|(To download, right-click on the icon for the format of your choice and select "Save target as...")|
I would like you to turn to Ecclesiastes 2. I want to start here by stringing together three verses that are somewhat related.
Ecclesiastes 2:26 For God gives wisdom and knowledge and joy to a man who is good in His sight, but to the sinner He gives the work of gathering and collecting, that he may give to him who is good before God. This also is vanity and grasping for the wind.
A great deal of the sermon is going to be involved in these verses, but we are going to go right past it for right now.
Ecclesiastes 3:10-12 I have seen the God-given task with which the sons of men are to be occupied. He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also He has put eternity in their hearts, except that no one can find out the work that God does from beginning to end. I know that there is nothing better for them than to rejoice, and to do good in their lives.
John 15: 4-6 Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me, [this is a very important principle in the book of Ecclesiastes] I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. If anyone does not a abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered, and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned.
Please turn back to Ecclesiastes 3. I begin this sermon linking these loosely related scriptures, because it is becoming clear to me why the Jews assigned Ecclesiastes to be studied into and preached during the Feast of Tabernacles.
The first reason is because Ecclesiastes’ subject material is as we would say today, dead on, appropriate for what the festival symbolizes. Recall that the feast is a harvest festival. We saw an indication of harvest especially clear in John 15. God wants a harvest of fruit; Ecclesiastes is teaching us that there is no spiritual harvest for anybody without a relationship with God. We must abide in Christ or there will be no spiritual harvest. Solomon is showing us in Ecclesiastes that without that relationship, life is essentially meaningless but with that relationship, everything in life matters.
The second reason is that the material covered in Ecclesiastes requires a good deal of continuous thoughtful time to cover well. Recall that those people during the time that the Jews assigned Ecclesiastes to be read—studied into—during the Feast of Tabernacles, did not have today's electronic technology. They did not have CD's , they did not have tapes, they did not have machines to play them back, they used the Feast Of Tabernacles to go into this book thoroughly every year, at least to some degree.
The world’s commentators by and large say that in Ecclesiastes Solomon is complaining that life is meaningless and going nowhere. Even though there is some sense of that, it is not really accurate. The reality is Solomon is saying, in his own inimitable style, “not so.” Life is meaningless without God. That is much different.
We are finding, especially here in Ecclesiastes chapter 3, that God is involved far more deeply in one’s life than we might have ever imagined before. Ecclesiastes 3 reveals Him as a very active sovereign. Since that is so, life is most certainly not vain. Rather the opposite is true. Everything matters! And why? Because the lives of the persons who know and believe Him, have had revealed to them that they are directly involved with Him, at this very time, in a supremely important purpose for which He created everything.
A person who truly knows and believes God, knows that this is the one and only time for salvation to him, and he sincerely and passionately does not want to waste his opportunity.
This is the one and only time to grab the brass ring. Maybe you younger people do not know what that means but it has to do with riding on the merry-go-round. If you grab the brass ring that they put out there you got another ride free. So it came to be known as your opportunity to grab it, grab something in life that is offered to you.
This kind of life can be highly enjoyable. I mean a life with God involved in it can be highly enjoyable, a pleasure to live. That is why I read those verses. It is God who gives the things in life that matter. So if we want to have an enjoyable life, it is profitable to an extreme even though we may not have very much in the way of money. It is profitable in what God freely gives to those who are His children and have His Spirit.
This life also has serious responsibilities attached to it, and grasping those responsibilities must have a starting point, a foundation for which we seek what is set before us. That starting point is our calling into a direct one-on-one relationship—family relationship—with Him. We must have a right attitude toward Him, or the relationship will not profit us. That starting point is that we must be humble before Him, or we will not submit to what He wants us to accomplish.
Humility is an attitude that involves choice, it is an attitude of willingness to accept the gifts and responsibilities set before us by God. We will say a little bit more about those gifts later. If that willingness is not present, our evil heart will constantly look for ways to avoid carrying through.
Humility is the reason why I asked you in the previous sermon if you are familiar with the name John Paul Sartre. He was an existentialist philosopher who was no friend of God, but he came to a right conclusion about something very important to humility.
Sartre wrote, “It was true. I had always realized it. I had no right to exist at all.” He came to realize that life was a gift given.
