Ecclesiastes 9

This is Ecclesiastes 9

Ecclesiastes 9

Ecclesiastes 9:1

1 For all this I considered in my heart even to declare all this, that the righteous, and the wise, and their works, are in the hand of God: no man knoweth either love or hatred by all that is before them.

Ecclesiastes 9:1

There is a group of people whom God loves in a special manner. Ecclesiastes 9:1 describes them as righteous (good) and wise. They are called ‘righteous’ because God forgives their sins. They are called ‘wise’ because they respect God (Job 28:28). “28 And unto man he said, Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom; and to depart from evil is understanding.”

But these people are not better or more clever than everyone else. They belong to this group because they have chosen to believe in and to obey God. They have invited him into their lives. And they have accepted the invitation to learn God’s wisdom (Proverbs 9:1-12). “1 Wisdom hath builded her house, she hath hewn out her seven pillars:

2 She hath killed her beasts; she hath mingled her wine; she hath also furnished her table.

3 She hath sent forth her maidens: she crieth upon the highest places of the city,

4 Whoso is simple, let him turn in hither: as for him that wanteth understanding, she saith to him,

5 Come, eat of my bread, and drink of the wine which I have mingled.

6 Forsake the foolish, and live; and go in the way of understanding.

7 He that reproveth a scorner getteth to himself shame: and he that rebuketh a wicked man getteth himself a blot.

8 Reprove not a scorner, lest he hate thee: rebuke a wise man, and he will love thee.

9 Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be yet wiser: teach a just man, and he will increase in learning.

10 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the Holy is understanding.

11 For by me thy days shall be multiplied, and the years of thy life shall be increased.

12 If thou be wise, thou shalt be wise for thyself: but if thou scornest, thou alone shalt bear it.”

And in this world, born again Christians’ lives seem like everyone else’s lives. The same good and bad events happen during their lives as happen in other people’s lives. They have to deal with success, trouble, illness, accidents and death like everyone else. You would not be able to tell from the events in their lives that they belong to God’s special people. But they are ‘in God’s hands’. That is, God protects them with his special, personal care. You can see the peace and confidence in the very soul of a born again Christian, for they trust in their God in all things.Through all the events and troubles in their lives, God is looking after them. So, really, they are different from other people. The events in their lives may seem to be a matter of luck or chance. But it is God, and not luck or chance, who rules their lives.

Success in a person’s life is not the result of God’s love for that person. Troubles do not show that God hates that person. God wants to show his kindness to everyone (John 3:16). “16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”

God allows everyone, including his own people, to suffer troubles in this world. But during their troubles, God looks after his people in a special manner. God always does what is best for us, even if we object to what He’s doing. We don’t understand at the time, but maybe in Heaven we’ll learn why He put us through the things He did.

Ecclesiastes 9:2

All things come alike to all: there is one event to the righteous, and to the wicked; to the good and to the clean, and to the unclean; to him that sacrificeth, and to him that sacrificeth not: as is the good, so is the sinner; and he that sweareth, as he that feareth an oath.

Ecclesiastes 9:2

People cannot avoid their troubles in this life by means of religion. Even people who have a genuine relationship with God still suffer the same kinds of troubles. All people are alike, and similar things happen to everyone. But some people have always believed that they could save themselves from trouble by means of religion.

That was why many people gave expensive gifts to God. Really, they are trying to pay God for his help. Of course, it is hard to afford such gifts. So some people used a cheaper method. They promised to give their gift to God only if their prayer was successful.

Those gifts and those promises were not a proper use of religion. The correct reason for gifts to God should be to give honor to God. Those people were not giving honor to God – they were trying to control him. And their gifts and promises did not achieve their purpose. You can’t buy off God! All things happen alike to everyone. That is a basic rule in this world, and their gifts did not change anything.

