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Ecclesiastes 3:1-22

 

“To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: 2 a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted; 3 a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; 4 a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; 5 a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; 6 a time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away; 7 a time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; 8 a time to love, and a time to hate; a time to war, and a time to peace. 9 What profit hath he that worketh in that wherein he laboureth? 10 I have seen the travail, which God hath given to the sons of men to be exercised in it. 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. 12 I know that there is no good in them, but for a man to rejoice, and to do good in his life. 13 And also that every man should eat and drink, and enjoy the good of his labour, it is the gift of God. 14 I know that, whatsoever God doeth, it shall be for ever:  nothing can be put to it, nor any thing taken from it:  and God doeth it, that men should fear before him. 15 That which hath been is now; and that which is to be hath already been; and God requireth that which is past. 16 And moreover I saw under the sun the place of judgment, that wickedness was there; and the place of righteousness, that equity 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:  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 as man should rejoice in his own works; for that is his portion:  for who shall bring him to see what shall be after him?”

 

Introduction

 

“We are in the 3rd chapter of Ecclesiastes, Ecclesiastes the Preacher, it means the Proclaimer, Ecclesia is the Church, the Called Out Ones, not the building, but God’s people called out, and Ecclesiastes, the one who does the proclaiming, so the idea is, this is something that was heralded, proclaimed, being proclaimed to God’s people.  And I believe again, Solomon, in his later years, in great frustration, communicating these things.  And he’s honest about the frustration that he sees in so many things around him, earlier a different man, under David’s tutelage, tender, it says he was young and tender, God granted him so much because of the request he had made to God as a young man when he took over the kingdom.  In his later years, a thousand wives, his heart being pulled after other gods, so much wealth that he didn’t know what to do with it, silver is just accounted just as rocks in his kingdom, gold immeasurable and jewels.  He had settled into, it seems, that place of comfortableness that can become a plague in our lives.  And he had talked about working, how he indulged, he tried this and that, and there was nothing worthwhile in it, and he gave himself to study, about trees and animals in his frustration, so he gave himself to partying, wine and all this, that was frustration too, so he builded great buildings.  He’s taken us through all of these things, and then he comes here to the 3rd chapter, he kind of starts to talk about the fact that it just seems like all of this is just cycles, it just goes around and around, it just can be mundane, it can be meaningless.  It seems like one thing happens, and it gets cancelled out, there’s war, there’s peace, there’s planting, there’s reaping, there’s birth, there’s death.  And he said then, you go through that, the net result of it is zero, each thing just seems to cancel out the other.  And he’s very fatalistic here, very different than his father David’s perspective, who realized that all of our days are counted out, all of our days were written in God’s Word before we lived them.  David had a very different perspective [because David was focused on the vertical, Solomon was focused on the horizontal].  Solomon here, very fatalistic.  But he raises his head from time to time, and there’s light that shines through. 

 

“To Every Thing There Is A Season, And A Time To Every Purpose Under Heaven”

 

