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ecc 3 11

Ecclesiastes 3

For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:

a time to be born, and a time to die;
a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;
a time to kill, and a time to heal;
a time to break down, and a time to build up;
a time to weep, and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
a time to seek, and a time to lose;
a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
a time to tear, and a time to sew;
a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
a time to love, and a time to hate;
a time for war, and a time for peace.

What gain has the worker from his toil? 10 I have seen the business that God has given to the children of man to be busy with. 11 He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also, he has put eternity into man’s heart, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end. 12 I perceived that there is nothing better for them than to be joyful and to do good as long as they live; 13 also that everyone should eat and drink and take pleasure in all his toil—this is God’s gift to man.

14 I perceived that whatever God does endures forever; nothing can be added to it, nor anything taken from it. God has done it, so that people fear before him. 15 That which is, already has been; that which is to be, already has been; and God seeks what has been driven away.

16 Moreover, I saw under the sun that in the place of justice, even there was wickedness, and in the place of righteousness, even there was wickedness. 17 I said in my heart, God will judge the righteous and the wicked, for there is a time for every matter and for every work. 18 I said in my heart with regard to the children of man that God is testing them that they may see that they themselves are but beasts. 19 For what happens to the children of man and what happens to the beasts is the same; as one dies, so dies the other. They all have the same breath, and man has no advantage over the beasts, for all is vanity. 20 All go to one place. All are from the dust, and to dust all return. 21 Who knows whether the spirit of man goes upward and the spirit of the beast goes down into the earth? 22 So I saw that there is nothing better than that a man should rejoice in his work, for that is his lot. Who can bring him to see what will be after him?

The Holy Bible, English Standard Version Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.

 Questions to Consider:

  1. Who wrote the book of Ecclesiastes? What is the theme of chapter 3?
  1. How would you summarize verses 1-8? What are some of the ways the New Testament says Christians should respond to joyful or difficult circumstance in our lives and in the lives of others?
  1. What does it mean that God has “put eternity into man’s heart”? (11) What does the remainder of verse 11 mean? How might the idea in this part of verse 11 connect with these other passages?
  1. What can we learn from verses 14-22 about God’s absolute sovereignty, supremacy, authority, and control over the world and the events that take place in it? Make a list of all the things, beings, and events from these verses that God is sovereign over. How can contemplating God’s sovereignty in these areas help us to have a proper, humble view of ourselves compared to Him?
  1. Taking verses 12-22 into consideration, why do verses 12, 13, and 22 encourage man to “be joyful,” “take pleasure,” and “rejoice” in his toil and work? What is the alternative? How does this relate to what the New Testament says about being joyful in work or difficulties? What impact might your joy have on an unbeliever?
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