In this sermon, Pastor Dave Capoccia examines Solomon’s teaching in Ecclesiastes 6:1-12, a passage that functions as a kind of mirror to Ecclesiastes 5:8-20 and as a summary of the main points of the first half of the book. In Ecclesiastes 6:1-12, Solomon teaches that life without grateful enjoyment of God’s good gifts is miserable. Solomon then gives three reasons why you should gratefully enjoy God’s good gifts instead of pursue useless misery.
1. More Days and More Descendants Are Empty without Enjoyment (vv. 3-6)
2. More Things Will Never Satisfy the Soul (vv. 7-9)
3. More Knowledge Will Never Reveal New Secrets (vv. 10-12)
One of the strange and amusing experience of life is spotting a look-alike. Someone who is just like someone you know but is not related. I used to have this experience all the time when I was attending school at Rutgers and thought I was seeing someone but knew they didn’t even live in the United States. What would he be doing in one of my classes of all places? That can’t be him! These look-alikes are sometimes called twin strangers, or my favorite term: doppelgängers.
Doppelgänger is a german word that translates to double walker like someone who walks and lives as a human double. It truly is a mystifying experience to encounter a look-alike, especially if they are a look-alike of you. So it’s no surprise that in earlier times, some people offered supernatural and dark explanations for his phenomenon. They would say that the double is a ghost of the departed person who had temporarily returned.
Or they would say that the look-alike is a spirit pretending bad luck or even imminent death, or even that the double was an evil twin intent on some nefarious purpose. I mention this about look-alikes because the next section of Ecclesiastes that we’re going to examine functions as a kind of double that we’ve been recently studying in Ecclesiastes.
Ecclesiastes 5:8-20 is all about the vanity of wealth, the vapor-like nature of wealth. Just to review, our author King Solomon of Israel first admonished us in the first verses of that section, verses 8 and 9, not to be surprised when people in power corruptly used that power to advance their own desires for wealth. Solomon points out how vain and profitless this pursuit of wealth is by first teaching in verses 10-12 that wealth ultimately won’t satisfy.
Then in verses 13-17, wealth ultimately won’t secure. Solomon finally counseled us on a better course in verses 18-20 to stop striving for more and instead to gratefully rejoice in whatever portion you have received from God. Whatever wealth you have is enough to be happy! It’s enough if you fear God and if you make Him your ultimate treasure and security and not the passing things of the world.
Now Solomon’s climatic exhortation even in that last section is verse 20 where Solomon taught us that the truly wise and happy person is the one that focuses on the good o the moment and does not give inordinate thought to the past or the future. As we move into Ecclesiastes 6, we are going to see the same ideas repeated but in a new way.
The Hebrews were people who often loved to use symmetry of ideas in their writing. Ecclesiastes 6:1-12 offers extensive symmetry with Ecclesiastes 5:8-19. Ecclesiastes 5:20 serves as the highlighted center point or the hinge between these two generally mirror images. As we’re going to see the second image given to us in Ecclesiastes 6, is darker than the ones we saw in Ecclesiastes 5. Ecclesiastes 5 ended with Solomon highlighting what is the good and wise way to live whereas Ecclesiastes 6 highlights the foolish, miserable way.
Sadly, as stubborn proud humans, we often must have the terrible alternative and emphasized to use before we are willing to take seriously God’s way. So we’re going to see some of that today. In this bleaker parallel section in Ecclesiastes 6 will not only underscore the message we already heard about the vanity of wealth, but also review and tie off the teaching of the whole first half of Ecclesiastes. Teaching that has been emphasized to us the vapor-like nature of this world.