So he begins, I’ll read these first 8 verses chapter 3, “To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:  a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted; a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; a time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away; a time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; a time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.” (verses 1-8)  he puts these things out in front of us, and of course as I get here, because of my age, my brain is stuck with Pete Seager and The Birds and Bob Dillon, I can’t escape it, I read the words, I hear the song.  I can’t, you know that, there were songs from when you were a kid, things people said, poems you heard that you wish weren’t in there.  I don’t wish that wasn’t in there, I actually kind of like their song, you know.  Some things they did that I really liked.  [Barry McGuire, Eve of Destruction, a Vietnam protest song, Barry is now a believer and member of a Calvary Chapel, and he’s just about as liberal and anti-war as he was in his fiery youth.]  But I’m hearing, in fact I did a funeral a number of years ago, it was at a Jewish cemetery, the family was Jewish, but the children had become believers, and the dad, we were hoping before he died, I said ‘Sure, I’d be honored to do it,’ but then because it was a Jewish cemetery, there were a number of rabbis that ran the cemetery, they said ‘You can’t bring a,’ and we went through this whole hoopla, they said ‘You can only read from the Old Testament,’ finally they said ‘Alright, but I’m going to stand behind you, and if you read from the New Testament, or say the name of Jesus, it’s over.’  So it was pretty interesting, he was standing right behind me, the rabbi, and a lot of musicians I knew there, a lot of guys were there, and I went here, because they were all from college and all knew it from [The Birds and Bob Dillon], ‘Everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose,’ and when you listen to it as I read it.  And then I went to Job, ‘I know that my redeemer lives, in the latter days,’ I could see, the rabbi, steam was coming from his head, but I stayed in the Old Testament, you know, I didn’t go to Isaiah 53, but I did go to Psalm 22, I worked my way around.  “Time,” in verses 1 to 8, he’s going to mention “time” 28 times.  No doubt, Solomon is an older man, just thinking that, time, I mean, everybody’s older, just ‘Where did it go? life goes like snap! where did it go?  Oh my, I’ve become my grandfather,’ I used to say that when I was a kid, it just goes by.  Joannie Erikson says “Time is a slippery substance.”  And he’s just making that remark, people always say, you know, ‘I need to find time, to get something done.’  You’re never going to find time, you know where it is, there isn’t any time you don’t know about.  In fact when I wrote this down today, there’s 86,480 seconds in every day, in case you’re wondering, those are contained in 1,440 minutes, every day, which are contained within 24 hours, every day, which are contained in a day.  You already know about all that time, there ain’t any time besides that time.  So you ain’t ever going to find time, you can make time.  Funny thing is, I feel like sometimes in the morning, if you start before the Lord, and spend some time in prayer, it seems like he multiplies time, he makes it stretch, he spreads it a little thinner somehow, but you’re never going to find any, you already know.  All the things you’re thinking of you know the Lord wants you to do, and you’re saying ‘I need to make time, I need to find time.’  You ain’t going to make time, you ain’t gonna find time, just do it, schedule it, put it in there somewhere.  And he says here, “To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:” the idea is, ‘there is a specific time to every purpose,’ he acknowledges that, he doesn’t say whose purpose, and the basis of everything he’s saying through these chapters, he says, ‘is under heaven,’ he’s looking at everything in the natural, on the horizontal, he’s very much not like David, in the respect he’s not looking heavenwards.  So Solomon says ‘To everything there’s a time, there’s a season, to every purpose under heaven.’  He says, ‘I’m watching time go by,’ you know, time is a great healer they say, terrible beautician, but great healer.  And that’s true in some ways, as time goes by, there is some healing attribute to time.  I think, we just re-prioritize on things that get under our skin that are not that important anymore.  But there’s a season, a time to every purpose, so he at least acknowledges there is some purpose, under heaven.  First of all, “A time to be born, and a time to die;” as you notice, you don’t have much to do with either one of those.  You didn’t decide when you were coming, the family you were going to be born in, what you were going to look like, inherit, what color your hair was going to be, how tall, how wide, you know, you didn’t have anything to do with that.  There’s a time when you were born, he says, a time to die, truthfully, we don’t have much to do with that either…I’m not fatalistic, because I know it’s in our Father’s hands, there is consolation in it.  He says ‘There’s a time to plant, there’s a time to pluck up,’ we cooperate, all of us, with seasons in life, aging, funerals, weddings, there are seasons in life that we cooperate with.  And to the Jew, by the way, the calendar, their religious calendar was tied into the Feast of Firstfruits, the Feast of Pentecost, the Feast of Harvest, a lot of their [God’s] religious year was tied directly into agriculture.  Jesus when he arose on Sunday, the priest was waving the sheaf of grain in the Temple, symbolizing the Firstfruits that were gathered before the grain harvest 50 days later on Pentecost, of course that’s when the Church began, there was spiritual significance in it.  You have the Feast of Tabernacles, the main harvest and so forth, in the fall, where they remember the end of their journeys [see https://unityinchrist.com/messianicmovement/Holydayshadows.htm and https://unityinchrist.com/messianicmovement/Holydayshadows2.htm].  So, we cooperate with seasons, time to plant, time to pluck up.  ‘A time to kill, a time to heal,’ Solomon, very fatalistically looking at that.  ‘There’s a time to break down, a time to build up,’ sometimes that is advantageous.  ‘There’s a time to weep,’ and all of us in this room know these things, ‘there’s a time to laugh,’ I’m glad, aren’t you?  Don’t think that it’s unspiritual to weep, by the way.  The God who made you gave you tear ducts.  If you don’t use them you’ll blow your head off.  Ah, Jesus wept, several times.  They’re important.  When you use them, the tears, we don’t understand all the chemistry, but they respond to emotion.  The first thing your eye tries to do, it dumps the tears into your nasal passage, that’s why you sniff, but when it can’t keep up, they roll out the corner of your eye because they can’t dump them in there fast enough.  It’s very interesting, that’s just for your information, I don’t think Solomon thought about any of that, but I think about it, I think about the song, even about The Birds.  ‘A time to weep, a time to laugh.’  ‘There’s a time to mourn, and there’s a time to dance,’  look, there isn’t anything unspiritual about mourning, either.  I think that for Christians, when we loose a Christian, I don’t think there needs to be tombstone vigils, I don’t think there needs to be, but each of us, you know, we’re made differently, we come to life with different scars and different bruises, and some of us are able to maneuver around those issues with less emotional investment than others.  Some of us who were deeply hurt as we grew up, and we loose someone, a grandma, or someone whose significant in our life, makes it very, very difficult.  Again, I don’t think there’s any way around those, there is a time to mourn.  It isn’t wrong.  But I don’t think that we should ever be defeated by it, as Christians, I think that we get back up on our feet again, and dance.  Can Christians dance, some can, some can’t, you know, time to dance.  ‘There’s a time to cast away stones, there’s a time to gather stones together,’ any of you who have been to Israel with us understand this perfectly, it is the stoniest place in the world, there’s just more, if you are going to plant a field, you are either gathering stones to build walls or pathways between the fields, the enemies would come, take all the stones, they’ll throw them back out into the field again, so you couldn’t plow, you couldn’t do anything, so Solomon has made those observations, ‘there’s a time to cast away stones, there’s a time to gather stones together.’  ‘There’s a time to embrace, and there’s a time to refrain from embracing,’ you’ve seen that here in the sanctuary, ‘Um, what should we do, should we say something to them?  I think they’re dating.  Ya, but everybody’s watching, I don’t think they should be necking during the service, even though they’re dating, there’s a time to embrace, there’s a time to refrain from embracing,’ you know, on the emotional level there’s a time, the idea is, to embrace, for affirmation, for affirmation, you have godly parents, godly family, don’t ever pass up an opportunity to put your arm around them and tell them you love them, because it says here there’s a time to be born, there’s a time to die.  Don’t ever pass that up.  There’s a time for affirmation, and there’s a time to refrain from embracing, ‘There’s a time for confrontation,’ even though I don’t enjoy confrontation.  ‘There’s a time to get, to seek, there’s a time to lose, to let go,’ ah, we live in a culture where everybody’s supposed to get and nobody’s supposed to lose sadly, you even get trophies for loosing, these days.  I think we’re ruining something, we’ve lost our minds, in my opinion.  Ah, ‘there’s a time to get, a time to loose.’  Look, ‘there’s a time to keep,’ I have to talk to my wife about this, ‘and there’s a time to cast away.’  Throw that out!  You know, there’s just a time, ‘you’re in the attic, you’re in the garage, do not save that for four more generations, I know what it was, but it ain’t nothing for us, and we haven’t taken it out of the box in 30 years, throw it out!’  I remember when we moved my mom, after my dad went to be with the Lord, we went through every single thing in the house, she’s saying ‘Do you remember this, we got this in 1932,’ I’m like, I’m holding a trash bag, and we finally got to the point with my mom, “Mom, when it doubt, throw it out.”  She’d be telling us, we’d say ‘When in doubt,’ and she’d say throw it out.’  But with some people, some people just can’t let go of anything.  The Bible says, there’s a time to throw stuff out.  You know, there’s holding on, there’s letting go.  [this goes for toxic relationships too, or when they get that way.]  ‘There’s a time to tear, and a time to sew,’ even the Jews, sometimes they would just tear their garment in mourning, or if it was religious people when something was blasphemous.  There’s a time to mend, heal, there’s a time to fix that.  He says ‘There’s a time to keep silent,’ that’s hard, isn’t it?  It may be kind, but it may be difficult.  You know it says the Proverbs 31 woman, that when she opens her mouth, the law of kindness is upon her tongue.  That means that she kept it shut sometimes [one of my father’s favorite sayings was “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.”].  So the law of kindness was governing there.  It’s saying there is a time just to keep quiet.  Jesus even said to his disciples “I’ve got many things to say to you, but you’re not ready to bear them now.”  ‘there are things I’d love to tell you right now, but you’re just not ready.’  There’s a time, why enter the ring, why put the gloves on, why start the fight?  There are higher things in the Kingdom of God than right and wrong.  There’s more Scripture in the New Testament about reconciliation than proving whose right and proving whose wrong.  There’s a time, for the sake of Christ, it’s right, just to let it go, take a deep breath, to be silent.  ‘And then there’s a time to speak,’ sometimes that’s difficult too, because we know we’re in the situation, the person that we may be involved with are not going to be benefited unless we speak the truth in love.  And that’s not always received well either.  You know, it needs to be done wisely and kindly.  But Solomon says, ‘I’ve seen all of these things.’  ‘There’s a time to love,’ with a thousand wives I hope he figured that out, ‘and there’s a time to hate,’ a thousand mother-in-laws, he figured that out.  ‘There’s a time of war,’ certainly David had much more experience there than Solomon, ‘and there’s a time of peace,’ and there certainly was during his reign.  So between birth and death, it says all of these seasons go back and forth, sowing and reaping, birth and death, tearing, mending, mourning, dancing, just watch this go back and forth, it washes over.  And with him, he’s talking about frustration, you get born, all this stuff goes back and forth in your life, then you die.  And he said it just seems every generation experiences the same thing, it’s not like somebody’s going to get some different version of this.  To him, he’s very fatalistic here, as he’s talking about that.  And look, he says in verse 9, well then “What profit hath he that worketh in that wherein he laboureth?” I mean, this is true, this comes to everybody, everybody rejoices, everybody weeps, everybody mourns, everybody experiences death, everybody experiences seasons, everybody is subject to weather, there’s this stuff, all this washes over everybody.  And he said, ‘Well then, what profit is there in he that works, in he that laboureth, with the toil of life, things come, things go, is there an end?’ 