Over the past generation or two, Americans have been deliberately taught by one of the major political parties that we are entitled to generous government benefits without cost, simply because we are alive, and we are citizens. On the other hand, God is honest, we might say, brutally honest. He makes clear that we are not even really entitled to live. We live only at God's merciful discretion and we must allow this truth to humble us. We live only because of His purpose for us, because we have sinned, and once we have sinned, we are dead men walking. But we have been called, we have been forgiven through Christ's blood, and the Bible makes is clear that humility is a choice that we are empowered to make.
Now doing so, in the beginning of our relationship with God, is a good foundation for wisdom. It is our pride that exaggerates our personal importance to our heart, demanding that we should be treated as we think right. Let us thoroughly understand that God is love and the very fact that He has given life is something that we ought to be thankful for, because having life opens the door to the opportunity to be created into the image of what He is. No life, no opportunity.
Yes, life has difficulties, but the opportunity is still there. Thankfulness arises in one because of a sense of obligation toward one who has done something that pleases us. Problems arise because pride demands that we have His gifts before we are adequately prepared for appreciating them and rightly using them. So we think that He is holding out on us, when actually the reality might be that we are holding out on Him.
Despite life's hardships, if we believingly accept life as a beneficial gift and thank God for it, that is the taproot of a better attitude toward the burdens of preparation for His Kingdom that come our way. Do you understand that most of our problems come upon us not necessarily because we bad or we are doing wrong things. Rather, God is imposing them as gifts to us, that we overcome them. They are challenges that prepare us for the future.
If a person has no problems, I would have to say that God does not love that person very much. He is just letting them alone, and the person lives life just doing what he thinks life is about. Only God has the answers. Only God has the direction.
Why can life with problems like we have be good? Because we realize these burdens are in reality additional gifts given to prepare us for the responsibility He is designing us to fulfill. If we grudgingly accept life as a burden, then we will miss out on the gifts He fully intends sending our way. And what God through Solomon is saying here is “outlook greatly helps determine outcome.” That is right in the book of Ecclesiastes. It does not say that directly but that is what Solomon is implying.
So, when these mirror isms are placed upon us and they become a burden to us, it is a time to think this through. God is imposing on us something to prepare us for His Kingdom, and that is good, it is a blessing.
Ecclesiastes 3:11 He [God] has made everything beautiful in its time. Also He has put eternity in their [man’s] hearts, except that no one can find out the work that God does from beginning to end.
This is a wonderful astounding declaration by Solomon that is as clear as a newly clean window pane. We have not only been given mortal life, but our life is a link to eternity. Let that roll around. Our present life is a link to eternity, is a link to immortality.
We were created in God's image and given dominion over creation. Do you know that even though God a time or two mentions angels in the sense of being sons, they are not sons in the same way that we are. He nowhere says that angels are created in His image, only man. Therefore we are different—we are sanctified—from the rest of creation, with a potential far greater than any other creation of God.
God has given mankind a most wonderful gift. He has placed eternity in our thought processes, and that is why we have thoughts of immortality. Our heart is linked to a future far greater than life as it is commonly lived by mankind. Even as God has given all of mankind an elementary conscientiousness of right and wrong, as Paul states in Romans 2, we were born with a longing for another world, a yearning already placed within us, of a life with God that is beyond the reach of mortal time.
This helps explain why nobody, even Solomon, can be satisfied with his personal endeavors, achievements, and entertainments. Please turn to Ecclesiastes 2. This confirms what I just said. It is a conclusion to that section that appeared before this in which he did all those things, all kinds of parties, all kinds of building projects going on, but he says in verse 17,
Ecclesiastes 2:17 Therefore I hated life because the work that was done under the sun was grievous to me, for all is vanity and grasping for the wind.
Even somebody as great as Solomon cannot be satisfied with these kinds of personal endeavors, achievements, and entertainments. As satisfying as those activities might be, as long as one is doing them the satisfaction is neither lasting nor fulfilling. This is because we were not created for these things; we were created for immortality, for eternity.
Those things, like Solomon did, are passing things. There is something far greater ahead that our heart, our mind, is yearning for. It does say at the end of the verse, except that no one can find out the work that God does from beginning to end.
Only immortality will satisfy these longings. It is a universal longing. It is not just in us, there are thoughts of immortality that are basic to all religions around the earth. All people born anywhere in the world have these vague longings within them, thoughts within their religious systems in which they dream of a life after death as an immortal being.
They may even dream of somehow or another living with their conception of what God is like, but it is there, whether it is in the jungles of Brazil, or New Guinea, or Australia, or Europe, United States, Canada, or wherever, there is in mankind a yearning for immortality. Religions all over the world are formed around that dream.