All of this is to provoke in us a very crucial question that you need to keep in mind today. Ask yourselves, are you living God’s wise way? Or are you in fact living a miscarried life. That phrase is going to be the title of today’s sermon: The Miscarried Life. If you haven’t yet, please take your Bibles and turn to Ecclesiastes 6 where we’ll begin reading today’s text. Ecclesiastes 6:1-12 says:
There is an evil which I have seen under the sun and it is prevalent among men— a man to whom God has given riches and wealth and honor so that his soul lacks nothing of all that he desires; yet God has not empowered him to eat from them, for a foreigner enjoys them. This is vanity and a severe affliction. If a man fathers a hundred children and lives many years, however many they be, but his soul is not satisfied with good things and he does not even have a proper burial, then I say, “Better the miscarriage than he, for it comes in futility and goes into obscurity; and its name is covered in obscurity. It never sees the sun and it never knows anything; it is better off than he. Even if the other man lives a thousand years twice and does not enjoy good things—do not all go to one place?” All a man’s labor is for his mouth and yet the appetite is not satisfied. For what advantage does the wise man have over the fool? What advantage does the poor man have, knowing how to walk before the living? What the eyes see is better than what the soul desires. This too is futility and a striving after wind. Whatever exists has already been named, and it is known what man is; for he cannot dispute with him who is stronger than he is. For there are many words which increase futility. What then is the advantage to a man? For who knows what is good for a man during his lifetime, during the few years of his futile life? He will spend them like a shadow. For who can tell a man what will be after him under the sun?
This passage is organized in a pretty straightforward manner. Solomon gives us the main idea in the first two verses followed by a number of supports to the main idea. We could summarize the main idea in this way: life without grateful enjoyment of God’s good gifts is misery. Let’s see how Solomon presents this main idea. Look at the beginning part of verse 1. He says:
There is an evil which I have seen under the sun.
We’ve seen this kind of phrase a number of times before in Ecclesiastes. Solomon is introducing to us another observation about something tragic that is part of our fallen world. But notice the symmetry that connects back to Ecclesiastes 5:19, which is where he says what he has seen to be good. In this twilight zone version, Solomon says what he sees to be evil.
Now look at the next phrase in Ecclesiastes 6:1:
It is prevalent among men.
Well that’s disconcerting. Whatever this calamity is that exists under the sun, it is great or much or prevalent for mankind and a lot of people fall into it. We’re going to pay close attention to what this prevalent evil is, this great and common misfortune. It tells us in verse two:
A man to whom God has given riches and wealth and honor so that his soul lacks nothing of all that he desires; yet God has not empowered him to eat from them, for a foreigner enjoys them. This is vanity and a severe affliction.
What Solomon says is a prevalent evil is for a person to gain for himself everything he could ever want in this world but then never be able to enjoy it. Instead, someone else does. Have you ever had something like this happen to you in your life in small way? Maybe you make a delicious meal for yourself and put it away for later, but when you go to look for it, someone else has eaten it. Probably a sibling.
Or maybe you work to save and buy admission to this one show that you’ve been really wanting to see but as the date to attend draws near, you get sick and you can’t get a refund so you have to give the tickets away for someone else to watch. Maybe you finally buy that new phone, computer, or car and you figure it will serve you nicely for years to come. But then someone simply steals it or they borrow and inadvertently destroy it.
How does that feel? Is it not painful and doesn’t it feel like there’s something not right about that? Now considering that feeling, up the ante to what Solomon is describing here. Imagine someone who has abundant riches, wealth, and honor, not just money and possessions, but honor too. This guy has a great reputation and is well respected, which the Bible says is more valuable than physical wealth.
This man has it all and there’s nothing his soul desires which he does not already have or own. But we’re told, he never gets to enjoy any of it. He never gets to eat of it because before he can, it’s all taken away. A foreigner, a stranger, who is not his friend or family gets to enjoy and eat from all this man has obtained for himself. Would that not be a terrible calamity? The very opposite of what we rightfully believe should happen? This guy works for it so why can’t he enjoy it?
Well if you look again at verse 2, Solomon gives the answer: God. God is the One who gives the riches, the wealth, and honor. God is also the one in this tragic case who withholds the ability to enjoy it. God has not empowered or authorized for the man to eat from the abundance that he has gathered. Now before we go further, we’re confronted with an immediate problem. What we just read in Ecclesiastes 6:2 seems to contradict with what Solomon just said in Ecclesiastes 5:19. Glance back there for a moment. Solomon just told us:
Furthermore, as for every man to whom God has given riches and wealth, He has also empowered him to eat from them and to receive his reward and rejoice in his labor; this is the gift of God.