 

‘God Exercises Men Through All These Things, He Has A Purpose For It, He’s Put Eternity In Their Hearts’

 

And he says, you know, “I have seen the travail, which God hath given to the sons of men to be exercised in it.” (verse 10)  He says ‘I do realize that God allows these things,’ and Jeremiah will talk about the potter’s wheel, going round and round, and God will work in our lives sometimes, and form us and change us.  Solomon at least says at this point, he said, ‘I do acknowledge that in these things, God hath given to the sons of men these things, to be exercised in them.’  So he says it seems it’s out of control, we’re not in control of it, but it also seems like seasons pass over life, and ups and downs and all of these things come and go, that it does do something in the human being, by God’s design, exercised by these things, and he says to everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose.  And when he gets down to verse 10, he says, ‘You know what, God has purpose in this.’  In verse 11 he kind of pulls some of these thoughts together, “He” capital H, speaking of the LORD, I’ll read the King James, he says, “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.” (verse 11)  The language is like this, ‘He hath made everything beautiful’ now King James says “in his time” the Hebrew says “in it’s season” the idea is, ‘in all of these things I just described, the LORD is able to intervene and make all things beautiful in it’s season, also He,’ capital H, ‘hath set’ not the world, the Hebrew word is ‘eternity, he hath set eternity’ notice, ‘in their heart.’  Not in their intellect, in their heart, something very deep, something very visceral, innate, in the human being, about eternity.  King James says “so that no man can find out the work of God he maketh from the beginning to the end.” The Hebrew either says “yet either God has put eternity in their heart, no man can find out.”  More often it’s translated, “without which no man can find out the work that God makes from the beginning to the end.”  So it seems to be saying, ‘Look, and I’ve watched all this, and it’s an exercise in frustration, and if all it is, is cum se, cum sa, and one thing cancels out the other, the net result of all of life is zero, but he says, I do realize that God has allowed seasons, and men are exercised, he has purpose in that, and he says he has made everything beautiful in its season, there’s something wonderful about the season of small kids, a birth in the house.’  It’s not always beautiful when they become teenagers, but they grow up, that becomes beautiful, beautiful when grandkids come around, beautiful to go through the seasons of life, and it’s beautiful to understand there’s morning.  But there is a time to dance, it’s beautiful to realize there is a time to keep your mouth closed, there’s a time to open it up.  The truth is, there are times of war.  If there had not been wars, we wouldn’t be here tonight.  It isn’t something that God is ever anxious to do, in Genesis 15 he said to Abraham, in three generations I’m going to take the children of Israel into the Promised Land, but the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet come to a full.  It would be 300, 400 years, God saw their sin, saw what they were doing, and yet God measures time morally, he said it isn’t come to it’s full, it will ultimately come to a point where there’s no more redemption, there’s no more turning it around.  And you know, when he brings the children of Israel into the Promised Land he finds a prostitute named Rahab on the wall, who says ‘We heard what your God did, and this whole land is in fear, and I believe your God,’ and he redeems that prostitute, who becomes the great grandmother of David, who ends up listed in the genealogy of Jesus Christ in Matthew chapter 1.  God is gracious, even in a situation where there’s judgment, where God will use war and allow it to take place, his mercy is still functioning, but if the children of Israel hadn’t come in there, defended themselves against the Philistines, if all of these things hadn’t have happened [or the Macabbees fighting Antiochus Ephiphanes], the Messiah wouldn’t have been born, and we wouldn’t have been saved, and be sitting here this evening.  So, yes it’s beyond our wisdom, and I don’t think the Scripture asks us to figure it out.  But what God has done, we realize, but God works.  He’s sovereign, he’s in control of the affairs of men, and what’s going on all over the world.  And he does make everything beautiful in it’s season, he’s the one who does that, and he’s put eternity in our hearts.  That’s unescapable for us, without which no man can figure out what God is doing, from the beginning to the end.  But we can figure out with a sense of, we have eternity in our hearts, there’s something when we get saved, there’s a light that goes on, there’s something that happens, and you realize there is a spiritual world, there is a future, there is a destiny, that something did happen 2,000 years ago on the cross, Christ is risen.  If God allows that to happen, and it’s going to be very important as we go on in this chapter, because he’s going to say without that there’s no difference between a man and a beast, without that realization.  Again, the cows are not walking around the field going ‘Moooust be more to life than this, what is this all about, eat grass and end up in Dinty Moore Beef Stew, there’s gotta be more than life than you know,’ they’re not thinking what we’re thinking, ‘what in the world is all this about?, is there a God up there, how can he be a God of love?’  We get frustrated, because we have a sense of eternity, and it eats at people, until it gets in its right context.  He does acknowledge that, “He hath made every thing beautiful in his time [its season]:  also he hath set the world [eternity] in their heart, so that [without which] no man can find out the work that God maketh from the beginning to the end.” (verse 11) 

 

You’re Meant To Have Joy In The Fruit Of Your Labour

 

He says, “I know that there is no good in them, but for a man to rejoice, and to do good in his life.” (verse 12) there’s no other purpose, “And also that every man should eat and drink, and enjoy the good of all his labour, it is the gift of God.” (verse 13)  There’s at least remuneration, there’s a joy in that, you work hard, you get to enjoy the fruit of that.  And he says, ‘That is the gift of God.’  So to live a doleful, Eor life, that’s not spiritual.  He says even me here, without just shoveling through these things, he says there is a gift of God, it’s to enjoy the fruit of your labour, to sit down and enjoy a meal, he says ‘I at least see that.’ 

