What God Has Done

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What God Has Done

Sermon by  Thomas Thornhill Jr

Passage: Ecclesiastes 3:9-15




In our last 2 lessons on this book in which Solomon searches for the meaning of life, we noted one of the   most well-known passages from this book – that there is a time and/or season for everything.     In this lesson, we find some of the results of understanding these things.

Clearly, this is not everything God has done, but we find in this text some things God has done where our pursuit for meaning is concerned.   Recall how in Solomon’s pursuit, God was NOT in the picture.   Now we find Him there and it changes one’s perspective.

  1.   What profit has the worker from his labors? (3:9-10)
    1. This was stated very early in this text – 1:3 & 2:22, in addressing these texts we noted the futility of one laboring. And certainly there are situations where we might wonder about how profitable our work is. There are many whose occupations are miserable to them, or even inadequate. For many it is merely about worldly pursuits and it is never enough.   We have seen the vanity in all these things.
    2. Here it is repeated, BUT with a different perspective – with a view toward God.
      1. Vs. 10 notes, “I have seen the God-given task with which the sons of men are to be occupied.” Notice in this the expectations of men.
      2. While INCREASED labor was a part of God’s curse to man (Genesis 3:17-19), labor has ALWAYS been expected and a part of life.
      3. We are made to be busy!   Even prior to the curse Adam had a job (Genesis 2:15, 19-20)
        And we are reminded that we are expected to keep working – 2 Thessalonians 3:10-12, Ephesians 4:28, etc.     Add to this the numerous Proverbs BY Solomon that address sloth, and other principles of labor.
      4. And there are blessings to be associated with good labor – we are productive (cf. Ecclesiastes 5:12), we feel good about ourselves, we provide for our own, we are often able to benevolently help others, we are able to support the Lord’s work, etc.
    3. LESSON: If you are able, do you need to be working? YES!   But what that work means to you is about perspective!   You can choose to be grateful or miserable.   You can choose to do our best or very little.   Choose as God would have you to choose (Ecclesiastes 9:10).
  2.   He has everything beautiful in its time (3:11)
    1. The NASB uses the word “appropriate”.   The word is best defined as proper.
    2. The point, God has made this world to work! By that I mean, I WORKS!
    3. There are things that while we are engaged in the activity, it seems frustrating, discouraging or perhaps pointless – especially a large task that seems never-ending.   BUT, when finished and we look back, we can see purpose and accomplishment.
      ALSO think about the previous 8 verses – a season for everything – sometimes “this” is the right thing to do, and at others “that” is the right thing.   When done at the right time, there is harmony.
    4. Another observation – we see the results of God’s work all around us in His creation – Psalm 19:1 – the heavens declare His glory;  Psalm 8:3-4, When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, The moon and the stars, which You have ordained, What is man that You are mindful of him, And the son of man that You visit him?
      When we begin to look at this world and the way it works (as it OUGHT to be working) we can see His beauty all around us!   Truly He created all things to be “appropriate”.
  3. He has put eternity in their hearts
    1. This is another powerful statement. This gives our life purpose. We have a desire to continue on (as a rule – unless the philosophies and actions of men ROB you that inborn sense).
    2. This is a statement that makes a case for God. Why does man think about eternity?   Why does he seek to preserve his life?   This is something that naturalism CANNOT begin to explain.   I believe it is something related to how we are made in the image of God (Genesis 1:26-27)
    3. Though no one can find out the work that God does from beginning to end.
      This has been both negatively and positively considered.   Some view the sense of eternity with frustration (the pursuits of this life only) and thus they are bitter because they cannot find life’s true meaning.
      OTHERS, (and I believe the proper view) see it positively – our sense of eternity gives us purpose, and reason.   Especially when we are dealing with the frustrating and seemingly hopeless, when we are dealing with a situation where we need to do what we don’t WANT to do, or what is unnatural (from the world’s perspective).