Ecclesiastes 5:19 says that everyone who has riches and wealth is empowered by God to enjoy them. But Ecclesiastes 6:2 says God withholds this power from from. What gives? Is this a contradiction? It’s at this point that some interpreters would say that the original writer was despairing and confused. But to that I say, come on do we really have so little faith to the authorship of Scripture? Do we really have so little imagination as to how these two truths might fit together?
Would the original writer really lose his wits in the span of three verses? Did he deliberately put together two statements that seem contradictory to make us think? Assuredly the latter is the case. But how do these verse fit together? The answer must be that Solomon is referring to two different kinds of divine empowerment. It is true in Ecclesiastes 5:19 that God authorizes and commands that everyone gratefully enjoy whatever wealth and possessions they have as a gift from God. But who will actually do so? Only those who actually humble themselves before God to listen to His Word.
Only those who actually fear God and have faith in Him. These are the ones who are then empowered by God to actually enjoy and eat from their wealth. But for everyone else who will not humble themselves in that way, even though in one sense they have been authorized and in another, they have not been authorized. The can’t enjoy their wealth or their honor because their states exactly as Solomon describes here and has described in Ecclesiastes 2:26, which to remind you says:
For to a person who is good in His sight He has given wisdom and knowledge and joy, while to the sinner He has given the task of gathering and collecting so that he may give to one who is good in God’s sight. This too is vanity and striving after wind.
A lot of people in this world just gather and collect but never get to enjoy their wealth, even some of the wealthiest people in the world right now. They don’t really enjoy their wealth! It’s not just them, Solomon tells us this problem is prevalent among mankind. The vast majority of people do not have or find contentment, rest, or real enjoyment in their lives. The reason is because they do not fear God and will not listen to His counsel to be empowered.
These stubborn ones still live as if there is some ultimate gain to reach for in this world. So they strive and collect so that they some day they have enough to rest and enjoy. Or some day they will find that thing that they have been searching for so long. Before they do Solomon tells us God will take away everything they’ve gathered and give it to someone else. It will be a wasted life with only scraps of enjoyment instead of the feast that God intended.
Now brethren, this is a real tragedy. Solomon calls it a vanity and a severe affliction. Vanity is the Hebrew havel, which means vapor or breath. All that toil, gathering just gone like a puff of smoke with no real enjoyment to show for it. This is a severe affliction and is a terrible misery. It’s suffering for no good purpose. That’s very depressing but what’s the take away for us? Maybe you see it already, and if this is the case for many in the world, then Solomon says don’t let it be true of you. Don’t be one of those stubborn, foolish ones who will not heed the wisdom of God. Stop striving in such a way so the you only allot time for grateful enjoyment later.
You might say, “I know I should rest and enjoy, but I don’t have enough yet! Later I will!” Well, guess what? There might not be a later for you. What you already have will be taken away. Fear God and be content with what you have now. Do not be like the rest who are not really able to enjoy life. That’s the main point of this section. Life without grateful enjoyment of God’s good gifts is misery.
Solomon is not done. He is now going to tell us even more why we should listen and heed this truth. I’m going to frame it this way for the rest of the passage. In Ecclesiastes 6:3-12, Solomon gives three reasons why you should gratefully enjoy God’s gifts instead of pursuing useless misery. We see the first reason in verses 3-6. Number one is that more days and more descendants are empty without enjoyment. We’ll look at these verses together in Ecclesiastes 6:3-6:
If a man fathers a hundred children and lives many years, however many they be, but his soul is not satisfied with good things and he does not even have a proper burial, then I say, “Better the miscarriage than he, for it comes in futility and goes into obscurity; and its name is covered in obscurity. It never sees the sun and it never knows anything; it is better off than he. Even if the other man lives a thousand years twice and does not enjoy good things—do not all go to one place?”