 

What And God Does, It Doesn’t Change, God’s At Work, He’s Sovereign

 

“I know that, whatsoever God doeth, it shall be for ever:  nothing can be put to it, nor any thing taken from it:  and God doeth it, that men should fear before him.” (verse 14)  he knows that it is immutable, doesn’t change.  I’m thankful, because it says ‘He who has begun a good work in you, will continue in it, to form us into the image of Christ.’  We’d give up along the way if we had to do that.  He says here, ‘I know this, when God does it, it doesn’t change, it’s immutable, it doesn’t change direction, it doesn’t do that.’  He says, ‘Nothing can be put to it, what God does, nor taken away from it,’ I’m thankful, ‘that God does it, that men should fear before him,’ realize he’s sovereign, he is at work. 

 

The Judicial Systems, Religious Systems Of Man, They All Have Corruption Within Them:  But God Will Judge Everyone’s Actions

 

“That which hath been is now; and that which is to be hath already been; and God requireth that which is past.” (verse 15)  He’s a little bit depressed, you can tell here.  Here’s the wisest guy who ever lived, and he’s saying ‘You know that which hath been, things happening in the past, that’s what’s happening now, you know, it just comes around again, and that which is about to come, ahead of us, is something that’s already been, there ain’t nothing new under the sun, and God’s going to require it, God’s going to hold people accountable,’ it isn’t just we’re stuck in this, ‘he’s going to require that which is past.’  And he says, “And moreover I saw under the sun the place of judgment, that wickedness was there; and the place of righteousness, that iniquity was there.” (verse 16) he starts to look at the activity of man now, in a deeper way, and notice, he says we’re “under the sun,” he says “moreover I saw under the sun,” now when we go through, many times he’s going to say, “I considered,” this phrase “I saw” is the same phrase, ‘I considered, I saw under the sun the place of judgment, I looked, the judicial system of human beings,’ there’s a place of judgment, there has to be that, there is in our land, and he says ‘that in place of judgment, that wickedness was there,’ now can you imagine that?  This is a joke, that the judicial system would be clogged up with things that are wrong?  that wickedness was there,” and he says “the place of righteousness,” the religious world, “that iniquity was there.”  It isn’t that we’re just stuck in this, he’s going to require that which is past.   And he says, “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.” (verse 17)  He says ‘It’s not going sink me, because God’s going to judge,’ “for there is a time for every purpose and for every work.”  He’s remembering that, God has put eternity in our hearts, there’s a time for every purpose under heaven, so he said, even in this there’s going to be a season, God’s not just going to let it slide, the judicial world of human beings is corrupt, the religious world of human beings is corrupt, ‘so I said in my heart, LORD, you know what, you’re going to straighten this out, and you’re going to judge the wicked.’  Aren’t you glad you aren’t in their shoes?  I’m glad I’m not in their shoes, and I’m glad I’m not in my shoes either, I’m washed in the blood of Jesus.  He says, ‘There’s a purpose, there’s something going on here LORD.’  “And I said in my heart concerning the estate of the sons of men, that God might manifest them, and that they might see that they themselves are beasts.” (verse 18)  God’s dragging them out into the open, he wants mankind to see that they themselves are beasts.  You look at some of the things you’ve seen on the news in the last month, just the last month, the last couple weeks, you think ‘How could people do that?  How can people slaughter this, how could people cut these people up, how can people do this, this injustice?  How can people mock this?  How can people treat women or children this way?’  And he says “I said in my heart concerning the estate of the sons of men,” ‘you know, God is going to make manifest, he’s going to make them understand,’ “that they may see that they themselves are beasts.”  And that’s true, aside from the new-birth, being born-again, we’re animalistic. 

 

Man And Animals, We’re All Physical, But Both Have A ‘spirit’ Component In Their Brains

 

