This post is selected in order passages from the book of Ecclesiastes from the Old Testament. Open your mind to truth and understand that, “Not even the wisest people know everything, even if they say they do.” (Ecclesiastes 8:17)
Generations come and go, but nothing really changes. The sun rises and sets and hurries around to rise again. The wind blows south and north, here and there, twisting back and forth, getting nowhere. The rivers run into the sea, but the sea is never full. Then the water returns again to the rivers and flows again to the sea. Everything is so weary and tiresome! No matter how much we see, we are never satisfied. No matter how much we hear, we are not content.History merely repeats itself. It has all been done before. Nothing under the sun is truly new. What can you point to that is new? How do you know it didn't already exist long ago? We don't remember what happened in those former times. And in future generations, no one will remember what we are doing now.
So I decided to compare wisdom and folly, and anyone else would come to the same conclusions I did. Wisdom is of more value than foolishness, just as light is better than darkness. For the wise person sees, while the fool is blind. Yet I saw that wise and foolish people share the same fate. Both of them die. Just as the fool will die, so will I. So of what value is all my wisdom? Then I said to myself, "This is all so meaningless!" For the wise person and the fool both die, and in the days to come, both will be forgotten.
There is a time for everything, a season for every activity under heaven. A time to be born and a time to die. A time to plant and a time to harvest. A time to kill and a time to heal. A time to tear down and a time to rebuild. A time to cry and a time to laugh. A time to grieve and a time to dance. A time to scatter stones and a time to gather stones. A time to embrace and a time to turn away. A time to search and a time to lose. A time to keep and a time to throw away. A time to tear and a time to mend. A time to be quiet and a time to speak up. A time to love and a time to hate. A time for war and a time for peace. What do people really get for all their hard work? I have thought about this in connection with the various kinds of work God has given people to do.
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. So I concluded that there is nothing better for people than to be happy and to enjoy themselves as long as they can. And people should eat and drink and enjoy the fruits of their labor, for these are gifts from God. And I know that whatever God does is final. Nothing can be added to it or taken from it. God's purpose in this is that people should fear him. Whatever exists today and whatever will exist in the future has already existed in the past. For God calls each event back in its turn.
Again I observed all the oppression that takes place in our world. I saw the tears of the oppressed, with no one to comfort them. The oppressors have great power, and the victims are helpless. So I concluded that the dead are better off than the living. And most fortunate of all are those who were never born. For they have never seen all the evil that is done in our world. Then I observed that most people are motivated to success by their envy of their neighbors. But this, too, is meaningless, like chasing the wind. Foolish people refuse to work and almost starve. They feel it is better to be lazy and barely survive than to work hard, especially when in the long run everything is so futile.
Even so, I have noticed one thing, at least, that is good. It is good for people to eat well, drink a good glass of wine, and enjoy their work – whatever they do under the sun – for however long God lets them live. And it is a good thing to receive wealth from God and the good health to enjoy it. To enjoy your work and accept your lot in life – that is indeed a gift from God. People who do this rarely look with sorrow on the past, for God has given them reasons for joy.
The more words you speak, the less they mean. So why overdo it? In the few days of our empty lives, who knows how our days can best be spent? And who can tell what will happen in the future after we are gone?
A good reputation is more valuable than the most expensive perfume. In the same way, the day you die is better than the day you are born. It is better to spend your time at funerals than at festivals. For you are going to die, and you should think about it while there is still time. Sorrow is better than laughter, for sadness has a refining influence on us. A wise person thinks much about death, while the fool thinks only about having a good time now. It is better to be criticized by a wise person than to be praised by a fool! Indeed, a fool's laughter is quickly gone, like thorns crackling in a fire. This also is meaningless.
Extortion turns wise people into fools, and bribes corrupt the heart. Finishing is better than starting. Patience is better than pride. Don't be quick-tempered, for anger is the friend of fools. Don't long for "the good old days," for you don't know whether they were any better than today.
Yes, there is a time and a way for everything, even as people's troubles lie heavily upon them. Indeed, how can people avoid what they don't know is going to happen? None of us can hold back our spirit from departing. None of us has the power to prevent the day of our death. There is no escaping that obligation, that dark battle. And in the face of death, wickedness will certainly not rescue those who practice it.
