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Ecclesiastes: Chapter 3 Verses 16-22

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SIH TOTT ICONWhat Is Your Life If Not Lived For The Lord? (Part 11)

 

 

 

INTRODUCTION:

Solomon addresses himself as “the Preacher”.   He is the one that will proclaim the spritiual truths of God to those in his nation and to Christians throughout time.

Keep in mind, Solomon learned these truths by trying to find the meaning to life through experiencing all this world has to offer.  Solomon was uniquely suited to learn these lessons and share these truths with the people of God…

First of all, very few men possess sufficient wealth and power to be able to sample all this world has to offer (1 Kings 10:23).

Secondly, only Solomon and a few others throughout time, have been universally respected causing his teachings to be taken very seriously and thoughtfully by all (1 Kings 4:30-34).  (Keep in mind, even Christ Himself and His teachings were rejected by many of those around Him.)

Solomon was God’s man, in God’s place, at God’s time, by God’s grace, to learn this most important truth and proclaim it with authority to those he loved.  May we all listen carefully as Solomon reveals to us the true meaning to life and answer the question…  “What Is Our Life If Not Lived for The Lord ?”.

 

TODAY’S TEXT:

Eccl 3:16-22 –

(16)  And moreover I saw under the sun the place of judgment, that wickedness was there; and the place of righteousness, that iniquity was there.  (17)  I said in mine heart, God shall judge the righteous and the wicked: for there is a time there for every purpose and for every work.  (18)  I said in mine heart concerning the estate of the sons of men, that God might manifest them, and that they might see that they themselves are beasts.  (19)  For that which befalleth the sons of men befalleth beasts; even one thing befalleth them: as the one dieth, so dieth the other; yea, they have all one breath; so that a man hath no preeminence above a beast: for all is vanity.  (20)  All go unto one place; all are of the dust, and all turn to dust again.  (21)  Who knoweth the spirit of man that goeth upward, and the spirit of the beast that goeth downward to the earth?  (22)  Wherefore I perceive that there is nothing better, than that a man should rejoice in his own works; for that is his portion: for who shall bring him to see what shall be after him? 

 

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL:

As Solomon examines life he comes to understand the great difference between human and animal life lies in their eternal existence and their responsibility before God…

 

And moreover I saw under the sun the place of judgment, that wickedness was there; and the place of righteousness, that iniquity was there. 

Solomon sees that, when man is left to himself, the decisions he makes and the areas where justice should be found are both filled with wickedness.  Because we live in a fallen, sinful world there is no reason to expect just and right judgements to be made.

 

I said in mine heart, God shall judge the righteous and the wicked: for there is a time there for every purpose and for every work. 

However, when Solomon expands his view of human life to include the eternity to come, he realizes true judgment can be found.  He knew in his heart that the Lord would bring all men into judgment, and the injustices of this world be brought into account before Him.  God has fore-ordained a set time (as a part of eternity) for that judgment to take place, and nothing will stop it from happening.

 

I said in mine heart concerning the estate of the sons of men, that God might manifest them, and that they might see that they themselves are beasts. 

Due to the sinful nature of fallen mankind, Solomon understood that lost mankind was not able to perceive the wicked condition of the world around them.  They cannot begin to see their own sinful condition, nor the wickedness of their judgments.  He knew that the Lord could open their eyes and show them that, except they take God, eternity, and the final judgment in account, they are really nothing better than a simple beast of the earth.

 

For that which befalleth the sons of men befalleth beasts; even one thing befalleth them: as the one dieth, so dieth the other; yea, they have all one breath; so that a man hath no preeminence above a beast: for all is vanity.

On an earthly level, many of man’s cycle of life events are shared by the animals.  Birth, growth, raising families, sicknesses, injuries and even death are shared by both.  As Solomon reminds us, both share a physical type of life (“one breath”) that is eventually brought to an end.  Both man and animal possess earthly life that is mortal.

 

All go unto one place; all are of the dust, and all turn to dust again. 

When the physical life of man and animal ceases their bodies both return back to the dust which proves that even the disposition of the bodies of men and animals are the same.

 

Who knoweth the spirit of man that goeth upward, and the spirit of the beast that goeth downward to the earth? 

Without exercising faith in the Lord and His Word, man has no proof of the eternal existence of the human spirit.  Herein lies one of the greatest differences between man and animals.  Man’s spirit goes upward to live eternally with the Lord.  The spirit of a beast simply accompanies its body into the grave and goes out of existence with its death.

 

Wherefore I perceive that there is nothing better, than that a man should rejoice in his own works; for that is his portion: for who shall bring him to see what shall be after him? 

If we accept the human philosophy that man is no better than a beast, then a man should find joy in his own earthly works. This is the only source of joy that is left from man to experience.

There is no glorious eternity to look forward to, nor is there any escape from physical death which is the end of his existence of both body and spirit. No man can open the eyes of the lost and allow them to see their eternal existence that lies ahead of him.     God alone can show man the truth of his eternal existence and the Day of judgment that lie ahead of him.

 

 

PRACTICAL APPLICATION:

Without the Lord, our human life on earth is no better than that of animals.  It is only with the realization of our eternal spirit, the coming judgment, and the need for the Lord’s intervention In our lives, that we can begin to under the true meaning and purpose to our existence on earth.

Solomon’s pursuit of the meaning of life included:

 

1. 2:1-3 The pursuit of carnal desires  (the base pleasures found in a fallen world)
2. 2:4-11 The pursuit of material possessions through human labors
3. 2:12-17 The pursuit of worldly wisdom, madness and folly
4. 2:18-23 The pursuit of responsible (frugal & wise) living to retain worldly goods Prt #1
5. 2:24-26 The pursuit of responsible (frugal & wise) living to retain worldly goods Prt #2
6. 3:1-8 A recognition of the Lord’s sovereign control over all life events   Prt #1
7. 3:9-15 A recognition of the Lord’s sovereign control over all life events   Prt #2
8. 3:16-22 A recognition of our need of Christ to see the nature and purpose of our life.

 

 

 

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