“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.” (verse 19)  Grandpa died, Fido died.  Now by the way, that frustration he’s going to tell us, leads to all kinds of things.  You have to understand, that’s the world we’re living in.  Man has no preeminence over a beast.  You know, they’re talking about our brother squirrels, and our brother trees, all of this stuff, mother earth, that there needs to be a harmonic convergence so we all vibrate together or something, and you look at mother earth, she just drowned 17 people in South Carolina, that’s one mean mother if that’s your mother, I’ll tell you that.  [ya, look at what we’re doing to “mother earth,” I’d be mean too.]… they teach evolution in the schools, and you got here by mistake, you ain’t staying long, there’s no purpose to your life, you have no preeminence over the beast, so why shouldn’t you act the way you want to act however you want to act, sexually, morally, why shouldn’t you do whatever you want to do?  It says, when man looses the sense that he’s a divine creation, that God has purpose for each one of our lives, each one of our lives, each of our lives this here this evening is significant, each of our lives are significant.  And there’s a wonderful sense of that when God works in our hearts, when we get up each day, and we’re not measuring it just on the horizontal, ‘oh they’ve got this peace thing going,’ you don’t measure any of that stuff.  He loves me, my life is significant, eternity will tell the story of its impact, that each one is necessary.  Even in the Body of Christ, he says, every joint and ligament supplies (Ephesians 4:1-16).  There isn’t Body health without everyone, everyone is to be a contributor.  But we live in a world, don’t we, where the Discovery Channel has a much weight as the Cooking Channel, you know California just passed the Euthanasia law, so you can put Fido down, you can put Grandma down, Oregon, uncle Harry’s too sick to keep around, you put him down, you can have a two-for-one day.  That’s the mental attitude.  With 57 million abortions how can we appreciate life?  With a doctrine of fatality, with a doctrine of human beings having no preeminence over animals, how can we then blame somebody that does something crazy, when we foster the whole doctrine of the fact that human life is not sacred.  And he says ‘Man doesn’t have any preeminence over a beast, everything is vanity.’  “All go unto one place; all are of the dust, and all turn to dust again.” (verse 20) that’s the deal, he says.  You know you remove prayer from public schools, you remove God from public life, you remove nativity scenes from the lawn, you remove anybody’s right to pray or say anything, then you wonder why people act like animals.  Because you trained them to do that.  [Solomon was just showing the mortality of man and animals, that we’re all physical creatures, he’s looking again on the horizontal, not the vertical, remember that. The fact that he’s stating is accurate from the purely physical, horizontal perspective.]  It says here, in verse 21, “Who knoweth the spirit of man that goeth upward, and the spirit of the beast that goeth downward to the earth?” [cf. Ecclesiastes 9:4-6]  Now, he does say, in chapter 12, verse 7, he’s wrapping up, and he looks at death, he says “Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was, and the spirit shall return to God who gave it.”  Here, earlier in Ecclesiastes, he says “who knoweth the spirit of man that goeth upward, and the spirit of the beast, that goeth downward to the earth?”  When he does this there’s something interesting here, when he says “who knoweth the spirit” and it’s ruach there, and it’s normally translated “spirit of man that goes upward” “and the” it’s weh-ruach, there the second time, which is really translated “breath of the beast that goes downward to the earth.”  It does draw a difference.  [Comment:  there is an interesting study about the “spirit in man” or “the spirit of man” at this link, which shows that the “spirit of man” is God’s software for the human brain, giving it computing power and intellect far above that of animals.  Animals have a similar spirit component to their brains too.  In Proverbs 20:27 God calls the “spirit of man” the candle of the LORD by which he is able to read the inward parts, the thoughts of every human being upon the earth.  There is more to this “spirit of man” than most Christians realize.  But sure to click on this link and read it: https://unityinchrist.com/plaintruth/battle.htm]  I know some people can get sad, I mean, Rin Tin Tin is not going to be in heaven, look, it wouldn’t be heaven if you got there and you were bummed about it, ok.  So it’s gonna be better than you think, I guarantee you that, and I’m real sad my dog’s not going to be there.  Ah, I didn’t write this, and he was depressed when he wrote it.  He says the spirit of man goes upward, returns to God, but the breath [spirit] of the beast goes down again to the earth.  There are horses [in heaven now], we are going to ride on white horses [coming back with Jesus to the earth, where we and Jesus will reside forever, also because it shows us in Revelation 21 that the New Jerusalem comes down to earth where it takes up permanent residence, so that put’s a new spin on this going to heaven business.  Heaven is where God is, God the Father, Jesus Christ, and us resurrected, born-again believers, we all end up on earth again].  You know there’s cats, because there’s harps, so there’s some animals there [we don’t have a clue how many spirit animals there are there, so speculate as you will, we’ll find out later].  Just think about it [cat gut for harp strings is what he’s implying], or don’t think about it, it’s up to you.  “Who knoweth the spirit of man that goeth upward, and the spirit of the beast that goeth downward to the earth?” (verse 21)  [and by the way, it shows all the spirit’s in man go upward to God for safe keeping, not just the spirit’s in man of all the good, all the saved, born-again ones, but the spirit in man of every human who has ever lived.  That might put a crimp in some of our doctrinal understanding about some things.]   He said, “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?” (verse 22)  it’s a blessing, to work hard and accomplish things, and he says there’s a reason, “for that is his portion.”  Why?  “for who shall bring him to see what shall be after him?”  You know, you just live and you die, and you got no foresight, who should teach him what should be after him?  Jesus.  We know the answer to that, that’s who, Jesus.  We have whole chapters in the Bible about what’s in front of us.  [Don’t forget, God hadn’t called and inspired any of the Prophets who came after Solomon, they hadn’t been born yet.  David, his father had written some astounding prophecies in Psalms, but there were no other timing-type prophecies given at the time of David to anchor to the prophecies David wrote.  But we have all the Old Testament and New Testament prophecies about our future, the future of the world, the 2nd coming, the Millennial Kingdom of God, which the OT prophets were replete in.]  Revelation 21 and 22, two of my favorite chapters in the Bible, the holy city of New Jerusalem coming down out of heaven as a Bride adorned for her husband.  You look at that, you think ‘Are you kidding me, it’s just unbelievable.’  We do know what’s ahead of us, an inheritance, incorruptible, undefiled, that fades not away.  You know, Jesus, all of these things, the Lord has told us so much about what’s ahead of us.  Here Solomon, without the New Testament [or without even the Old Testament prophets, who came after he had died], without the light that you and I walk in, says “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?” (verse 22)  There’s nothing wrong with rejoicing in your own works.  “for that is his portion,” that’s wrong, “for who shall bring him to see what shall be after him?”  His father David said “I will be satisfied when I awake in thy likeness, at thy right hand are pleasures forever more.”  He did have an insight, “he shall be like the light of the morning, when the sun rises, even the morning without clouds…”  he said, ‘though I might not see it, God will cause it to be, he’s gonna build that house, and I’m going to witness it.’  [That’s David’s vertical perspective]  So, David was much different than Solomon, spiritually. 

 

Ecclesiastes 4:1-16

 

“So I returned, and considered all the oppressions that are done under the sun:  and behold the tears of such as were oppressed, and they had no comforter; and on the side of their oppressors there was power; but they had no comforter. 2 Wherefore I praised the dead which are already dead more than the living which are yet alive. 3 Yea, better is he than both they, which hath not yet been, who had not seen the evil work that is done under the sun. 4 Again, I considered all travail, and every right work, that for this a man is envied of his neighbour.  This is also vanity and vexation of spirit. 5 The fool foldeth his hands together, and eateth his own flesh. 6 Better is an handful with quietness, than both the hands full with travail and vexation of spirit. 7 Then I returned, and I saw vanity under the sun. 8 There is one alone, and there is not a second; yea, he hath neither child nor brother:  yet is there  no end of all his labour; neither is his eye satisfied with riches; neither saith he, For whom do I labour, and bereave my soul of good?  This is also vanity, yea, it is a sore travail. 9 Two are better than one; because they have a good reward for their labour. 10 For if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow:  but woe to him that is alone when he falleth; for he hath not another to help him up. 11 Again, if two lie together, then they have heat:  but how can one be warm alone? 12 And if one prevail against him, two shall withstand him; and a threefold cord is not quickly broken. 13 Better is a poor and a wise child than an old and foolish king, who will no more be admonished. 14 For out of prison he cometh to reign; whereas also he that is born in his kingdom becometh poor. 15 I considered all the living which walk under the sun, with the child that shall stand up in his stead. 16 There is no end of all the people, even of all that have been before them:  they also that come after shall not rejoice in him.  Surely this also is vanity and vexation of spirit.”

