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road June 9 Chronological Bible Study

Timeline. Map. Go to today’s Bible reading: Ecclesiastes 7, 8, 9, 10

Consider Your Destiny

Many in America are taking vacations this summer. Their destiny might be New York City, the Alpine Mountains, California beaches, or any place on this earth. Other kinds of destinies might be future plans or careers. What about eternal destinies; do we know where we are going? In one of his books of wisdom King Solomon declares,

All share a common destiny-- the righteous and the wicked, the good and the bad, the clean and the unclean, those who offer sacrifices and those who do not. As it is with the good man, so with the sinner; as it is with those who take oaths, so with those who are afraid to take them.

This is the evil in everything that happens under the sun: The same destiny overtakes all. The hearts of men, moreover, are full of evil and there is madness in their hearts while they live, and afterward they join the dead. (Ecclesiastes 9:2-3, NIV)

That is a very depressing thought, isn’t it? King Solomon wrote this book with a regretful heart. He made many mistakes by disobeying the LORD (Deuteronomy 17:16-20). For these sins God allowed adversaries to threaten his peaceful kingdom, and his kingdom would be split when his son, Rehoboam, would reign. Rehoboam would be left with only one major tribe to rule (1Kings 11:11-13). King Solomon was depressed and had a worldly perspective, instructing us from his empirical knowledge of life. In today’s reading, Solomon shares his life lessons with us. If all share a common destiny (i.e., death), what can be done that might be worthwhile?

First of all, Solomon tells us we must consider the brevity of life, for “death is the destiny of every man and the living should take this to heart,” (Ecclesiastes 7:2, NIV). We only have a limited time here on this earth, so we should be careful how we spend it. Funerals make us think about these things (more…).

Second,

Wisdom, like an inheritance, is a good thing and benefits those who see the sun. Wisdom is a shelter as money is a shelter, but the advantage of knowledge is this: that wisdom preserves the life of its possessor. (Ecclesiastes 7:11-12, NIV)

Where do we find wisdom? A lot of us may seek it in a library or by listening to a philosopher, but true wisdom is from God. We find it when we recognize we don’t have it in ourselves, and we sense that man does not have it either. We are all foolish and wicked and need a savior from our sin. Even Solomon recognized this (Ecclesiastes 9:3). When we accept Christ’s death on the cross in payment for our sins and believe he was resurrected from the dead to give us new life, we have access to the wisdom of God (1Corinthians 1:30; James 1:5). “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and discipline,” (Proverbs 1:7, NIV). Solomon further says,

I know that it will go better with God-fearing men, who are reverent before God. Yet because the wicked do not fear God, it will not go well with them, and their days will not lengthen like a shadow. (Ecclesiastes 8:12b-13, NIV)

Those who are reverent in the way they live and who act with wisdom usually have better results than those who are foolish and wicked .Those who are foolish and wicked may even die for their rebellion against God and other authorities.

Still, we cannot know the future; its understanding is beyond comprehension. We must trust the LORD, whether our circumstances are good or bad, knowing that he is in control and will hold all of us accountable, including those who perpetrate evil.

Third, in spite of our common destiny and the evil and injustice that is in the world, King Solomon counsels us to

Go, eat your food with gladness, and drink your wine with a joyful heart, for it is now that God favors what you do. Always be clothed in white, and always anoint your head with oil. Enjoy life with your wife, whom you love, all the days of this meaningless life that God has given you under the sun-- all your meaningless days. For this is your lot in life and in your toilsome labor under the sun. Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might, for in the grave, where you are going, there is neither working nor planning nor knowledge nor wisdom. (Ecclesiastes 9:7-10, NIV)

An anonymous hymn has been written. The chorus says,

Only one life
So soon it will pass
Only what's done for Christ will last
Only one chance to do His will
So give to Jesus all you days
It's the only life that pays
When you recall
You have but one life (Hymnlyrics.org)

Though Solomon knew nothing of Christ, the sentiment of Ecclesiastes 9:10 is the same; we only have one life on this earth, so it is important how we spend it. We should not act like fools (chapter 10); we should enjoy the life the LORD has given and do as much good as we can while on this earth. A New Testament writer encourages us that

God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them, knowing that later our deeds will be remembered (Hebrews 6:10, NIV).

Lessons to live by: In considering our destiny

  • We must consider the brevity of life, for “death is the destiny of every man and the living should take this to heart,” (Ecclesiastes 7:2, NIV). We only have a limited time here on this earth, so we should be careful how we spend it.
  • Live a life of wisdom. True wisdom and eternal life comes from God. Wisdom is a shelter and it preserves the life of its possessors. Things usually fare better for those who live in the fear of the LORD; obey and respect authorities, and act with wisdom.
  • We do not know our future on this earth. We must trust the LORD, whether our circumstances are good or bad, knowing that he is in control and will hold all of us accountable, including those who perpetrate evil.
  • Let us not act like fools and waste our lives. We should enjoy the life the LORD has given and do as much good as we can while on this earth, knowing that our labors for the LORD will not be forgotten.

Today’s Bible memory verse:

Ecclesiastes 9:12b “I know that it will go better with God-fearing men, who are reverent before God.” (NIV)

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