critique

1:1 Solomon states that he is writing the book of Ecclesiastes

1:2 Solomon says that life is meaningless

1:3-4 He asks what man gains from all his labor “under the sun”

1:5-7 Solomon talks about the sun, wind, rivers, and other things on earth to prove that these things will just continue from generation to generation after we are gone

1:8-11 Somewhat depressing verses where Solomon states that “everything that has been will be again and what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun.”  He goes on to say that there is “no remembrance of men of old, and even those who are yet to come will not be remembered.”

-After this introduction Solomon begins talking about 3 specific things that are meaningless.

            1. Intellectualism/Wisdom: Solomon sought to explore by wisdom (philosophy) all that had been done.  Solomon’s response is it is a grievous task or heavy burden God has given!!!  14-Seen all the things under the sun, a chasing after the wind.  15-What is twisted can’t be straightened, what is lacking can’t be counted.  Can’t fix or change human nature.  The possibility of happiness apart from God is impossible!  16-17: Solomon talks about how wise he was and sought after his wisdom but he says it was like “chasing the wind” or is was meaningless.  18 “With much wisdom comes much sorrow; the more knowledge, the more grief.” Therefore, Solomon concludes that intellectualism or wisdom leads to meaninglessness and not to truth.

            2. Hedonism/Pleasures: Let’s enjoy ourselves and do what feels good is what Solomon besides to do next, but to finds it is meaningless (2:1). Laughter doesn’t do it and he tried wine but that didn’t lead to happiness or meaning either. 

            3. Money (4-11): Solomon tries building houses, gardens, parks, reservoirs, trees, buying slaves, entertainment, and gathering wealth but none of these things led to Solomon’s happiness or gave his life meaning.  Verse 9-Solomon says next he became great and exceeded everyone in Jerusalem, he did not deny his eyes anything desired or his hearts desires and the only thing positive was the labor, not the end result.  When he looked over everything he had he says it was vanity.  Solomon said it was a chasing after the wind and that nothing was gained under the sun.

Solomon’s conclusion was this:

2:13 Wisdom is better than folly (being foolish) but both the fool and the wise will die!

2:17: Hates life and everything he has ever done.  His heart is depressed and he despaired because of this.

2:22-23: For all a mans work and toil he receives nothing but pain and grief. 

2:24: There is nothing in man but to eat and drink and tell himself his labor is good.  Man was not created to be independent of God

2:25-26: Solomon says mans’ enjoyment is only from God.  God gives wisdom (not worldly wisdom) and happiness to those who please Him but using it to glorify yourself only leads to vanity.  God is sovereign.  The sinner gathers and collects but loses it all when he dies.

3:1-10 Crisis

In these ten verses Solomon says there is a time for everything.  A few examples are “a time to be born and a time to die, a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to be silent and a time to speak, a time for war and a time for peace.”

3:11-15 Comfort

11 He has made everything beautiful in its time.  He has also set eternity in the human heart

12 yet none can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.

15 Whatever is has already been, and what will be has been before; and God will call the past to account.

3:16-5 Conflicts

Solomon states that he sees five different conflicts in life “under the sun” in the this chapter and a half.  They are the following:

  1. Injustice-in place of judgment there is wickedness and in place of justice there is wickedness.  17 But God will judge both the righteous and the wickedness.  Every deed will be judged. 
  2. Oppression-
  3. Rivalry
  4. Materialism
  5. Popularity

5:1-7 Correction

1 Guard your steps when you enter the house of God. 

2-3 Do not be quick with your mouth or hasty in your heart.  God is God and we are to let our words be few.  Many words make you a fool.  

4-7 When you make a vow to God be sure to quickly fulfill it.  Much dreaming and many words are meaningless.  Fear God.

5:8-8 Correction

1. Seeing evil for what it is in God’s eyes-wealth in particular

2. Correct perspective about hard times

3. You need a clear perception of yourself

8 Rights will be denied and people with power will be corrupt

10 Money will not make you happy. 

11 The more money you have, the more money you want. 

12 The rich do not sleep because of their abundance (much on their mind). 

13 Riches hoarded are harmful to its owners. 

14 Riches can be gone in the blink of an eye.

15 You come into this world naked with nothing and you leave it just the same way!

16 So what do these people gain?

17 They eat and drink in darkness with frustration, affliction, and anger. 

18 Enjoy your work and you life because it is short! 

19 A persons joy doesn’t come from their money but use it for joy and the Lord. 

20 God fills them with joy.

Chapter 6: Another evil is a wealthy person who isn’t content or enjoy that wealth.

3-6 He won’t enjoy friends, family or anything. His life will be meaningless.

10 God has ordained everything that exists.  He made him to enjoy God and what he has blessed us with.  No one can contend with someone who is stronger (God!!!). 

11 More words=less meaning (fools). 

12 Who knows what is good in this fleeting life and meaningless days?  Who will tell them what will happen under the sun after they are gone?  GOD!!!!

7:1 A good name is a good thing

3 Sorrow is good for the heart

5 Better to heed a wise mans rebuke than listen to fools

7 Extortion turns a wise man into a fool, and a bribe corrupts the heart

8 End better than beginning and patience is better than pride

10 Don’t question why the glory days were better than the current ones

11-12 Wisdom is good for it is a shelter, but so is money.  Wisdom holds the advantage, however, because it preserves the life of its possessor

13-14 God makes the good and the bad times

15-18 Sometimes the righteous suffer and the wicked live well.  Don’t be over-righteous or over wicked.  Fear God and avoid all extremes.

19 Wisdom is power

20 No one is truly righteous

21-22 Don’t listen to idle chatter or believe everything you hear

23-29 Solomon looks at the good and the bad, the wise and the fools and says the only thing he has found is that “God made mankind upright but men have gone in search of many schemes.”

8-12 Counsel

1. Do the right thing 8:2-17

2. Have fun 9:1-10

3. Be poised Chapters 9-10

4. Be bold Chapters 9-10

5. Start young 11:7-21:8

6. Know the Bible 12:9-14

Final Conclusion:

13 “Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man.”

14 “For God will bring every deed into judgment, including every hidden thing, whether it is good or evil.”

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