 

Solomon Sees Oppression, What’s Going On In The World, He Views World Leaders

 

“He said “I turned, and considered all the oppressions that are done under the sun:  and behold the tears of such as were oppressed, and they had no comforter; and on the side of their oppressors there was power; but they had no comforter.” (verse 1)  “all of the oppressions that are done under the sun” and that can be depressing, as we can see on the news, every night.  “and they have no comforter,” we have the Comforter.  “on the side of their oppressors there was power,” we see that, don’t we, and it frustrates us.  We see people, unfortunately, being oppressed, on the news every night, and we see that there’s power on the side of the oppressors.  “but” the people, “had no comforter.”  David knows God in a much more personal way, he would say ‘The LORD’s my shepherd, I shall not want,’ he understood…but Solomon sees here oppression, he sees what’s going on in other kingdoms, and he’s thinking ‘What is this all about?’ he says ‘I got here, I’m not staying long, whose going to take over?’  He said earlier, a fool, you leave everything you accomplish, and you may leave that to a fool, he no doubt was thinking about Rehoboam as an older man.  And here he says ‘I considered the oppression of mankind that goes on around me, and I beheld their tears,’ and by the way, in an oriental court, you weren’t allowed to come into the king’s court and cry, the king might just put you to death, he didn’t want any sadness, sadness was forbidden in the king’s court.  And he says ‘I see the oppression, I behold their tears,’ that would be out, probably somewhere, and he said ‘and they have no comforter, and on the side of the oppressors there’s power,’ we see tyranny all over the world today, ‘and they have no comfort.’  Listen how depressed he gets here, “Wherefore I praised the dead which are already dead more than the living which are yet alive.” (verse 2)  I’m happy to be here tonight.  That’s pretty depressed, ok.  Then he says this, he says “Yea, better is he than both they,” the living and the dead “which hath not yet been, who hath not seen the evil work that is done under the sun.” (verse 3) the best guy to admire is the guy who ain’t existed yet, never been born, he’s better than the living and the dead, because he hasn’t seen what they’re seeing or what they went through, he said ‘he’s the guy I really admire, the guy that’s never been.’  Man, we need to get through this and get to the Song of Solomon, this is depressing.  “Yea, better is he than both they, which hath not yet been, who hath not seen the evil work that is done under the sun.” (verse 3)  [see https://unityinchrist.com/topical%20studies/America-ModernRomans1.htm and read through that whole series.  Also see https://unityinchrist.com/Why%20Poverty%20and%20Starvation%20In%20Latin%20America.html]

 

The Lazy Envy The Industrious, The Hard Workers

 

He said then, “Again, I considered all travail, and every right work, that for this a man is envied of his neighbour.  This is also vanity and vexation of spirit.” (verse 4)  he’s going to say “work,” “travail,” “labour,” “toil.”  “right work,” you get an idea of skillful work, somebody who works hard, they’re skillful in what they do, ‘every skillful work that for this a man is, and for this,’ he says ‘a man is envied of his neighbour.  I looked at the guy who works hard, he lives in a decent house, he’s skillful in what he does, he builds a business, he’s successful, and for all that what does he get? he gets envied of his neighbour.  This is also vanity and vexation of spirit, nobody’s saying Congratulations, they’re sitting around saying ‘That jerk, how come he always gets more money than we do, how come he’s got this, how come he’s got a house down on the shore?’’  He says then, “The fool foldeth his hands together, and eateth his own flesh.” (verse 5)  he says he sits around and folks his hands, doesn’t do anything, and then he eats his own flesh, he ends up starving to death, he comes to ruin, because he feels like ‘Why should I do this, just to envy this guy, why should I even work?’  And look, we have an entitlement generation now, where so much is handed out, people can do that, the poorest people in the country get the same Sears catalog the wealthiest people in the country get.  The poorest people in the country see the same advertisements that the wealthiest people in the country see, everybody’s kind of exposed to the same stuff, without Christ you have the same level of covetousness in the heart.  The wealthy man is able to buy whatever he wants, and he ends up in Betty Ford Clinic.  He can afford it, but he ain’t happy, he’s empty.  The poor person can’t afford it, he may get a gun and figure he’ll get some of it.  And he says there’s a frustration in all of this.  The fool, he just folds his hands together and he sits there and he ends up in ruin, this is so different than the Book of Proverbs where Solomon told us about hard work and things earlier. 

 

Better Is…

 

The Plague Of Loneliness

 

And then he says “better” and you’re going to see it “better” in verse 6, see “better” in verse 9, you’re going to see “better” in verse 13, he’s going to tell us there are some things that are better.  He says “Better is a handful with quietness, than both the hands full with travail and vexation of spirit.” (verse 6)  I realize, hey, it’s better to sit somewhere quiet without a whole lot, than to have everything you thought you wanted and be miserable.  Poor guy, I hope after he wrote this, he got away [from his 1,000 wives and 1,000 mother-in-laws].  “Then I returned, and I saw vanity under the sun.” (verse 7) this vanity, and it’s in regards to people that are alone, loneliness.  Loneliness is one of the plagues of our culture, and it is placed in front of us constantly by suicide, by the abuse of prescription drugs, by alcohol, heroine, loneliness is a plague in any culture.  He says here, ‘And then I looked again, I saw vanity under the sun,’ he said ‘I considered,’ that’s the idea again, and “There is one alone, and there is not a second; yea, he hath neither child nor brother:  yet is there no end of his labour; neither is his eye satisfied with riches; neither saith he, For whom do I labour, and bereave my soul for good?  This is also vanity, yea, it is a sore travail.” (verse 8) this guy’s all alone, “there’s not a second,” no companion is the idea.  “Yea, he hath neither child nor brother, yet is there no end to all of his labours.”  So he’s left alone to grind out a living, working, “neither is his eye satisfied.”  He does that, and it doesn’t satisfy the deepest place in his being with everything he works for, with riches he says, “and neither saith he” he realizes, ‘For whom do I labour?  I don’t have any kids, I don’t have any heirs, I don’t have anybody to give it to, I don’t have anybody to bless with it.  For whom do I labour? and bereave my soul of burden, why do I work like a dog, why am I even doing this? I’m alone, I’m lonely, there’s no one to share it with.’ And he says ‘This also is vanity, emptiness.  It is sore travail,’ it is painful to see someone go through a situation like this and be completely alone. 

