Ecclesiastes 11:  Making the Best of a Meaningless Life

As you do not know what is the way of the wind, Or how the bones grow in the womb of her who is with child, So you do not know the works of God who makes everything. Ecclesiastes 11:5


 

Cynicism?  Viewed as defensive ethics, Qoheleth’s precepts seems somewhat cynical.  They are.  He confidently began a search for life’s meaning, relying on his own reason and powers of observation.  The more he applied himself the more meaningless life seemed to be.  Rather than turn then to God, our writer accepted his own conclusions as truth.  And then this disappointed man worked out his own system of protective ethics, intended to help him make the best of a meaningless life.

All who reason limiting themselves to the same resources used by Solomon will reach the same conclusion.  Rather than experience life as an adventure, they draw back and seek to protect themselves.  But the person who knows God and counts on His promises is free.  For us life can be vital and exciting, and we can commit ourselves to carry out God’s will.

Prepare for the future:  11:1-6.  Though you cannot control it.

Enjoy your youth:  11:7-12:8. For old age and death soon come.  Then all will be proven to be utterly meaningless.


11:1-2 On thinking ahead.  Be prepared.  Spread a little bread around, so when you need help it will be there.

1  Cast your bread upon the waters, For you will find it after many days. 2  Give a serving to seven, and also to eight, For you do not know what evil will be on the earth.

11:4 On hesitation.  If you wait for conditions to be ideal, you’ll never act.  It’s just as foolish never to act, as to act rashly.

 4  He who observes the wind will not sow, And he who regards the clouds will not reap.

11:5 On overconfidence.  Don’t ever think you’ve got a foolproof plan.  You don’t understand the processes of nature.  What makes you think you can predict how God will act?

 5  As you do not know what is the way of the wind, Or how the bones grow in the womb of her who is with child, So you do not know the works of God who makes everything.

11:6 On prudence.  Don’t put all your eggs in one basket.  There’s no guarantee what you’re counting on will ever work out.  Always be working on at least two projects, and at least one of them may pan out.

6   In the morning sow your seed, And in the evening do not withhold your hand; For you do not know which will prosper, Either this or that, Or whether both alike will be good.


** There are old young people who continue to be vigorous and bear fruit (e.g. Charles Stanley, John MacArthur) and young old people who live like they are ready to die tomorrow.  What a difference it makes when we choose to look up and embrace the unperishable life God offers to us.  No meaning to our life without it.


11 1  Cast your bread upon the waters, For you will find it after many days. 2  Give a serving to seven, and also to eight, For you do not know what evil will be on the earth. 3  If the clouds are full of rain, They empty themselves upon the earth; And if a tree falls to the south or the north, In the place where the tree falls, there it shall lie. 4  He who observes the wind will not sow, And he who regards the clouds will not reap. 5  As you do not know what is the way of the wind, Or how the bones grow in the womb of her who is with child, So you do not know the works of God who makes everything. 6  In the morning sow your seed, And in the evening do not withhold your hand; For you do not know which will prosper, Either this or that, Or whether both alike will be good.

7  Truly the light is sweet, And it is pleasant for the eyes to behold the sun; 8  But if a man lives many years And rejoices in them all, Yet let him remember the days of darkness, For they will be many. All that is coming is vanity.

Advice to the Young

9  Rejoice, O young man, in your youth, And let your heart cheer you in the days of your youth; Walk in the ways of your heart, And in the sight of your eyes; But know that for all these God will bring you into judgment. 10  Therefore remove sorrow from your heart, And put away evil from your flesh, For childhood and youth are vanity.

 

 

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