The Living Bible translates verse 11, in this way,
Ecclesiastes 3:11 God has made everything beautiful for its own time. He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God's work from beginning to end.
In this chapter, where we have been spending great deal of time, we must apply this thought: that God accomplishes His purpose in us in His time, and brethren, we are so impatient. We want things to be accomplished in a blink. It will not be until we enter eternity in the resurrection that we will really begin to comprehend fully what God is doing. We still look, as Paul said, through a glass darkly, and until then we must go through the sometimes rigorous processes of having our heart and mind reshaped into the image of Jesus Christ by faith, and the work of God.
Notice something that appears in verse 11, where Solomon says, “God has made everything beautiful in its time.” Most people read this and think the time that everything was beautiful was during the creation, when God made it. That is not what Solomon is saying there.
The Hebrews use the word beautiful in much the same way as we do today in America. First of all it indicates something visually pretty, like a person. For example it says that Job’s daughters were the most beautiful in the land, all three of them were pretty. Or we might say that a scenery is beautiful.
The Hebrews expanded on its usage to also mean something not just beautiful to look at but rather good, right, pleasing, fitting, or appropriate. We might say today, “Boy, the timing on that was really beautiful.” It did not make people smile because it made everybody laugh at how pretty it was. It just means it was good, it was right on, it was appropriate. The Hebrews use that word beautiful in the same way.
Here in Ecclesiastes 3, where time is a large part of the context, it can be said that God's timing is beautiful, it is good, it is right on. That is the approach that Solomon is taking, because we are reading a book here in which he is trying to build people’s understanding of God, of what God is working out, and the timing of this great sovereign Creator that we have working in our lives.
We need to understand, really understand, that His timing on everything is beautiful. He does everything at the right time for everybody. That is how carefully He is overlooking our lives. So Solomon was inspired to see the beauty of God's sovereignty over time. Not only is there a time for everything in God's purpose for us, but God does everything at just the right time, and at whatever time He does things God is always right on time.
He knows when something or someone needs building up or breaking down, keeping or casting away, whether it be war or peace, a time for gain or a time for loss, a time to embrace or a time to refrain from embracing. How does He know? Because He is closely watching over us, and because He knows exactly where He is headed with your life.
Do we trust Him? That is the issue here. Do we trust Him? As I said earlier, we are so impatient! We are so filled with pride that drives our sense of entitlement. But we have somebody overseeing our lives that is not going to bend to our will.
With this we can begin to see one of Solomon's major purposes for listing the merisms, and since God is the one distributing them and imposing them in peoples lives, they are examples of His sovereignty over individual lives, and His sovereignty over nations as well, because He does not just impose these things on His children, but sometimes entire nations. You can see the United States of America and all of Israel—it is a time for these nations to become unraveled.
Thus, whether it is in the seasons of nature or patterns of billions of peoples lives involved in a kaleidoscopic movement of human activities, all of them are under the sovereign oversight and providential care of our Creator. From birth to death, there is a time and a season for everything under the sun.
Solomon is cautioning us—and at the same time exhorting us—to be patient, to accept life as its events impact on us, understanding and accepting that our view is truly limited and narrow compared to God's. He knows where He is headed.
We all say to our children, especially when they are little, be patient, wait there awhile, you will see. While they are saying,” are we there yet?”, and all those things that our children come up with. We do similar things as adults. God is saying, be patient, wait awhile, you are not ready for it yet, “You’re not old enough to walk around town by yourself. You’re only three years old.” I think we get the point.
Solomon is cautioning us, and at the same time exhorting us, to accept life as its events impact on us, understanding and accepting that our view is truly limited and narrow. Let us exercise our faith and submit to His oversight, because He does everything decently and in order.
This is one of the reasons, because we get all bound up in our difficulties, this is one of the reasons that I Corinthians 10:13 is in the Bible.
I Corinthians 10:13 [we are told by the apostle Paul] No temptation [trial, pressure, difficulties] has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.
Ecclesiastes 3:12-13 I know that there is nothing better for them than to rejoice, and to do good in their lives, and also that every man should eat and drink and enjoy the good of all his labor—it is the gift of God.
So, despite the rigorous shaping of our heart from this deceitful self-centeredness into God-centeredness, our life can actually be very enjoyable right now. Solomon hinted at this in chapter 2.
