Ecclesiastes 3 Commentary
Verses 1 to 8 answer the question that the teacher poses in verse 9: “What do workers gain from their toil?”
Indeed, what do workers gain from their toil? There is a time for everything, regardless of what you do. In chapter 2, the teacher lamented the sad fact of death for both the righteous and the wicked. In this chapter, he has expanded the list of events and activities that always happen regardless of human effort.
But fools humans are. We always try to straighten what we cannot straighten. This is man’s occupation handed down from above.
The scripture is pouring scorn on human effort in the statement that there is a time for everything. The things about which we pray so fervently are actually things that we cannot straighten. By design, a man is born. Again, by design, a man must die. The timing of these events is totally out of men’s control.
Yet the LORD makes all things beautiful in its time. The saint is reminded of Romans 8, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”
But who can fathom what the LORD has done from beginning to end? Who can understand that the LORD has set eternity in the hearts of men? Why do we want to live forever? Why are we obsessed with preservation? Who sits down to see that all this is from the LORD God?
This rigid design, what for?
The LORD “does it so that people will fear Him.” The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom.
And so it remains, whatever is has already been, and what will be has been before. We are not independent of the past, or the past defines the future. Or, what the LORD said or did defines what happens. God calls back the past.
There is a time for judgment. The LORD will draw a line between righteousness and wickedness. It is an event rigidly defined in the same manner as birth and death.
Then the teacher hints at the fact that death is just one of the events. It’s not exactly the end. It is an event in the life of God’s creation. Just like time happens to both humans and animals, death happens to both. There should be more beyond the grave. But it remains a black box
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