We can see some parallels in these verses with somethings in chapter 5. In Ecclesiastes 5:13-17 Solomon spoke of a man fathering a child and a person coming by birth and going by death, and of the darkness that a foolish wealth grasper lives. These concepts return in these verses but in a bleaker way. In verse 3, Solomon introduces a certain hypothetical man with carefully chosen characteristics.
In ancient times, people often said that the truly blessed man had three prizes: wealth, long life, and many children. If you really want to know whether someone was blessed then he had those things. Solomon had already dealt with wealth, showing that wealth without enjoyment is no pleasure at all. So now Solomon considers a life of longevity and many descendants and how that fares if there’s no enjoyment.
So Solomon imagines a man with one hundred children, which is a ludicrous amount except for maybe the most polygamous of kings. He also imagines this man living an incredibly long life: up to 2,000 lives which no one has ever lived. Methuselah lived the longest in the Bible, but even he didn’t quite reach a thousand. What a long life! But the question is, for this character that we’ll call the aged father, how good would the life of the aged father be if he couldn’t also have and enjoy good things?
Solomon’s answer is in verse 3. The child who perishes in the womb is better off. This literally means that he has more rest. In other words, it doesn’t matter how long you live or how many descendants you have if you are not able or willing in your life simply to stop and enjoy God’s good gifts. You will be so miserable that the miscarriage in life should be preferred to yours.
That’s pretty heavy but if you really think about it, what advantage would this aged father have over this stillborn child? The stillborn lives and dies in darkness but so does the aged father, metaphorically speaking. The stillborn doesn’t have an honorable burial but so does the aged father, if we consider a decent burial as a good thing. The stillborn has one advantage that the aged father doesn’t have. The stillborn never knows or understands anything whereas the aged father knows only too well the many frustrations, injustices, and miseries of a fallen world.
Perhaps these verses remind you of what Solomon tells us in Ecclesiastes 4:2-3 of what life is like for those without any comforters in the face of oppression. He said this:
So I congratulated the dead who are already dead more than the living who are still living. But better off than both of them is the one who has never existed, who has never seen the evil activity that is done under the sun.
To never see it or know it is an advantage for the stillborn. It’s like Solomon said in Ecclesiastes 1:18:
Because in much wisdom there is much grief, and increasing knowledge results in increasing pain.
Now perhaps these words from Solomon strike you as unfeeling, even sacrilegious. What a callous and jaded character this Solomon is. Why listen to him? While his words are heavy and maybe hard for us to hear, I submit that Solomon is not unfeeling at all. Actually Solomon feels and understands the pain of life better than any of us do. Consider how well Solomon’s words in Ecclesiastes 6 correspond with the words of another wise and righteous man who lost every good thing and couldn’t help but conclude that God had totally turned against him. Who am I talking about? Job.
In Job 3:11-19, it says this:
Why did I not die at birth, come forth from the womb and expire? Why did the knees receive me, and why the breasts, that I should suck? For now I would have lain down and been quiet; I would have slept then, I would have been at rest, with kings and with counselors of the earth, who rebuilt ruins for themselves; or with princes who had gold, who were filling their houses with silver. Or like a miscarriage which is discarded, I would not be, as infants that never saw light. There the wicked cease from raging, and there the weary are at rest. The prisoners are at ease together; they do not hear the voice of the taskmaster. The small and the great are there, and the slave is free from his master.
Solomon gets it guys. Life in a fallen world is so full of confusion and suffering. Our gracious God has yet given us good things to enjoy in the midst of it, to help bear the burdens of this broken world. But if you refuse to receive and enjoy these good gifts from God, then Solomon asks you how is your life any better than the stillborn’s? If you will not fear God and live thankfully and contentedly with whatever lot you have, you will live a miserable life.
