Ecclesiastes 4, what about God’s plan now?
April 30, 2012, 12:45 am
Filed under: Searching for our Savior in His book

In Ecclesiastes 3, Solomon the Seeker, declared God has a wonderful plan for each of our lives. That plan includes everything we need, the painful as well as the pleasant. God’s choices for our lives, both the painful and pleasant, come because God loves us and knows exactly what we need to fulfill His plan. Once we learn this, we find three truths that God reveals to us. First, since pleasant and painful come from God, we can enjoy all of life as the loving actions of our loving God who never can do evil. Second, through these experiences, we can learn to know God. Our knowledge will produce a deeper relationship with God. He has put within us the sense of eternity that can only be filled by an authentic relationship with God. The third truth is that we will repeat this until we learn the first two truths.

Immediately after presenting these truths, God allows Solomon to present four frequently presented objections that appear to contradict these truths. The first is in chapter 3, and deals with the injustice in the place of justice, the courts and judicial systems of man. If God has this wonderful plan, why is life so unfair? Two things are presented for us to consider: remember the final court is God’s court, during which He will make all things fair and second, the fact that life is unfair reveals our beastly quality of viciousness and our temporary existence.

The Holy Spirit, through Paul’s statement in 2 Timothy 3:16, teaches us that every part of revelation breathed out by God is advantageous to us. From God’s word, we are taught, reproved, corrected and instructed how to live right. So in looking at Ecclesiastes 4, what are we taught, what are we to stop, what are we to do, and how are we to live? In chapter 4, Solomon gives three objections to the concept that God has a wonderful plan for our lives. The first is seen in verses 1 to 3, oppression in society. Oppression usually preys on those who can’t defend themselves against stronger and more powerful foes. These helpless and weak often are driven to tears because there is no comfort for them, UNDER THE SUN!. Because of oppressors, Solomon tells us that those dead are better off than the living, but the very best condition is to have never been born. What do we learn? Oppression exists and is an event that we have to deal with it. However, unlike those who live under the sun, we have a Comforter! As Christians, when we surrender to Christ’s control, we can be instruments of comfort to those who are undergoing the suffering and misery of helplessness in face of oppression. As far as reproof goes, we need to turn to our Comforter when faced with oppression, instead of attempting to handle it on our own. We also need to examine ourselves. Are there those who we oppress? Finally, be a voice for those oppressed. Get involved in helping the oppressed.

The second objection is found in verses 4-12. Solomon looks at the concept that enjoyment is not man’s greatest motivating factor. He states the belief that envy and ambition really are a stronger motivating passion. We are motivated by the desire to be the center of attention rather than to do all to the glory of God, including serving others. This attitude results in a spirit of rivalry. This spirit of rivalry keeps us from being happy with our success and achievements as well as being happy with the success and achievements of others. In verses 5-6, we see that this desire to be the center of attention creates within us a sense of entitlement. We read the words, “eateth his own flesh”, indicates this sense of entitlement which when unfulfilled both produces a spirit of bitterness, which leads to a psychosomatic mess and produces a spirit of hopeless, which causes a “fool” (one living apart from God) to give up trying to do what God created them to do. When man attempts to be the center of attention it keeps us from fellowshipping with others. Loneliness is a paralysis in our heart, because we seek material wealth rather than the spiritual riches God has for us. In verses 9-12, we see the importance of developing relationships with others. This commitment to others will result in help when we stumble, need to be warmed, or are on the verge of being overcome. Yet man is still not fulfilled, because we have within us, an emptiness that only God can fulfill, a desire for eternity. So what do we learn? Check our motives. Why do we do what we do? If it is for any reason other than the glory of God, then it is wrong. Second, make sure that you aren’t trying to outdo others. Third, what do you think you deserve? What do your good deeds and thoughts earn you? Truth is, nothing. We aren’t blessed of God because we have rubbed Him the right way. Remember, the times of our lives are a part of the plan God has for us. He wants the best for us, but His best may be different than ours. He blesses us because of grace, not entitlement. We also learn the importance of our relationship with Christ and with our Christian brothers and sisters. We stumble, get cold spiritual, and are at times overcome. Submitting and surrendering to the control of the Holy Spirit provides the comfort (the one who stands beside us so He can help us through the trials of life) and the power of living a Christian life. He protects with the armor of God. He also has Christian friends who love and support us in the journey we are on. We aren’t an island but a part of the continent, a piece of the main.

The final objection is that living a long life does not always guarantee that one will learn the secrets of enjoyment. We believe that as you live longer, you learn wisdom. True wisdom is seeing life from God’s point of view. From God’s perspective, you learn that enjoyment is a gift of God. But Solomon asserts that long life is not a guarantee that wisdom is attained. Solomon maintains that a wise youth is better that an old, foolish king who had the kingdom passed down to him. Age had not made him wiser, just headstrong and convinced that everything he wants to do is right. Yet even a king that went from prison to the throne room can forget the lessons he has learned UNDER THE SUN. The young man went through the same difficulties, won popularity and the success and power that comes with it. He had the example of the failure of his predecessor, yet repeated the same mistakes and as a result lost the respect of others. At the end, all that remains, is vanity, an empty vapor in the wind. What have you learn through the experiences God has allow you to go? Have you developed a sense of total dependence upon Him, because you realize that in and of yourself, you can do nothing? Trusting in the Lord involves a total commitment to Him and His ways. God is not like K & W where you pick and choose. We are either totally surrendered or we are in a stage of rebellion. My struggle is with total surrender. I often want to help God accomplish His will in my life. God doesn’t need my help or does He want it. I am the servant and instrument that He uses however He wants. Every good thing I have in life is because of the grace of God, not my work ethic or achievement. I need to remember this to stay empowered by Him.

  1. Is the driving motive of my work to be seen and recognized?
  2. To what degree are admiration and ambition a driving force behind our activity in life?
  3. Do we need to redirect our motivation & resources to invest in things that matter?
  4. What part does teamwork play in our ministry?
  5. In what areas of your life do you attempt apart from God?
  6. Who are your closest friends that advise you in times of troubles and in decisions? What is their relationship with Christ?
  7. Name three rights you have?

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