The Hand of God, Ecc 9:1-10

The verses in Ecc 9:1-10 read like thoughts that occurred through a long period of observation and meditation upon life down here under the sun and God’s involvement in these things.  We call this lesson The Hand of God, Life, Joy, and Diligence.

A declaration concerning three things (v.1-3):

The hand of God, v.1.  2 Chr 30:12 the hand of God was involved in Hezekiah’s passover.  God is very active in his creation.  In Matt 10:29, A sparrow doesn’t fall on the ground without the Father.  Yet, in Job 2:10, Job asked, “shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil”?  Look how good God was to Naomi and she thought the hand of the Lord had gone out against her.

That’s why they don’t know either love or hatred by all that is before them (the righteous and the wise).  We know that God hates the wicked, Ps 5.  But some wicked are as blessed and rich as the Old Testament saints were, Ps 73.  They can’t tell by how good they have it that God hates them.  They cross themselves and thank God for blessing them.  Likewise, God loves his children.  Yet, some of us go through some hard things that you wouldn’t expect God to put you through.  He doesn’t hate you.

If Solomon hadn’t written this or if you didn’t know Rom 8:28, for example, you wouldn’t know God’s love by how the events unfold in your life.  One missionary’s wife gets cancer and gets healed.  The next one goes through a long period of treatments.  The third dies within a month.  Was one loved?  Was one hated?  You’re going to have to trust God with this because they are in the hand of God and that’s all you know.  Same goes for us.

The circumstances of life, v.2.  All things come alike to all.  Matt 5:45, God sends rain on the just and the unjust.  Acts 17:25, God gives life and breath to all.  In 1 Pet 5:9 we go through the same afflictions the world goes through.  It doesn’t make any difference if you’re righteous or wicked.  We must realize that “life happens” to us, as well.  And “all” can be saved; Jesus died for all.  And one event happens to us all… death.

The heart of man, v.3.  Their hearts are full of evil, Mk 7.  Madness is in their heart.  Solomon, who wrote this, turned away from God to serve the idols of his wives.  Sheer madness.  His father, David, to whom God had given everything, conceived with Bathsheba and killed her husband, 2 Sam 12:7-9.  Evil, madness.  We have to understand this is we.   We’re just the same.

An instruction to the living (v.4-6)

As long as you’re breathing there is still hope.  The thief on the cross is a perfect example.  So is Manasseh, 2 Chr 33:11-19.   When you’re dead you have no more portion for ever under the sun.  Dr. Ruckman made an interesting observation about “neither have they any more a reward”.  He said, Give while your alive. It doesn’t count for a reward when you give from your estate after you’re gone.

Also, concerning v.5, “the dead know not anything”, that is, under the sun.  We see from Lk 16 that the rich man in hell knew plenty; he just no longer knew anything about what was going on up here on the earth under the sun.

An appeal to joy (v.7-9)

Eat with joy and drink with a merry heart, Ecc 2:24-26.

(God NOW accepted thy works, v.1).  Having food and raiment let us therewith be content.  We can rejoice with these provisions.

Wash your garments and anoint your head, Matt 6:16-18.  You’re not a victim; don’t throw a pity party.  We joy in affliction, 2 Cor 8, 1 Pet 1.

Live joyfully with your wife, Prov 5:19-21.  Our command is to rejoice evermore, 1 Thes 5:16.  If anyone should be able to always rejoice, we should.

aAn exhortation to diligence (v.10)

Do what you do with all your might

Work – Get it done now.  Don’t procrastinate.  Check off your “bucket list”.

Device – Prov 19:21. If you don’t make your plan and provide to get it done, it is just a wish, a dream.

Knowledge – accumulate the knowledge you need here, don’t be lazy.

Wisdom – your wisdom will do you no good in the grave.  Most people today are filled with trivia and knowledge (experts in this stuff) that is of no value today.

Sometimes, as Christians, we lean too heavily on “we’ll understand it all by and by”.  And so we do nothing now.  There are souls going to hell and you ought to do, with all your might, what you can with your work, knowledge and wisdom (he that winneth souls is wise) to devise ways to reach them.

To study the previous lesson, see A Man Cannot Find Out the Work. To study the next lesson, see Time, Chance, and Wisdom.