As one writer said, better the miscarriage than the miscarried life. Now let’s be clear, no one, even the most hardened atheist, has absolutely no enjoyment in life. All people experience God’s common grace as was described for us in Acts 14. Everyone enjoys some measure of good things from God whether they believe in Him or not. Thus we must understand that Solomon’s theoretical man in Ecclesiastes 3:3-6 does represent an extreme. No one is quite like that. But still the main point stands.
It’s on that basis that Solomon appeals to us in light of the vapor-like nature of life and in light of death and the difficulties that surround us in this world. Why would you still choose to miss out on life’s good things for the sake of pursuing some ephemeral gain like wealth, power, or knowledge. They’re not going to provide what you’re looking for, but you will sacrifice enjoyment of God’s good things. Why do that?
You know what I find really poignant about these verses in Ecclesiastes 3:3-6? Long life and children are still the most common reasons why people will refuse to enjoy good things. Like the people who eat gross food because they think it’s healthy and they want to live longer? Or the people who never take a day off from work because they’re just thinking of the children?
My friends, what is the point of a long life if it’s not filled with any joy? Why kill yourself for your kids when you cannot ultimately guarantee their prosperity no matter how much you work. It’s good to be able to leave an inheritance to your children, but not at the cost of misery. So here’s the first reason to enjoy God’s gifts instead of pursuing useless misery: more days and more descendants are empty without enjoyment.
The second reason appears in Ecclesiastes 3:7-9. Number two: more things will never satisfy the soul. Let’s reread those verses in Ecclesiastes 3:7-9:
All a man’s labor is for his mouth and yet the appetite is not satisfied. For what advantage does the wise man have over the fool? What advantage does the poor man have, knowing how to walk before the living? What the eyes see is better than what the soul desires. This too is futility and a striving after wind.
There’s another parallel in this section to Ecclesiastes 5:10-12. Both sections emphasize eating and they state plainly that no amount of wealth or consumption will fully satisfy a person. Notice how Solomon begins that point here in verse 7:
All a man’s labor is for his mouth and yet the appetite is not satisfied.
We can also translate the word appetite, as the soul. As a kind of irony presented in this, man needs to eat to live and motivation to work ultimately boils down to the need to get more food and survive. The Bible’s actually pretty clear about this. Proverbs 16:26 says:
For his hunger urges him on.
Paul basically bases a command on that in the New Testament. When there were loafers in the Thessalonian church, he commanded that if they’re not going to work, not to let them eat. Hunger will bring them around. While this is true, it is also true that as much as you fill the mouth and stomach, you can never finally sate the appetite. You can never satisfy the soul no matter how many things or experiences you consume.
Every person has this problem as verse 8 clarify. The wise may be better at obtaining and maintaining wealth, but where does that get them in the end? They can’t find satisfaction in those things. What about the poor but wise man? This man is not as distracted or weighed down by the rich. Well the poor man too will not find full satisfaction for his appetites. Where does it get him?
Solomon then gives us a proverb in verse 9 which is probably not intuitive to us at first. The meaning is probably along the same lines that verse 7 gives us. What the eyes see doesn’t refer to window shopping or the lust of the eyes. Rather, the eyes behold what is in front of a person. That is, what he actually has! Where as the desires of the soul more literally, the goings of the soul, are not for what is in front of a person. They are for what is elsewhere, what you do not have.
So the meaning of this proverb is one that we’re readily familiar with. It is captured in the comment: better is a bird in the hand than two in the bush. Better to be content with what you have than to keep striving after what you don’t have. Seeking to finally fill the soul with the things of the world is futility, or vapor, or havel. It’s striving after wind and we’ve seen this phrase a number of times now in Ecclesiastes which epitomizes totally empty, frustrating, and profitless activity. You’re grasping after vapor and wind.
