Day 6: Discovering the works of God (3:11)
“He hath made every thing beautiful in his time: also he hath set the world in their heart, so that no man can find out the work that God maketh from the beginning to the end” (3:11).
Yesterday, we reflected on the Preacher’s assertion “there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven” and the 14 examples he gave of when to do something and the 14 examples of when to do the very opposite. Now we ponder concerning where all this is leading us: “What do we gain from all our work? I know the heavy burdens that God has laid on us. He has set the right time for everything. He has given us a desire to know the future, but never gives us the satisfaction of fully understanding what he does. So I realized that all we can do is be happy and do the best we can while we are still alive. All of us should eat and drink and enjoy what we have worked for. It is God’s gift.” (3:9-13 GNT.) Having made the argument that life under the sun is meaningless, and asking as to what it is we gain from our efforts and pondering the burdensome of daily living, he looks beyond the sun, and brings God into the picture, and then things begin to make more sense. That God makes everything beautiful in his time is a precious thought and this despite man’s efforts to spoil what God has made. So is that notion we are made in the image of God and desirous to know the future, albeit never with full understanding. He points out that it is ok to be happy and do the best we can, referring back an earlier conclusion (2:24) that we can eat, drink and enjoy, for that is how God had intended it for us.
Despite the inevitability life is cyclic and, what we see now, people will see in the future is what others have seen in the past, we can still look to God. Indeed, we should, as what God does lasts forever, and that is a good thing because it is right “that men should fear before him” (3:14): “I know that everything God does will last forever. You can’t add anything to it or take anything away from it. And one thing God does is to make us stand in awe of him. Whatever happens or can happen has already happened before. God makes the same thing happen again and again.” (3:14-15 GNT.) One of the refreshing comments we can make about the Book of Ecclesiastes is that the Preacher cuts to the proverbial chase and does what our culture discourages us from doing – to have a good long look at life under the sun but then to look beyond that and invite God into our lives and live life standing in awe of Him, and then it begins to make sense.
Prayer: We thank you Lord that you make everything beautiful in your time, all that you do will last forever regardless of what we do, and you give us a desire to understand the world and your eternal purposes. Forgive us for viewing life simply as what takes place under the sun and help us to stand in awe of you.