Ecclesiastes 2:24 There is nothing better for a man than that he should eat and drink and that his soul should enjoy good in his labor. This also, I saw, was from the hand of God.
The enjoyment of life is a very important theme in Ecclesiastes. We will see as we go through that this is mentioned quite often. I am going to reshape verse 12, into saying this, “There is nothing better than to be joyful and to do good as long as I live, and to eat and to drink, and take pleasure in all my work. This is God's gift to me.”
There he encourages us to be joyful, to eat and drink, and to take pleasure in all of our works. Let us say right at the opening here that Solomon is not encouraging pagan heathenism. In the first half of Ecclesiastes 2:1-11, where it recounts all of those things that Solomon went through, the great building projects, the eating and drinking, making merry.
In the first half of that chapter he has already shown that it does not work when one focuses on that kind of a life. When we understand this and really begin to look around us, we will find that this is what the world is basically appealing to us to involve ourselves in. That is a major distraction to God's purpose.
Solomon though, since he had already gone through this and he had a chance to evaluate it, and to see that it was just really so much vanity, Solomon is encouraging us to do the good works of Christian living and to enjoy God's gifts, beginning with life itself. He is encouraging us to do what God ordained from the very beginning.
Ephesians 2:10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, [there is a good start there, we have to remember if we are really going to enjoy life, that we are God's workmanship and He is creating something in and through us and our life. We are created in Christ Jesus and now a part of the spiritual body of Jesus Christ, but we are created for good works.] which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.
Now the things that Solomon did in the beginning of Ecclesiastes 2, we found out when Solomon really evaluated, that those things really did not turn out to be good works. They certainly were massive projects, but the overall effect of them really was not all that great, Solomon later was able to conclude. They drained the country of a great deal of its wealth, it enslaved the people, and as time went on, Solomon was able to learn that was not all that good. When he began to evaluate himself, he began to see that it was vanity for him too, there was too much of an emphasis in his life on those kinds of works that he did. But even while he was doing them though, he thought they were good works.
But we find here in Ephesians 2, that we are God's workmanship created in Christ Jesus for good works which God has prepared, or ordained, or appointed beforehand, that we should walk in them. This is the kind of work that God wants us to do.
Ecclesiastes 3:12-13 I know that there is nothing better for them than to rejoice, and to do good in their lives, and also that every man should eat and drink and enjoy the good of all his labor—it is the gift of God.
Even the good works that God has ordained that we should do is a gift from God, and He empowers us by means of His Spirit to be enabled to do those things. So what Solomon is doing is encouraging us to enjoy the fruits of our labors in the Lord. That is, willingly submitting to His purposes for us no matter how difficult they may seem to be on the surface. If we submit to them, they will produce an abundant life that truly can be enjoyed because His spiritual blessings will flow to us.
With this we go right back the scriptures that I used at the very beginning. The works that God gives us to do are His blessing, they are gifts from Him, and it is by means of our doing these works that we are submitting to His Spirit, and that will produce the blessings that God, from His Spirit, will flow right to us and really make life profitable and pleasing.
This does not imply in any way that we will work our way into immortality, but he means that we should do them out of gratitude for the life and grace that He has already given us by forgiving our sins, the gift of His Spirit, and the hope of fulfilling His purpose for us, as He reshapes us into His Son’s image.
Solomon is, without directly saying it, encouraging us to keep the commandments, to seek the fruits of God's Spirit, being kind, gentle, forgiving, honest, and faithful to both God and men. Theses are the kind of works that God will respond to, and the gifts will be the things like peace of mind and a strong sense of well being, without lusting and jealousy.
Ecclesiastes 3:14 I know that whatever God does, it shall be forever. Nothing can be added to it, and nothing taken from it. God does it, that men should fear before Him.
We do not work because we have nothing better to do, but because God has called us to do a work for Him that involves eternity. This thought reaches out to include doing good works on the job, in the home, loving the people we interact with, loving brethren in the church, making use of the gifts that God has given us to do this, and we should do this as long as we live.
Remember that Jesus said that we are to lay up treasure in heaven. Why do we do things? It is the profit motive, the profit factor, and God is not against us doing good, looking forward to laying up treasure in heaven. In that way we are not doing it just to get for ourselves, but actually we are doing it in order to be prepared by God and then we will have the treasures that we can distribute when we are in His Kingdom. I am not talking about money; I am talking the eternal life with all of its gifts.
