Ecclesiastes 3:9-10, “9 What profit is there to the worker from that in which he toils? 10 I have seen the task which God has given the sons of men with which to occupy themselves.”
- In verse 9 Solomon asks, “What’s the profit?” In verses 1-8 there are pretty words made into a song in 1965 by the Byrds, “To everything (turn, turn, turn). There is a season (turn, turn, turn). But, Solomon didn’t mean for verses 1-8 to be pretty.
- Solomon is making an observation on the repetitive cycle of life, which never seems to make any progress. There is a time to live, a time to die, a time to laugh a time to mourn, a time for war and a time for peace. The same old thing, “Another day, another dollar.”
- In verse 10, “People have tasks to occupy themselves” (Do you see that phrase in verse 10?) like going to work, mowing the yard, changing diapers, making your bed, and every day you wake up and do these same tasks over and over.
- At first those tasks are exciting when we get a new shirt, a new mower, a new truck, a new relationship, but eventually we do those tasks at 30, 60, 100, 500, 1000 times, and eventually the newness starts to wear off, and human begins start to ask, “What’s the point?”
Ecclesiastes 3:11, “11 He has made everything appropriate in its time. He has also set eternity in their heart, yet so that man will not find out the work which God has done from the beginning even to the end.”
- This is what makes Solomon wise. Solomon doesn’t just stop with cynicism. In verse 11 Solomon makes an additional observation that human beings continue to persevere through the repetitive cycles.
- Why? It is because, “God has set eternity in our hearts.” Do you see that in verse 11? Underline that phrase, “God has set eternity in our hearts.” This is a fascinating observation!
- But, then we read the end of verse 11 and Solomon yet again makes another observation. Do you see the end of verse 11? In verse 11 Solomon writes, “Yet so that man will not find out the work which God has done from the beginning even to the end.”
Ecclesiastes 3:12-13, “12 I know that there is nothing better for them than to rejoice and to do good in one’s lifetime; 13 moreover, that every man who eats and drinks sees good in all his labor—it is the gift of God.
- In Solomon’s wisdom he looks at life and he sees a repetitive part of life (1-10) and then in verse 11, “Humanity is going to try to make those repetitive tasks better, and it will never happen.” Solomon’s conclusion? Celebrate!
Ecclesiastes 3:14-15, “14 I know that everything God does will remain forever; there is nothing to add to it and there is nothing to take from it, for God has so worked that men should fear Him. 15 That which is has been already and that which will be has already been, for God seeks what has passed by.”
- In verse 15 when you see the phrase, “for God makes the same things happen over and over again.” In verse 15 Solomon makes the observation, “God uses the repetition of life and fleeting satisfaction actually as a means of grace to draw us to Himself.
- It actually reminds me of what life is like for a child. A child goes through life learning, trying to figure things out, getting frustrated along the way, and when a child becomes exhausted under the weight of that frustration the role of the parent is to catch them.
It is similar in our relationship with God, but in the gospel we see the God of Scripture doesn’t even wait for us to ask for His help. In the gospel we see the God of Scripture drawing near, and entering our toil.
Remember the frustration of the world isn’t because of Him. He created the world to be perfect. It is humanity the rejected Him and created the frustration in the world, and yet in His grace He enters the toil and frustration of our world.
He doesn’t watch from afar, He doesn’t mock us in our pain, but instead steps into the toil of our world. His name is Jesus! He draws near!
I remember when I started to see my mom showing early signs of Alzheimer’s and Schizophrenia. In the beginning it was annoying. She didn’t remember details. She didn’t take responsibility. She didn’t make stable decisions, and at first, it was just annoying.
But, then she moved in with me and my family and for 9-months I got to see her pain, confusion, and disorientation up close, so that there started to stir in me a compassion for her. I wasn’t just watching her struggle from afar, but I had brought her struggle into my home.
It is similar with Jesus. Jesus not only extends compassion, but Jesus extends the cross. Jesus didn’t just watch our struggle from afar. Jesus brought our struggle close, and the Scriptures teach us that He not only walked in the toil of our life, but He takes our toil upon Himself to the point of death on a cross, and conquers our toil through the resurrection, and Jesus does it all because He loves you.