  4.   There is nothing better for a man than: (12-13)
    1. Solomon begins by observing, “I know” – he’s experienced it!   He knows the goodness of God and purpose in life (with God).   He then gives us 3 REASONS labor is good.
    2. Nothing is better for man than to rejoiceagain this goes back to perspective. You attitude determines. We are constantly reminded as Christians to rejoice – Philippians 4:4, Matthew 5:12 – even in tribulations and persecutions.
    3. To do good in their lives – you can be the hardest worker in the world and amass the greatest wealth, but if you don’t share – you will be miserable. Again, Ephesians 4:28 – work to have some to give; Acts 20:35 Jesus spoke of how it is more blessed to give than to receive; Hebrews 13:16 – do not forget to do good and share…; Even Ephesians 2:10 – created for good works.
      To have resources to share with others – WHAT a blessing!
    4. To eat and drink and enjoy the good of all his labor
      This will be a recurring theme throughout this book. If we have the resources to enjoy a good life, we should NOT feel guilty about that. We are living in times where the successful are made to feel guilty because there’s someone “less fortunate” than them.   This is NOT a good attitude – for either side.
      It is the wealthy who have the greater resources   and ability to help others, provide jobs, make their communities better, etc. The only problem is when we ARE selfish, greedy, prideful, wicked and uncaring.   But even then, it is a heart problem that no amount of money -OR lack thereof will solve.
    5. It is a gift from God – enjoy what you have and be thankful. Every good and perfect gift… James 1:17; 1 Timothy 4:4 – For every creature of God is good, and nothing is to be refused if it is received with thanksgiving;
  5.   Whatever God does,… (14)
    1. Again, Solomon begins with, “I know”. He then lists several qualities about the works of God.
    2. It shall be forever (14) – what God does is permanent. We cannot defeat His plan. Psalm 119:89 – Forever, O Lord, Your word is settled in heaven.  1 Peter 1:25 – the word of the Lord endures forever
    3. Nothing added to it or taken from it.   What he does is effective and complete.   When God finished the creation, “He saw that it was good…” (Genesis 1:31). Again, James 1:17 – every good and perfect gift comes from above…with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.
      This is WHY we must not add to, nor take away from His word – 2 Timothy 3:16-17 – we are complete with it; Revelation 22:18-19, Galatians 1:8-9, etc.
    4. God does it that men should fear Him – what He does is purposeful.   He desires that we reverence him.  God created this world, so that when man, or even a society, reverences Him, all things work out better.     Far too many of our troubles are the result of our ingratitude and rebellion against Him.
      Are we grateful? Etc. Romans 1:20-21 – speaks of the failure to glorify Him as God.
      Hebrews 12:28-29 – we ought to serve Him with reverence and godly fear.
  6.   That which is has already been, and what is to be has already been;
    1. This again is a repetition of Ecclesiastes 1:9 where all was described as going on day in and day out. That time led to his “all is vanity” observation, but NOW with God in the picture, it is much more about God being in control, knowing what is and what will be – His will shall be accomplished (cf. Romans 8:28 – remember that this text is about HIS will being accomplished).
      You might say, His laws (both natural and moral – e.g. the nature of man) are not going to change, so you need to follow them!
      SO, because God is in this, we can take comfort as the world goes on.   God KNOWS WHAT HE IS DOING!   And we can trust in passages such as 1 Corinthians 10:13 – no temptation has overtaken you…
    2. But we also find here a reminder that God’s will is in place and He expects us to follow it.   God’s will, will NOT accomplish His purpose in YOUR life and society IF we fail to follow His instructions.
      And God requires an account for what is past (For God seeks what has passed by – NASB).
      A difficult passage to interpret because it is only used 2 times in this form. What Solomon MIGHT be saying is as the world repeats itself, God takes note and there WILL be accountability.

In this text we see that life with God is far better than the vanity of life without Him.   Do you appreciated what God has done for this world AND for you? Does He rule in your life? Think about it!