God’s Wisdom in the Natural Rhythms of Life.

We have divided the third chapter of Ecclesiastes into 3 sections.

  • God's Providence in the Natural Rhythms of Our Life
  • The Perspective of God's Wisdom
  • The Plain Truth of Applying God's Wisdom

This week, we will examine several plain truths to apply God's wisdom to our lives.

The Desire to Know Is God-Given (Ecclesiastes 3:11)

In our passion to know everything, we can trust that God does know everything, and He has a beautiful plan for us within His big picture. The desire to know is given by God, but we will never be able completely to understand matters of life and eternity because we are finite and fallen.

Control What You Can Control (Ecclesiastes 3:12-15)

Many things in life we cannot control. These verses highlight several things we can choose to do.

  • Be joyful and thankful (1 Thess. 5:18). Don't be consumed by the darkness you see in the world, your life, or your own soul. Though darkness can have immense consequences in our lives, there is certainly much more good God has caused to abound to us.
  • Choose to do good. Depressed people are inactive. Keep doing good spiritual things like praying, reading your Bible, loving your family, loving other believers, serving and worshiping faithfully, being a light to lost people, etc.
  • Enjoy God's good gifts as the fruit of your labor.
  • Expect God to bring wrongs to justice.
Trusting the Justice of God (Ecclesiastes 3:16-17)

Ecclesiastes 3:15 connects two sections of the chapter. The truth it contains is incredibly encouraging to those who walk with God, but discouraging to those who do not.

"The rejoicing Christian will trust the plain truth that for every living creature, there will be a final accounting." Each person will face individual judgement before God. God will not accept us based on the balance of our good and bad deeds. Perfection is required, and the only way to pass the judgement is in Christ.

God exercises complete, detailed, sovereign governance over our lives. He inhabits eternity and is never surprised. Neither does He forget agony, violence, or any wrongs committed against you (Romans 12:19). Both the righteous and wicked will face judgement by God one day, and not one detail will be forgotten by our Creator. God's ledger is perfect. We will never stand before His judgement unless we have perfection from outside of ourselves – from Jesus Christ (Matthew 5:48). Those who know Christ will be accepted. Those who do not will be held to account for every dark deed (Colossians 3:6). Every person who has hurt you will also be dealt with in God's perfect justice, according to whether they know Christ or not.

"It should not be thought that God's inactivity in respect to wickedness signifies a concession of sovereignty to wickedness over the places in which it is found. In those very places, God will at the right time bring justice." – Iain Provan

What Humans and Beasts Have in Common (Ecclesiastes 3:18-21)

Mankind and animals were both created, and both will die one day. Our beginning and end are predetermined by God.

Solomon also notes that people can sometimes behave in beastly ways. This always causes us to ask the question, "why?" Over time, wrong becomes puzzling, and we think God's patience is too much. Only God's grace in eternity will explain the place of violence in His all-encompassing plan. In the meantime, His grace enables us to overcome darkness in our lives and, in time, to help others trust God through their own darkness.

In light of all this, Ecclesiastes 3:22 urges us to seize today in doing God's good things, and never stop! Choose to think and act based on who God says you are in Christ.

Application Points

  • Whether life brings you glory or grief, as it will at different seasons, every circumstance is part of God's beautiful story. His grace sustains us through both. Learn and remember His character. Surrender your heart to His sovereign governance.
  • Idle time is the devil's playground. Being inactive only complicates feelings of depression. God is good, and He loves His people to do good. Stay busy doing good things today!
  • Both righteous and wicked will face judgement by God one day, and not one detail will be forgotten by our Creator. If you know Christ, you will be accepted. If not, you will be held to account for every dark deed. We need Jesus' perfection to displace our fallenness. Every person who has hurt you will also be dealt with in God's perfect justice, according to whether they know Christ or not.

Tools for Further Study

Cross References to Explore
  • 1 Peter 4:19, 5:6 – Humility to accept God's sovereign plan.
A Hymn to Encourage: "Grace Is Flowing"

Grace is flowing like a river
from the mount of Calvary.
Look to Jesus Christ the Giver;
He from sin can set you free.

Grace is flowing like a river,
Millions there have been supplied;
Still it flows as fresh as ever
From the Saviour’s wounded side.

Come to Jesus, weary sinner;
Calvary's river flows today.
All who plunge beneath that fountain
wash their guilty stains away.