More things will indeed never satisfy the soul. Thus, the wise one won’t settle for a striving discontented existence, but will instead gratefully enjoy God’s good gifts. Solomon then gives one final reason in verses 10-12 to gratefully enjoy God’s gifts instead of pursuing useless misery. This third reason is more knowledge will never reveal new secrets. If you’re thinking that the way to life’s lasting gain does exist but hasn’t been discovered yet, you’re just plain wrong. Look at Ecclesiastes 6:10-12:
Whatever exists has already been named, and it is known what man is; for he cannot dispute with him who is stronger than he is. For there are many words which increase futility. What then is the advantage to a man? For who knows what is good for a man during his lifetime, during the few years of his futile life? He will spend them like a shadow. For who can tell a man what will be after him under the sun?
These verses really summarize the main point that Solomon has been teaching in Ecclesiastes thus far: man’s limitations in a vaporous world. They also directly contrast the picture given in Ecclesiastes 5:8-9 of the powerful and corrupt rich. They feel like they have the power and accomplish their will but Solomon says now they are in the same boat as everyone else. There are those on earth who feel like they have the answers and have found the way to the gain for which everyone is striving. But the reality is, none of us have found that gain or will be able to do so.
We’re all in the same lowly place before God. Solomon says in verse 10 that whatever exists has already been named. That is, people have already identified and described the fundamental nature of this world so there is nothing new under the sun or a new discovery. Moreover, it is known what man is and Solomon has been telling us this. Man is a fundamentally dignified yet base creature. He has eternity in his heart but is subject to death. He is aware of the law of god and he admires it yet he’s committed to serve himself. He longs for permanence and control yet he is at the mercy of changing times and circumstances. So many cultures throughout time that have recognized all these things.
Despite man’s aspirations, he cannot hope to truly change the nature of his existence. He cannot dispute with Him who is stronger than he is. That’s God in this instance! Mankind can’t overcome the limits set by God, the curse put on this world. Nor can man demand from God the knowledge that many desire. Though Ecclesiastes 3:11 describes man as one who multiplies words and engages in philosophical discussions, he reads and writes many books. Man will never arrive at any answers beyond what is already know. Man can speculate and offer answers that he wishes were true but he cannot fix himself or overcome this broken world.
So verse 11 asks what is the advantage to a man? What is the profit for all this searching, discussion, and debating? It’s like Job and his friends who fill more than thirty chapters of that book about discussions of reality that they do not understand and cannot come to a firm conclusion about. So in the same way without God’s intervening revelations, man’s words of steady are mere hot air and a big waste of time. Truly Solomon asks in verse 12: “Who has found the way to ultimate good for man? Who has found the key to overcome this broken existence?”
No one has the answer because there is no answer beyond the basics that Solomon has already outlined based on the revelation given to us by God. We must all face the fact that life in this world is fundamentally vaporous. It is spent like a shadow, Solomon says, which is another interesting metaphor. What characterizes a shadow? It is fleeting, it appears and disappears in an instant. When you turn on the light, the shadow is gone. It’s insubstantial because there is literally nothing to a shadow except lack of light. It is also inscrutable because when you see a shadow, it is often hard to make out what is casting the shadow.
I think we see this when you’re a kid and someone shines a light to make creatures in front of it dance on the wall. That’s not actually there! It’s just the appearance of it in the shadow. That’s like life Solomon says. That’s the life of man: it’s inscrutable because you can’t tell what it is! The fleeting, insubstantial, mysterious nature all describe life in this world for mankind. And when such is man’s life, how will we ever be able to discern, much less effect, what will occur after us. How will we be able to judge with certainty or make unassailable provision for what will take place on earth after a person dies.
I shared before how when you’re studying history, it’s so interesting when there’s a monarchy or empire and someone designates another person to be their heir. It’s amazing how many times those plans are dashed. That is so often the case! Who can really say or guarantee what will be after a person? These things are and always will be beyond us as humans, those who form from the dust and bound to return to dust in just a short while.
So what’s the point of bringing this to our attention again? Because all of this is true and because more knowledge will never reveal new secrets, why keep striving after that knowledge? Why keep searching for a way to gain and thereby miss out on the good that God has already given you now? If you want to experience good, stop reaching for the good out there. God is willing to give it to you if you’re willing to humble yourself to receive it. The quest for more is futile and it just leaves one discontent and miserable.
