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Ecclesiastes 3:14-22

Talks for Growing Christians

A Reason for Everything

Ecclesiastes 3:14-22

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Lesson Number 4

Background Notes

Doctrinal Point(s)

  1. There is a reason for everything.

Practical Application

  1. Take life one day at a time!

Questions

  1. In verses 19 and 20, is the Bible teaching that the fate of people and animals is the same?
  2. What is the answer to the rhetorical question in verse 21?
  3. In the previous lesson we saw that there is a predetermined time and an appropriate time for everything, and that there should be an appropriate response from us when these appointed times come our way. Why has God designed life this way? Does Solomon discover the answer in the verses of this lesson?
  4. In verses 16-18 what answers are found regarding the matter of justice and injustice in the lives of people?

Answers

  1. In verses 19 and 20 the Bible is not teaching that the fate of people and animals is the same. The answer lies in the context of verses 19 and 20, and indeed in the context of the whole book of Ecclesiastes. Solomon is speaking here from the perspective of “under the sun.” Without divine revelation, it does appear that the fate of humans and animals is the same. They all die and return to dust. Only because we have the Bible and divine revelation do we know that there is life after death for humans, but not for animals.
  2. The answer to the rhetorical question, “Who knows . . .?” in verse 21 is that God has revealed to those who believe in Him the knowledge to answer many of the questions of life, particularly the answers about the difference between humans and animals in God’s design of life. The unbeliever has neither the Spirit-given understanding of Scripture nor the interest or insight to discover many of the answers in the wonders of God’s creation.
  3. Some of the answers to the question, “Why has God designed life this way?” can be found in this portion of Ecclesiastes 3. First, God has given us the desire to know the meaning of life and the appointed times of life (vs 10-11), which forces us to ask questions about the existence of God and about our relationship to Him. Also, knowing that God has preordained appointed times (v 14) should result in our reverential fear and humble respect when we realize how dependent we are on Him.
  4. In verses 16 and 17 we are taught that there will be a time of judgment. In the end, no one will escape from their evil and wicked ways. Also, we see right now that God is allowing unrighteousness to exist as a test (v 18). Without acknowledging God and apart from acknowledging divine revelation, people “are like beasts.”

Discuss/Consider

  1. Discuss the reasons that make it difficult for many believers to have absolute trust in God’s care for the following day. Be honest and open when considering the lack of faith among the group in the very moments of your present discussion. Consider the biblical references that give guidance and answers for growing in the area of trust.

Challenge

  1. A great part of what brings a joyful life without anxiety is trusting God with your tomorrows. Only He knows what will take place in your life tomorrow. Do you trust Him for the appropriate events that He has predetermined for you tomorrow? Do you trust in His sovereignty for tomorrow? “Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow . . . ” (Matthew 6:33-34a)

Key Verses

  • “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. That which is has already been, and what is to be has already been, and God requires an account of what is past.” Ecclesiastes 3:14-15

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