To us life appears transitory, but the scriptures right in front of us says that what God does is forever. Did you see that? In verse 14, “I know that whatever God does it shall be forever.” This chapter is so encouraging, it is so revealing, it is incredible!
Maybe that is something that is going to take us while to roll around in our brain and come to really appreciate it, because we have a tendency, a natural tendency (we all have it), to get bound up and to get burdened by the difficulty of what God is putting us through. It is not easy, but there is a great and wonderful reward beyond. Thus, when we live for Him and let Him have His way, then life becomes meaningful and profitable.
Again, let us go back to the verses I started this sermon with. Those things that really matter in life come from a relationship with God, and because we are applying ourselves to conform to what God wants us to be.
Solomon is not saying, “Don’t worry, be happy.” He is promoting faith in God, without directly using the word. He is not encouraging a pie in the sky kind of existence by ignoring the realities of the difficulties, of the responsibilities that he has laid before us, he is encouraging us to recognize that the ultimate source of our difficulties, and the solution of those difficulties is one and the same. It is the sovereign God who through them is preparing us for life in His Kingdom.
Faith is only as good as the object of faith. The greatest object of faith is God in heaven above, who is tirelessly observing our living of a life that He has given to us. How can life be meaningless and monotonous for us when the sovereign God has made us a part of His plan?
Those of us who are called of God have a proclivity for thinking that we are real Dumbo’s, insignificant, weak failures. Why-did-God-ever-call-me kind of thing, I can do nothing. But we need to start thinking, as a change of pace, that this is not true, brethren! You are not an insignificant insect; you are a child of God! That is one of the highest offices on the face of the earth. All those big names that you know, as far as we know they have not been offered that.
You have been sanctified and elevated to that position! You are not an insignificant slob, but rather certainly, a person with weaknesses, but your potential is so great it is awesome beyond imagination! You are a child of God, prepared for an eternal responsibility and by means of our faith we must learn to let God be God, accepting His sovereignty and His judgments over time and eternity.
God makes very clear a major object of why He is doing things the way He is doing. Verse 14, in the last phrase, “I know that whatever God does it shall be forever, nothing can be added to it, and nothing taken from it. God does it that men should fear before Him.”
There you have in a nutshell, in one bit of phraseology, one major reason why things are so difficult, and that is that we must learn to fear Him.
Do you understand that this is probably one of the major things that is wrong in the United States today? There is no fear of God, or very little of it. People pay Him little attention. Evelyn heard on the radio last evening, on the John Hancock show, he gave this statistic: one out of every five people in the United States has no fear of God at all.
That is a huge portion of the population. The population of the United States of America is approximately 310 million. That means that 60 million people have admitted that they have no fear of God. I submit to you that of the remaining millions of people, their fear of God is so weak, that according to the standards that we are to operate according to, because we have God's Word and we know very much about what He is doing, that their fear of God is almost nil as well.
If they had a fear of God, they would be keeping the commandments, and we would not have these moral problems in the United States of America. God says He is putting us through the traces in order that we learn to fear Him. Fear means to have a reverential respect, an abiding, meaning a continuous, ever present fear of Him.
It does not mean that we are terrorized at all. It just means we respect Him so highly that when we think of any choice we have to make, He is the first one that we think of. “What does He say?” Then we do the best we can with the answer that we come up with. That is not the way the world is. Please turn to Psalms 33. God is not trying to bulldoze us into fearing Him. That is not the approach that He is using at all. I want you to see what the psalmist say about how important the fear of God is.
Psalms 33:8 Let all the earth fear the Lord; let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of Him.
Psalms 33:18 Behold, the eye of the Lord is on those who fear Him, on those who hope in His mercy, to deliver their soul from death, and to keep them alive in famine. [Take this one personally]
Psalms 34:7 The angel of the Lord encamps all around those who fear Him, and delivers them,
Do you think the fear of God is not important? I will tell you that it is going to be, and it already is pretty important, that because you fear God maybe you were not in that theater in Denver, Colorado last night, because you fear God and keep the Sabbath, you would not be there. There are scary things that are going to happen while we are keeping the Sabbath, and because we are keeping the Sabbath we will be safe from what is happening. That is the way it works, the angel of the Lord is around those who fear Him,
Psalms 34:9, 11 Oh, fear the Lord, you His saints, there is no want to those who fear Him. . . . Come, you children, listen to me; I will teach you the fear of the Lord.