Such people could have learned an important lesson from the religion of unclean people. To them, however, that would have seemed a very strange idea. Unclean people are those people who have separated themselves from other people, often because of a particular illness. Because they were unclean, they could not go to God’s house. So, they could not go to the public ceremonies of religion. But they could still pray in private. They could still have a genuine relationship with God. All people are alike, and even unclean people could be God’s people.

Ecclesiastes 9:3-4

This is an evil among all things that are done under the sun, that there is one event unto all: yea, also the heart of the sons of men is full of evil, and madness is in their heart while they live, and after that they go to the dead.

For to him that is joined to all the living there is hope: for a living dog is better than a dead lion.

Ecclesiastes 9:3-4

Nobody knows what opportunities or difficulties he will have in this world. It all seems to be a matter of chance.

So, many people think that chance rules this world. But the Bible teaches that something much worse than chance has great power in this present world.

It is evil forces run by Satan himself that ruin people’s lives. It is evil desires that fill people’s hearts, minds and souls. And that is why people often do not act in a sensible manner. Those evil forces are real just as Satan is very real and he is powerful. And those evil forces want to send people to hell.

But through their whole lives, people hope that good things will happen to them. Hope is an important part of all our lives. Of course, our evil desires often cause us to hope for wrong things. But hope itself is something good.

For example, most people hope that they will go to Heaven. Until someone actually knows God and is saved by the Blood of Christ, that hope is just a possibility in their mind. It seems a matter of chance. But the hope of Heaven gives some people the opportunity to find out about God. So, they may pray and they may read the Bible. There, they can learn to confess their sins to God and ask forgiveness, and to invite him into their lives. And then their hope becomes certain (Hebrews 6:19). “19 Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and stedfast, and which entereth into that within the veil;”

Lions are bold, impressive animals. Wild dogs are cruel and nasty. But while a dog is alive, someone can teach it to be loyal and to obey instructions. So there is hope even for a wild dog. Someone can change its nature. But nobody can do anything for a dead lion.

People have evil hearts. That is, evil desires fill their minds (Romans 3:10-18). “10 As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one:

11 There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God.

12 They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.

13 Their throat is an open sepulchre; with their tongues they have used deceit; the poison of asps is under their lips:

14 Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness:

15 Their feet are swift to shed blood:

16 Destruction and misery are in their ways:

17 And the way of peace have they not known:

18 There is no fear of God before their eyes.”

But there is still hope: God can change a person completely (2 Corinthians 5:17). “17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.”

However, he will only do that if a person trusts him during this life. Afterwards, it is too late (Luke 16:19-31).”19 There was a certain rich man, which was clothed in purple and fine linen, and fared sumptuously every day:

20 And there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, which was laid at his gate, full of sores,

21 And desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man’s table: moreover the dogs came and licked his sores.

22 And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham’s bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried;

23 And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom.

24 And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame.

25 But Abraham said, Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented.

26 And beside all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed: so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot; neither can they pass to us, that would come from thence.

27 Then he said, I pray thee therefore, father, that thou wouldest send him to my father’s house:

28 For I have five brethren; that he may testify unto them, lest they also come into this place of torment.

29 Abraham saith unto him, They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them.

30 And he said, Nay, father Abraham: but if one went unto them from the dead, they will repent.

31 And he said unto him, If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead.”  

And then people will have lost their opportunity to go to Heaven.

For that reason, Paul urged people that they should trust God to save them now (2 Corinthians 6:2). “2 (For he saith, I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I succoured thee: behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.)”

They must not delay.

Ecclesiastes 9:5-6

For the living know that they shall die: but the dead know not any thing, neither have they any more a reward; for the memory of them is forgotten.

Also their love, and their hatred, and their envy, is now perished; neither have they any more a portion for ever in any thing that is done under the sun.

Ecclesiastes 9:5-6

Life is full of opportunities. However, many people waste the opportunities that God has given to them. They use their lives to satisfy their own evil desires. Or they use their lives to earn profits that can only benefit them in this world. They do nothing to prepare themselves for the time when, after their deaths, God will be their judge.At death, a person’s spirit separates from the body. The body returns to the earth, from which it came. The spirit returns to God from which it came, And God is the judge of all people (Ecclesiastes 12:7).

