Text: Ecclesiastes 3:16 – 4:6
First of all, the final judgment isn’t now (vss 16-17)
- Part of vanity is the corruption in places where righteousness is expected.
- For some people, this makes them mad at God. And the LORD gets blamed for his inactivity.
- Solomon will also say that right work is persecuted in this world in 4:1-3. So much so that men are better off if they never see that side of life. The injustice makes men worse.
- It is a faithful work to trust that God will right the wrongs. And a faithful work to trust the LORD without getting mad at Him for what you believe is His lack of care.
- But as with any judgment, there is a trial date set. That happens when the judge is ready to try the case. And since the judge is weighing men’s lives, the trial isn’t over until all the work has been done and death ends the life.
- Hebrews 9:27 it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:
- 1 Corinthians 4:5 Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord come, who both will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts…
Death brings an end to your divine court record (vss 18-21)
- Solomon wants man to see himself as he is. If man has this perspective of his life, then wisdom will result.
- Psalm 90:12 Moses said, teach us to number our days so we can apply ourselves to wisdom.
- This flesh, just as the flesh of animals, returns to dust. And everything becomes a part of the ground that it came from. The creatures were subject to vanity, not willingly though.
- And as far as mankind goes, In Adam all die. The part of you and me that is in Adam dies.
- Now, as morbid as all that is, it gives a person an advantage in this life to live with death and judgment in view. You take for instance the parable of the prosperous man. Luke 12:16-20 And he spake a parable unto them, saying, The ground of a certain rich man brought forth plentifully: 17 And he thought within himself, saying, What shall I do, because I have no room where to bestow my fruits? 18 And he said, This will I do: I will pull down my barns, and build greater; and there will I bestow all my fruits and my goods. 19 And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry. 20 But God said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided?
Godliness with contentment one more time (vs 22)
- In verse 22 Solomon reminds his audience of one of his conclusions for the third time.
- Man should enjoy the life he can produce for himself. No one else will enjoy it like him. He won’t be able to enjoy it when he’s dead.
- 1 Timothy 6:6-10 But godliness with contentment is great gain. 7 For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. 8 And having food and raiment let us be therewith content. 9 But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition. 10 For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.
- Hebrews 13:5 Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have…
Right work faces more opposition than evil (4:4-6)
- In 4:4 Solomon points out that someone laboring to do good is generally met with envy and malicious intent. Instead of people being happy for him and maybe trying to follow that good path, people accuse and hate.
- Jesus Christ is a prime example of this. Pilate knew that Jesus Christ had been delivered to him as a criminal only because the hypocrites envied Jesus.
- And in verse 4:7, because the final judgment hasn’t happened yet, the very good thought is presented that much of life is reduced to the lesser of two evils. We can’t deal with what’s best, so we must deal with what is the better of two options. An incredibly profound thought that is. It’s better if you don’t have much, but you do have contentment and quietness than if your house is full of stuff and full of fighting.