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Ecclesiastes: Chapter 9 Verses 4-12

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 SIH TOTT ICONWhat Is Your Life If Not Lived For The Lord? (Part 28)

 

 

 

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 9:4-12 

(4)  For to him that is joined to all the living there is hope: for a living dog is better than a dead lion.  (5)  For the living know that they shall die: but the dead know not any thing, neither have they any more a reward; for the memory of them is forgotten.  (6)  Also their love, and their hatred, and their envy, is now perished; neither have they any more a portion for ever in any thing that is done under the sun.  (7)  Go thy way, eat thy bread with joy, and drink thy wine with a merry heart; for God now accepteth thy works.  (8)  Let thy garments be always white; and let thy head lack no ointment.  (9)  Live joyfully with the wife whom thou lovest all the days of the life of thy vanity, which he hath given thee under the sun, all the days of thy vanity: for that is thy portion in this life, and in thy labour which thou takest under the sun.  (10)  Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest.  (11)  I returned, and saw under the sun, that the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favour to men of skill; but time and chance happeneth to them all.  (12)  For man also knoweth not his time: as the fishes that are taken in an evil net, and as the birds that are caught in the snare; so are the sons of men snared in an evil time, when it falleth suddenly upon them. 

 

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL:

For to him that is joined to all the living there is hope: for a living dog is better than a dead lion.  For the living know that they shall die: but the dead know not any thing, neither have they any more a reward; for the memory of them is forgotten.   Also their love, and their hatred, and their envy, is now perished; neither have they any more a portion for ever in any thing that is done under the sun. 

Solomon came to understand that as long as we possess physical life we have hope of forgiveness, salvation and an eternity with the Lord.  It is far better to hold a position of low estate (such as a menial dog) who is alive, than to be a lion (a regal, universally respected beast) who no longer living upon this earth.

Those who are alive know they are facing death and can prepare for it by turning to Christ, in faith.

This is compared to those who are dead who have no knowledge of what is taking place on the earth.  They no longer have any opportunity for salvation and service to Christ which will lead to their eternal rewards.  They are so separated from this earth, that memories of their existence and works have been forgotten.  Their earthly works have ceased and they no longer can share in anything that takes place on the earth.

What must be done to prepare for eternity and serve Christ must be done while we are yet alive on the earth.

 

Go thy way, eat thy bread with joy, and drink thy wine with a merry heart; for God now accepteth thy works.  Let thy garments be always white; and let thy head lack no ointment.   Live joyfully with the wife whom thou lovest all the days of the life of thy vanity, which he hath given thee under the sun, all the days of thy vanity: for that is thy portion in this life, and in thy labour which thou takest under the sun. 

Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest. 

Solomon now addresses those who have prepared for eternity and now can enjoy their remaining time on earth.  There is no reason for the Christian to not be joyous.  The Lord has blessed us with our physical life and the opportunity to prepare for eternity.  He then graced us with repentance and faith enabling us to receive forgiveness and the hope of eternal life.  Joyful living, enjoying creation around us, and having opportunities for continuing service to Christ are the blessings that Christians are given “under the sun”.

In previous chapters, Solomon has been showing us that for men without Christ physical life is vain.  However, in this chapter he is explaining that, for those who have trusted in Christ, life can be of great joy and pleasure when it is used in service to Christ.

This is why, as Christians, we are to do everything to the best of our ability.  All that we do is important in this earth, because we are a reflection of Christ on this earth.  Everything we do (in one way or another) can, and should, reveal Christ to those around us.  Therefore we are to do our best in everything we do.

 

I returned, and saw under the sun, that the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favour to men of skill; but time and chance happeneth to them all.  For man also knoweth not his time: as the fishes that are taken in an evil net, and as the birds that are caught in the snare; so are the sons of men snared in an evil time, when it falleth suddenly upon them. 

In comparison to the saved, Solomon turns his attention back to the general condition of mankind on this earth.  He sees that, in many ways, the world is not fair.  This world does not always rightly reward those who excel.  It seems as if reaping due rewards for our labors and excellence is under the control of chance… “being in the right place at the right time’.

However, as Christians, we understand that the Lord is in control of all, including the rewarding of those who excel.  Eventually all will be made right by the Lord.  This is much like fishes and birds who freely live without care, eventually, suddenly are taken into a net or snare. Likewise all men who seem to not feel the results and rewards of their actions will suddenly be brought to justice by the Lord.

 

PRACTICAL APPLICATION:

When a man does not use the opportunity of physical life to come to Christ, life on earth is vain and without lasting value.  All is wasted effort with no lasting, eternal rewards.  For those who use their physical life to prepare for eternity by trusting in Christ, they can find great joy and satisfaction as they live a life sharing Christ with others.

Keep in mind, although there are no guaranteed earthly rewards for our labors, the Lord is in control.  In eternity, we are promised for justice to be done and rewards to be given for our faithfulness.  We are to do all we can, to the best of our abilities to show Christ to others, as we live our daily lives on earth.  We can know by faith, that our efforts will be rewarded and the Lord will sovereignly, by His grace, use our testimony to save others around us.

 

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.
9. 4:1-3 A recognition that never being born is better than the sufferings of this life.
10. 4:4-16 The pursuit of earthly wisdom, diligence and living responsibly
11. 5:1-7 The pursuit of worldly vows, contracts, and promises
12. 5:8-17 The pursuit of worldly riches
13. 5:18-20 A recognition that enjoyment of this earthly life is God’s gracious gift to man
14. 6:1-2 A recognition of man’s inability to enjoy that which God has given to him.
15. 6:3-10 A recognition of man’s sinfulness, mortality and need of humility before God
16. 6:11-12 A recognition of the vanity of all that lies under the sun.
17. 7:1-10 The pursuit of prideful living
18. 7:11-23 A recognition of the value of Godly wisdom
19. 7:24-29 The pursuit of Godly enabling
20. 8:1-5 The pursuit of proper submission to authority  based upon Godly wisdom
21. 8:6-15 A recognition man needs Godly wisdom because he cannot control his own life nor see the eternal benefits of service to the Lord.
22. 8:16-17 A recognition that men cannot fully understand the work of God on earth
23. 9:1-3 A recognition that righteous and wicked share common life events
24. 9:4-12 A recognition that life is better then death

 

 

 

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