The fear of the Lord is not something that people automatically have, it is something that we must be taught to have. That is what the world does not have and that is why this is worded the way it is in Ecclesiastes 3:14.
Ecclesiastes 3:14 I know that whatever God does, it shall be forever. Nothing can be added to it, and nothing can be taken from it. God does it, that men should fear before Him.
We have to be taught to fear Him, we have to go through things with Him. This fear is a positive influence; it is a deep and abiding reverential respect of the purity of His heart, and mercy, and power. His desire is to educate us into willing obedience through our experiences with Him, because this is the only solid foundation for all time, for all eternity.
One commentator used the following illustration to help us grasp the use of our faith as God works His creative efforts in preparing us for His Kingdom. One of these, of course, will be the fear of God.
Compare yourself as to being a passenger on a large ocean liner, here you are on this ship, you look out over the rail, you cannot see a single sign saying, ship, go this way, or ship, go that way. It is a trackless ocean.
Since there are no signs pointing in any direction, I ask you now whether you have ever seen the captain directing the activities and the direction of the ship. You just know he is there, and you believe that he is there, because the ship arrives at the destination that it headed our for despite the fact that it did not say route one this way, route three this way, or anything like that. The ship went in exactly the right direction, because it was guided in the right direction by those people up there at the helm.
That is the way it is with God. We cannot see Him, but He knows exactly where He is going. We look out and we see trackless vistas out there, with no signs directing us: heaven this way, hell this way, Lake of Fire this way, nothing like that. He just encourages us, through His teaching, to go in that way and because we respect Him and because we have faith in Him, we do.
Two major lessons in this wonderful third chapter, ask these questions. Can you believe in the truth of divine sovereignty? Can you believe and fear Him enough to submit yourselves to His authority, knowing that He is in overall control of time and events? In other words, do we see God? Even though He is invisible, do you see Him? That is going to make all the difference in the world for His children. Because they see Him.
Jesus said to Nicodemus, that unless you are born of water and spirit, no one will see the Kingdom of God. He did not mean literally, He meant in our mind’s eye. We envision this. If we do, that should encourage one to keep pressing on to the accomplishment that God desires. The rewards are great because the fear of God is only the beginning of wisdom.
Ecclesiastes 3:15 That which is has already been, and what is to be has already been, and God requires an account of what is past.
The first part of this verse is a virtual rewording of Ecclesiastes 1:9 and it means that whatever happens now, has already happened before. It is in a narrow sense the same old, same old, over and over again. The difference between the two is the context surrounding the verses.
Looking back on the Ecclesiastes 1 context, one can see from the standpoint of Ecclesiastes 3 that Ecclesiastes 1:9 is speaking of a seemingly meaningless existence without one being involved within a relationship with God. This is in contrast to Ecclesiastes 3, which puts everything under the sovereignty of God.
Thus, in Ecclesiastes 3:15, Solomon is saying, trust God. If what is happening is under God's supervision, this is good for His purpose and therefore for our preparations as well. This is really very encouraging because we can identify patterns that God works in. He gives those patterns so that we can identify His working in us.
Things outside of our control, like the horrific things taking place in the nation leading to Christ return, should not be causing us despair. It could very easily cause us despair, because these things that are happening in the United States are really discouraging.
If our faith is in God, our concern regarding these events really should build hope, because we firmly believe that God is in control over everything that happens and the last part of this verse is somewhat more difficult too. But it too is also very encouraging.
Because the same things keep occurring, it almost seems as though Solomon is saying that God is going to bring every deed into judgment whether past or present. Some of that understanding is present because God will bring everything into judgment. However, the Hebrew in this statement is so positive and hopeful that many commentators now say it means that God is seeking to redeem the past, not simply to render judgment.
I will explain. To me it shows how merciful God is. This verse is implying the use of His purpose, that is God's overall purpose, to bring men into His Kingdom, and His merciful grace, both for our personal past, as well as mankind’s in general, so that not everything would be lost, but what is valuable to His purpose will work to mankind's advantage and will not be lost forever.
I will give you a clear example. There are an awful lot of people out there who really have pretty good overall character and have done many good works. What God is saying in this verse is, that good that they have done will not become lost forever. He is going to redeem it. That part of their character that is good, that they have built, will not be lost, it is now part of their character.
This is yet another verse showing us brethren, that everything in life matters. Solomon is saying, do not waste time on useless, that is, vain things.