Scriptures

Ecclesiastes 9

Introduction

‘So, I reflected on all this and concluded that the righteous and the wise and what they do are in God’s hands, but no one knows whether love or hate awaits them. All share a common destiny—the righteous and the wicked, the good and the bad, the clean and the unclean, those who offer sacrifices and those who do not. As it is with the good, so with the sinful; as it is with those who take oaths, so with those who are afraid to take them. This is the evil in everything that happens under the sun: The same destiny overtakes all. The hearts of people, moreover, are full of evil and there is madness in their hearts while they live, and afterward they join the dead.’ Ecclesiastes 9:1-3

A Common Destiny For All

Solomon appears to be saying that no one has any advantage over anyone else when they are born when it comes to faith, however he’s really saying that everyone who is ever born is born equal. We don’t understand God’s purposes for this world at times, but we must continue to work until we die.

Remember that Solomon and the other Old Testament people didn’t know anything about the afterlife and immortality, this came when Christ revealed it in His Gospel, 2 Timothy 1:10, as far as they were concerned death was the end.

‘Anyone who is among the living has hope—even a live dog is better off than a dead lion! For the living know that they will die, but the dead know nothing; they have no further reward, and even their name is forgotten. Their love, their hate and their jealousy have long since vanished; never again will they have a part in anything that happens under the sun.’ Ecclesiastes 9:4-6

We all know that when someone dies, they have no more influence in the world they leave behind, However, when they are alive they still have hope and they can enjoy the blessings from this life, Matthew 5:45.

The only advantage the dead have is that they don’t have to suffer any longer from the things of this world. Remember they thought that death was the end and there was no reward or punishment afterwards, Acts 17:31 / Matthew 25:31-46.

‘Go, eat your food with gladness, and drink your wine with a joyful heart, for God has already approved what you do. Always be clothed in white, and always anoint your head with oil. Enjoy life with your wife, whom you love, all the days of this meaningless life that God has given you under the sun—all your meaningless days. For this is your lot in life and in your toilsome labour under the sun. Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might, for in the realm of the dead, where you are going, there is neither working nor planning nor knowledge nor wisdom.’ Ecclesiastes 9:7-10

For most people who don’t believe in God, their motto in life, drink and be glad, Ecclesiastes 2:24 / Ecclesiastes 3:12 / Ecclesiastes 3:22 / Ecclesiastes 5:18 / Ecclesiastes 8:15. Life for them is all about self and not about others, this is simply because they don’t believe in the afterlife.

Solomon says that ‘God has approved what you do’, what he means is that since many believe they can’t really know God’s ways, then this gives them the excuse to make the most of life anyway.

If there’s no afterlife, they thought they could just take advantage of what God had to offer anyway. In other words, if this life is all there is, including all the suffering which goes on, then it wouldn’t be worth living in the first place.

If we want to enjoy the benefits of this life, we must be willing to work, this has always been God’s plan for us, John 9:4. Most people work for the here and now but we work because of the promise of eternal life, 1 Corinthians 15:58 / Revelation 14:13.

‘I have seen something else under the sun: The race is not to the swift or the battle to the strong, nor does food come to the wise or wealth to the brilliant or favour to the learned; but time and chance happen to them all. Moreover, no one knows when their hour will come: As fish are caught in a cruel net, or birds are taken in a snare, so people are trapped by evil times that fall unexpectedly upon them.’ Ecclesiastes 9:11-12

No matter how much we try, we can’t stop time, we stop the fact that we will all die, despite the difficulties we have in this life. Those of us who have been around for while know that none of us know when our time to leave this planet will come.

We can accomplish great things in this life, but the reality is we can only accomplish so much. As humans we have our limitations because we are mortal beings, but God has plans for the world, which aren’t affected by anything we do. Therefore, we must figure God’s plans for our existence and then live according to His will, not ours, Ephesians 5:10 / Romans 12:1-2.

Wisdom Better Than Folly

‘I also saw under the sun this example of wisdom that greatly impressed me: There was once a small city with only a few people in it. And a powerful king came against it, surrounded it and built huge siege works against it. Now there lived in that city a man poor but wise, and he saved the city by his wisdom. But nobody remembered that poor man. So, I said, ‘Wisdom is better than strength.’ But the poor man’s wisdom is despised, and his words are no longer heeded. The quiet words of the wise are more to be heeded than the shouts of a ruler of fools. Wisdom is better than weapons of war, but one sinner destroys much good.’ Ecclesiastes 9:13-18

Solomon tells us a story about how the humblest in our societies can actually, have the power of wisdom to deliver a whole city. The problem was that once that city had been delivered, they forgot all about the humble person who helped them be delivered in the first place.

Notice they forgot about this poor man but didn’t forget that the city had been delivered. Solomon is making the point that wisdom will be remembered, whilst those who possessed wisdom will be forgotten.

Go To Ecclesiastes 10

DAILY BIBLE VERSE

"For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God."

Ephesians 2:8

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