 

Two Are Better Than One, God Didn’t Make Us To Be Lone-Rangers

 

He comes to the next thing, well this is better, “Two are better than one; because they have a good reward for their labour.” (verse 9) in our culture today you have a 50 percent chance your marriage will last more than 10 years, so two is better than one for at least ten years in our culture.  Two are better than one, because, they have a good reward for their labour, the idea is you can at least share with somebody, come home, you say ‘Work was crazy today,’ or you could say ‘I had a great time, let’s go out to dinner tonight,’ or ‘Let’s just crash,’ you know, gotta be a Hallmark movie, at least there’s something, somebody, you know.  Solomon acknowledged that.  I think maybe he wishes there were two, because there were a thousand and one in his house, he’s gonna be thinking ‘Oh wow, I wish I was back to two, me and the first one.’  Maybe he should have wrote ‘Two is better than one, and two is better than one-thousand.’  “because they have a good reward for their labour.” at least when people are together, there’s relationship, there’s sharing, there’s acknowledgment, there’s gratitude, there’s some of the wonderful things in life that belong between humans.  “For if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow:  but woe to him that is alone when he falleth; for he hath not another to help him up.” (verse 10)  it’s not good for us to be Lone Rangers in our experience, God did not design it that way.  When you get saved, you become part of the best dysfunctional family on the planet.  Before you got saved you were a part of the worst dysfunctional family on the planet, now you got saved, you’re part of the best dysfunctional family on the planet.  And God didn’t make us to be alone, you know, you look at the fruit of the Spirit, love, joy, peace, we all like that.  Don’t we?  We just don’t like longsuffering, temperance, self-control.  You have to exercise those in the Body of Christ too, because you just got all different people coming from all different backgrounds, that are in all different stages of growth.  One person comes in, in their marriage, they come in, and they’re cussing at each other.  And you talk to them, and they say ‘But we don’t punch anymore, we got saved, we only cuss now, we’re growing,’ you watch the sanctification process, you see a family healed, you see them come together.  Some of you used to do crazy stuff, I talked to somebody today, he said ‘I just want to walk with the Lord, I don’t want to do that, I don’t want to make the phone calls I used to make,’ what a good thing when that happens, because if you have even just a semblance of those relationships, you get into of the Body of Christ, somebody’s going to call, somebody’s going to get around you, say ‘How you doing?,’ going to visit you in the hospital, that’s important, Cathy and I, this is our family, this is our family.  My mom’s a believer, my sister’s a believer, but this is our family.  Something goes down, something goes wrong, we’re surrounded by people here, this is our family, we’re not meant to be alone.  So, no Lone Rangers.  I won’t tell that story, but ah, you’re building a deck and you fall down, and it’s good for somebody else to be there so you don’t have to lay there all day till somebody finds you.  One falleth, he’s going to have someone to help him up.  You know, that’s true spiritually, you fall, you sin, you compromise, you make a mistake, if you’re there with nobody else, you know who you’ll have, the devil, he’ll be your buddy, and he’ll just tell you ‘Jesus is done with you, what!? you call yourself a Christian?, and you do this!?  Are you kidding me,’ you know, we need another Christian to come alongside, we need the Holy Spirit to talk to us about God’s grace, we need to get dusted off and someone to come to help us up and get us back on our feet again.  He says “Again, if two lie together, then they have heat:  but how can one be warm alone?” (verse 11) just, you get into bed at night, cold, just a winter night, somebody’s laying next to you, there’s at least warmth.  I can think of times I have a fever or just fatigue, and get into bed and just have the chills, just the cover’s not keeping you warm.  But when there’s somebody else, another warm body, there’s another person with circulation next to you, there’s some warmth.  My wife appreciates that, because her hands are ice-cold.  Now if you have cold hands, let me tell you one of the benefits, you can make better pies, because the yeast doesn’t rise when you work the doe because your hands are cold, with hot hands you gotta expect this funky doe in your pies.  So that’s a benefit.  But not at night, because she’ll come in, and it’s like Yeow! What are you doing!?  You’re hands are cold! I just had a cardiac, don’t do that!’  That’s the idea, if two lie together, there’s heat, it’s wonderful, how can one be warm alone?  That was before electric blankets, obviously and all that stuff, so.  “And if one prevail against him,” you get in a bad situation, “two shall withstand him;” there’s always safety in that, and then I love this, it says “and a threefold cord is not quickly broken.” (verse 12)  certainly a husband or wife in Jesus, threefold cord, or two brothers and Jesus, two sisters in Christ and Jesus, that’s a threefold cord.  Cathy and I on our Wedding invitation had “A Threefold Cord Is Not Quickly Broken,” we wanted him to be the third strand, woven in with us, and he’s done that for us for 37 years.  I’ve had 37 years of great marriage, Cathy’s had 4 or 5 [laughter].  But I love the verse “a threefold cord is not quickly broken.” there’s greater strength, so he acknowledges that, rather than loneliness this is good. 

 

‘Better Is A Poor, Wise Child Than An Old Foolish Ruler’  The Vicious Cycle Of Political Rulership

 