I have thought deeply about all that goes on here in the world, where people have the power to hurt each other. I have seen wicked people buried with honor. How strange that they were the very ones who frequented the Temple and are praised in the very city where they committed their crimes! When a crime is not punished, people feel it is safe to do wrong. But even though a person sins a hundred times and still lives a long time, I know that those who fear God will be better off. The wicked will never live long, good lives, for they do not fear God. Their days will never grow long like the evening shadows.
And this is not all that is meaningless in our world. In this life, good people are often treated as though they were wicked, and wicked people are often treated as though they were good. This is so meaningless! So I recommend having fun, because there is nothing better for people to do in this world than to eat, drink, and enjoy life. That way they will experience some happiness along with all the hard work God gives them. In my search for wisdom, I tried to observe everything that goes on all across the earth. I discovered that there is ceaseless activity, day and night. This reminded me that no one can discover everything God has created in our world, no matter how hard they work at it. Not even the wisest people know everything, even if they say they do.
Ecclesiastes 9:1-3, 11-12
This, too, I carefully explored: Even though the actions of godly and wise people are in God's hands, no one knows whether or not God will show them favor in this life. The same destiny ultimately awaits everyone, whether they are righteous or wicked, good or bad, ceremonially clean or unclean, religious or irreligious. Good people receive the same treatment as sinners, and people who take oaths are treated like people who don't. It seems so tragic that one fate comes to all. That is why people are not more careful to be good. Instead, they choose their own mad course, for they have no hope. There is nothing ahead but death anyway.
I have observed something else in this world of ours. The fastest runner doesn't always win the race, and the strongest warrior doesn't always win the battle.
The wise are often poor, and the skillful are not necessarily wealthy. And those who are educated don't always lead successful lives. It is all decided by chance, by being at the right place at the right time. People can never predict when hard times might come. Like fish in a net or birds in a snare, people are often caught by sudden tragedy.
Ecclesiastes 10:1-3, 12-15
Dead flies will cause even a bottle of perfume to stink! Yes, an ounce of foolishness can outweigh a pound of wisdom and honor. The hearts of the wise lead them to do right, and the hearts of the foolish lead them to do evil. You can identify fools just by the way they walk down the street!
It is pleasant to listen to wise words, but the speech of fools brings them to ruin. Since fools base their thoughts on foolish premises, their conclusions will be wicked madness. Foolish people claim to know all about the future and tell everyone the details! But who can really know what is going to happen? Fools are so exhausted by a little work that they have no strength for even the simplest tasks.
Light is sweet; it's wonderful to see the sun! When people live to be very old, let them rejoice in every day of life. But let them also remember that the dark days will be many. Everything still to come is meaningless. Young man, it's wonderful to be young! Enjoy every minute of it. Do everything you want to do; take it all in. But remember that you must give an account to God for everything you do. So banish grief and pain, but remember that youth, with a whole life before it, still faces the threat of meaninglessness.
Ecclesiastes 12:1-4, 8-14
Don't let the excitement of youth cause you to forget your Creator. Honor him in your youth before you grow old and no longer enjoy living. It will be too late then to remember him, when the light of the sun and moon and stars is dim to your old eyes, and there is no silver lining left among the clouds. Your limbs will tremble with age, and your strong legs will grow weak. Your teeth will be too few to do their work, and you will be blind, too. And when your teeth are gone, keep your lips tightly closed when you eat! Even the chirping of birds will wake you up. But you yourself will be deaf and tuneless, with a quavering voice.
"All is meaningless," says the Teacher, "utterly meaningless." Because the Teacher was wise, he taught the people everything he knew. He collected proverbs and classified them. Indeed, the Teacher taught the plain truth, and he did so in an interesting way. A wise teacher's words spur students to action and emphasize important truths. The collected sayings of the wise are like guidance from a shepherd. But, my child, be warned: There is no end of opinions ready to be expressed. Studying them can go on forever and become very exhausting!
Here is my final conclusion: Fear God and obey his commands, for this is the duty of every person. God will judge us for everything we do, including every secret thing, whether good or bad.
Jesus is knocking at your door. Accept Jesus Christ as your savior, confess your sins and ask Him to forgive you and place your faith in Him.
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