Ecclesiastes 3 (web)

God's Toys

God's Timing

3:1 For everything there is a season, and a time for every purpose under heaven:
3:2 A time to be born, And a time to die;
A time to plant, And a time to pluck up that which is planted;
3:3 A time to kill, And a time to heal;
A time to break down, And a time to build up;
3:4 A time to weep, And a time to laugh;
A time to mourn, And a time to dance;
3:5 A time to cast away stones, And a time to gather stones together;
A time to embrace, And a time to refrain from embracing;
3:6 A time to seek, And a time to lose;
A time to keep, And a time to cast away;
3:7 A time to tear, And a time to sew;
A time to keep silence, And a time to speak;
3:8 A time to love, And a time to hate;
A time for war, And a time for peace.

Man's Earthly Mind from God

3:9 What profit has he who works in that in which he labors?
3:10 I have seen the burden which God has given to the sons of men to be afflicted with.
3:11 He has made everything beautiful in its time.
He has also set eternity in their hearts,
yet so that man can't find out the work that God has done from the beginning even to the end.

Enjoy and do Good

3:12 I know that there is nothing better for them than to rejoice, and to do good as long as they live.
3:13 Also that every man should eat and drink, and enjoy good in all his labor, is the gift of God.

God's Sovereignty

3:14 I know that whatever God does, it shall be forever.
Nothing can be added to it, nor anything taken from it;
and God has done it, that men should fear before him.
3:15 That which is has been long ago,
and that which is to be has been long ago:
and God seeks again that which is passed away.

God's future Judgement

3:16 Moreover I saw under the sun, in the place of justice,
that wickedness was there; and in the place of righteousness, that wickedness was there.
3:17 I said in my heart, "God will judge the righteous and the wicked;
for there is a time there for every purpose and for every work."

Man is Mortal

3:18 I said in my heart, "As for the sons of men, God tests them,
so that they may see that they themselves are like animals.
3:19 For that which happens to the sons of men happens to animals.
Even one thing happens to them. As the one dies, so the other dies.
Yes, they have all one breath; and man has no advantage over the animals: for all is vanity.
3:20 All go to one place. All are from the dust, and all turn to dust again.
3:21 Who knows the spirit of man, whether it goes upward,
and the spirit of the animal, whether it goes downward to the earth?"

3:22 Therefore I saw that there is nothing better, than that a man should rejoice in his works;
for that is his portion: for who can bring him to see what will be after him?


In God's sovereign plan he has His own timing of things. There's a time for this and a time for just the opposite. People forget they're going to die because God has put eternity in their hearts. Therefore they put their hopes on their secular life. But to enjoy life is the gift of God. There is nothing better than to rejoice and do good. But it is God's work which is eternal, not man's. Though there is injustice on the earth, yet there will be a judgment to come in God's time. Everyone's going to die. Man's fate is like that of animals. So don't take your achievements and failures so seriously.


Contrast the "eat, drink and be merry" idea with the parable of the Rich fool. Notice what follows the parable of Luke 12. Jesus continues, "Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear. ... But seek his kingdom" The rich fool worked towards and earthly retirement but was not rich towards God. But Jesus taught not to be overly concerned or set our hearts on earthly things, but rather to seek true and eternal rewards. In doing so we will also find contentment in the earthly things which God has provided. But those who set their hearts on earthly fulfillment never have enough and so are never content. That is irony.

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