And then he says “Better is a poor and a wise child than an old and foolish king, who will no more be admonished.” (verse 13)  He’s making these comparisons.  I wonder if he’s looking in the mirror?  “Better is a poor and wise child than an old and foolish king, who will no more be admonished.”  No doubt he had heard that from his father David.  Saul had rebelled, and Saul had become unteachable.  He wasn’t even able to listen to Samuel the prophet, and Samuel had to say ‘You know, to obey is better than sacrifice, to hearken is better than the fat of rams…rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is like idolatry.’  And Saul had come to the point where he was unteachable.  And yet there was a youth, 15, 16 however old he was, taking care of the sheep in his father Jesse’s field, who was going to slay the giant, he was going to come and turn the tide of the nation, the king who understood.  So he says, Solomon, no doubt he believes this, he had learned this, ‘Better is a poor and wise child, because that child is at least learning, he’s advancing, he’s poor, but he’s wise.  He’s better off than an old and foolish king,’ and I’m wondering if he’s thinking about himself, as he says that, fame kind of fades away.  He said that old and foolish king, who will no more be admonished, he’s unteachable, you can’t say anything to him anymore. “For out of prison he cometh also he that is born to reign; whereas also he that is born in his kingdom becometh poor.” (verse 14) this young and poor, poor and wise child come out of that oppression which we had just talked about earlier.  He says he’s come to reign, “whereas also he that is born in his kingdom becometh poor.” (verse 14b) so he says ‘I see this young, wise child, with all kinds of potential, and he rises through time, because he’s able to learn instruction, rather than this old foolish king, and then when he inherits the kingdom, in his own kingdom, it says, there’s going to be poor people there.’  Even Jesus said “The poor you have with you always.” he’d say that.  Man’s inhumanity to man is never going to straighten that out.  He said “I considered all the living which walk under the sun, with the second child that shall stand up in his stead.” ‘in the king’s place (verse 15) “the second child” this young child.  And he says There is no end of all the people, even of all that have been before them:  they also that come after shall not rejoice in him.  Surely this also is vanity and vexation of spirit.” (verse 16)  this foolish king and this young child, there’s no end, there was a whole line of people before them, “they also that come after shall not rejoice in him.” the young one whose come and taken the throne to do a better job than the old king that you couldn’t talk to, because he, the younger one, was able to receive instruction, they’re going to say ‘he’s going to get old and pigheaded like the king that was in front of him, and then he who comes after him, you’re not going to be happy with him, even though people were originally happy with him because the old foolish king that was before him.’  You have all of this, you’re getting depressed listening to it, I understand.  He says “Surely this also is vanity and vexation of spirit.” 

 

In Summation

 

So, Solomon in a place, exercised, wisest man that’s ever lived with some of these things, and I’m thankful that he takes note of the fact that there is a purpose, we see, under heaven.  It seems futile, it seems fatalistic, but he finally says ‘But God allows men to be exercised by these things, life and death, planting and reaping, laughing and sorrow, peace and war, hatred and love, you know, the things that pass over our lives,’ he says, ‘I realize that God exercises men, and eventually God does make all things beautiful in their season, he knows how to do that, and with men, he does put eternity in their hearts, and without that, we have no sense of what’s really going on, we’re just animals.’  If there’s no eternity, no eternal life, if there isn’t a bigger picture, then what’s it all about, Alfie?  What’s the point of it all?  cum se, cum sa, and you’re a fatalist.  But it there’s someone standing outside of time, whose orchestrating, whose involved, and again, David had a much greater sense of it, ‘The LORD is my shepherd,’ it was just remarkable, he had been a shepherd for many years.  Solomon says ‘I see that,’ you know, you look around, you see the institutions of men, and you can be frustrated, he said look at the judicial system.  Are we listening to him?  He said if you have another…the judicial systems will be corrupt.  If you haven’t noticed, religious systems around you, they’re supposed to be righteous, they’re going to be corrupt.  And he says you look at all these things, and you think ‘What in the world is the point of it all?’  And as you look at that, then you see, well if this is just all rolling out, and there isn’t anything good in the judicial system, or a religious system, and man has nothing else, man’s got no benefit over a beast, they both live, they both die, both eat, they both turn to dust when they’re gone.  What in the world is the difference?  And sadly, there’s a huge part of our culture that’s taken that place.  But when he comes to the end of all that, he says ‘You know what, we can enjoy the fruit of our labour, we should do that, that’s our portion.’  Then sadly, he says, ‘Because we have no idea what’s coming down the road.’  You and I know exactly what’s coming down the road, in fact, we know exactly Who is coming down the road.  And then he moves on, he says ‘you labour, you work, you’re skillful, you build a business, and then everybody else gripes about it, ‘That ain’t fair,’ they’re envious, ‘Rich people, they’re controlling everything’ [and to an extent, they are, capitalism is and has always been mean and out of control in man’s world, but Jesus will set that one straight when he returns].’  No, this is a country where you can do that, work hard, it produces something.  And then he says ‘And then the guy whose alone, he works hard, he starts to get wealth, he realizes, what’s the point, I’m miserable, I’m alone, I got nobody to share it with,’ he says ‘at least if you have somebody, two is better than one, you can share something, even if you don’t have much to share, can split a burger, split some fries, he said if you fall down, somebody is there to call 911, help you up.  And even if a lot of other things aren’t going good, at least the bed’s warmer with two people in it next to each other, that’s a good thing, he says.  And he says, in the final analysis, a threefold chord, that’s not quickly broken.  But you look at the kingdoms of men, a guy comes, somewhere while he’s on the throne, there’s a child, poor but wise, and growing, he’s going to end up usurping the old king who becomes pigheaded and won’t listen to anybody anymore.’  And he said, ‘That young king, when he takes the place of the old king, he’s going to have somebody in his kingdom that’s going to be poor, and he was a poor person, he should have straightened all that out, but even in his kingdom the same thing is going to repeat itself.  And then he says, then those who were before those guys, and those who come after, are going to see the same thing.’  He says, ‘You know what?  This is really frustrating.’ that’s how he ends chapter 4, this is really frustrating.  Read ahead, it’s encouraging, isn’t it?  Read ahead, there’s so much more frustration ahead of us, it’s wonderful.  But God, he sets the stage with these things, because when he's done this, vanity of vanities, then he goes to the Song of Songs.  And he says the joy that wine can never bring, he goes on to say, there is a love that takes place between God and his people, and it sets the contrast, in a very, very remarkable way.  So, we need to get way down, so we can get way up in the next book, so read ahead, and let’s stand, let’s pray…[transcript of a connective expository sermon on Ecclesiastes 3:1-22 and Ecclesiastes 4:1-16, given by Pastor Joe Focht, Calvary Chapel of Philadelphia, 13500 Philmont Avenue, Philadelphia, PA  19116]

 

related link:

 

What is “the spirit of man” which goeth upward upon a person’s death?  for some answers, see:

https://unityinchrist.com/plaintruth/battle.htm

 

Solomon observed the oppression, what’s going on in the world.  Nothing’s changed.  see https://unityinchrist.com/topical%20studies/America-ModernRomans1.htm and read through that whole series.  Also see https://unityinchrist.com/Why%20Poverty%20and%20Starvation%20In%20Latin%20America.html

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