So we see Solomon’s main point is emphasized again and again. He shows us that life without grateful enjoyment of God’s good gifts is misery and he has given us three reasons to for us to gratefully enjoy God’s good gifts instead of pursuing this useless misery. Number one, more days and more descendants are empty without enjoyment. Number two, more things will never satisfy the soul. And number three, more knowledge will never reveal new secrets.
So let’s now return to the question I raised at the beginning that you have to consider for yourselves. Are you living in God’s wise way of happy contentment? Or are you living a discontented, miserable, and miscarried life? Because you fear God and because Christ is your ultimate treasure, and not money or wealth, and because you know you can trust God to take care of you, does it show up in the way you live? Do you actually take the time to enjoy life and the fruits of your hard labor? We’re all toiling, do you ever enjoy the fruit of your toil? Do you make time for rest, friends, family, church, and gospel ministry?
Or do you only make time for work or for some obsessive hobby you have? Or plainly for sin? Do you keep telling yourself that you can’t stop yet, just a little more will be enough and you will arrive at the place where you can enjoy. Consider these questions and hear the wisdom of God. This is God speaking to you today from His Word. If you’re on that foolish path that takes misery over the goodness of God’s gifts, then repent, turn, and give that up!
Turn aside from that foolish path not only for the sake of your life now but for that which is to come. A life lived for passing treasures and not for God will not only remain unsatisfying and frustrating now but it will result in God’s judgment because when you serve those things instead of God, He calls that idolatry. Only He is worthy of your devotion and worship.
But a life lived for the Lord Jesus, knowing Him, following Him, and wanting to become more like Him is happy now even amid trials and troubles. But that life is happy now and it will result in eternal life with the Lord. So which do you want? It’s not rocket science but kind of like a no-brainer! The only way you’ll take God’s wisdom is if you have a humbled heart and whether you’re willing to believe the Lord.
Believe the Lord, His Word can be trusted. Believe the wise counsel of God, even in this passage. As we come to the end of Ecclesiastes 6, Solomon has largely finished the task of the first half of the book which is mainly to show us that work, wisdom, wealth, and joy can’t do what we want them to do for us in this world. You understand their limitations and you know that they can’t do what you want them to do.
Now that we are in the second half of Ecclesiastes, Solomon is going to tell us what these things can do for us in this world. There is benefit to wisdom and wealth can help you. Work can be enjoyable. There is a way to experience joy in this world, but only if you appreciate the limitations of these things. So we’ll get more into the latter half next time we come back to Ecclesiastes. That’s it for today. Let’s close in prayer.
Lord, thank You for this Word and for Your wisdom. Without Your revelation, we would be like Job’s friends: arguing and speculating about things that we cannot find the answers to. We’d always be supposing that there was some secret out there that if we can just discover, it would unlock the way to ultimate gain and protection. These things don’t make exist but instead You give us Your Word and lights up our path. You show us that if we cease striving for more, that’s when we can truly be happy.
That’s when we can know wisdom and be content because you have given us so many good things. You make Your face to shine on the good and the evil and You send rain on those who rebel against You and on those who actually obey You. You are a good and gracious God yet we’re aware of this Scripture that only those who humble themselves before You are the only ones that can really enjoy those good gifts. So I pray that be true for everybody who has heard this word today. I pray that You would work in their hearts and that they would give up that stubbornness and pride and let go of believing there is gain at there and instead take You as their gain.
You’ve given us so many kind gifts and we thank You God because this world is hard and Jesus, You knew that when You came to live among us. You were beset with all our weaknesses and dealt with all of our frustrations. You were God and are God and did it all this in order to save us. So You know and You continue to extend Your kindness to us. I pray that we would receive it and fear and love You for it, and follow after You will all our hearts. Everything that we are seeking You and Your Kingdom that is coming, and all those things that are frustrating to us will be made new. Those frustrations will be gone and it will just be the good things with you. In Jesus’ Name we pray, Amen.