For born again Christians put their trust in God completely. (Philippians 1:23). “23 For I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better:”

When God forgives someone’s evil deeds, that person receives a right relationship with him. At death, God as judge saves that person from all their sins in this world. God gives his people a home in Heaven, where they will never again know pain, sad feelings or death (Revelation 21:1-4). “1 And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea.

2 And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.

3 And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God.

4 And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.”

But they will not be without knowledge there. In fact, God will make their knowledge complete (1 Corinthians 13:12). “12 For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.”

But it is different for wicked people. God reduces all their knowledge to the most important fact in life: that all people must die. That fact, and that fact alone, is all that matters to a wicked person.Wicked people have no knowledge of God (Psalm 53:1). “1 The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God. Corrupt are they, and have done abominable iniquity: there is none that doeth good.”

They have no knowledge of Gods wisdom (Proverbs 2:6) “6 For the Lord giveth wisdom: out of his mouth cometh knowledge and understanding.”  The wicked know only that they must die. And after they die, they will not even know that.But of course they will then know that God is their judge. Of course they will also know the punishment that they must suffer. It is their knowledge of this world that ends at death. Ecclesiastes 9:6 explains that. Their opportunity to have any part in the affairs of this world has ended.People will not have any friends in hell. At death, their opportunity to show love ended. Nobody will control another person in hell. At death, the opportunity to show hate ended, too. Even the evil desires that control wicked people’s lives end at death. When people cannot still own anything, they cannot desire someone else’s property. All these emotions, which seem so powerful in this world, mean nothing in hell.These facts should give us a strong desire to avoid hell. Do you know the worst punishment those in hell will receive? The answer is to never know or have Jesus Christ. We cannot save ourselves, but God wants to save us. That is why he sent Jesus to suffer death instead of us (John 3:16). “16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”

And that is why God urges us to confess our sins to Christ, and to invite God into our lives.

Ecclesiastes 9:7-10

Go thy way, eat thy bread with joy, and drink thy wine with a merry heart; for God now accepteth thy works.

Let thy garments be always white; and let thy head lack no ointment.

Live joyfully with the wife whom thou lovest all the days of the life of thy vanity, which he hath given thee under the sun, all the days of thy vanity: for that is thy portion in this life, and in thy labour which thou takest under the sun.

10 Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest.

Ecclesiastes 9:7-10

When the Bible warns us, it often does that in a very severe manner. And sometimes we look anxiously for any statement that seems more pleasant. When we do that, we can miss the correct meaning of the passage.

In Ecclesiastes 9:3-6, King Solomon wrote about the effects of death. There he explained his own beliefs about the subject. Then in Ecclesiastes 9:7-10, King Solomon speaks to one particular person.

That man had refused to obey King Solomon’s advice about parties (Ecclesiastes 7:1-6). He (the man) did not want to behave in a serious manner or to think about his own death. He did not consider himself especially evil. He thought that God should approve of his works.

King Solomon’s reply to that man seems almost angry. He tells the man to go away. But the man must not forget that God has only given him a short time for his life in this world. Now, for just that short time, he benefits from God’s kindness.

If he wants, he can use that period of kindness to enjoy himself. It is only a short period, so he must use every moment to make himself happy. But that period of kindness will end at his death. And then God will be the judge of how he used his time on earth (Ecclesiastes 11:9). “9 Rejoice, O young man, in thy youth; and let thy heart cheer thee in the days of thy youth, and walk in the ways of thine heart, and in the sight of thine eyes: but know thou, that for all these things God will bring thee into judgment.”

The man thinks that he can save himself by his works. Then he will have to work very hard! He will have no opportunity to continue that work when he is dead. And he can be sure that he will die.

King Solomon means that the man is wasting his opportunity to know God. The man wants to eat and to drink. He wants to love his wife. He is trying to enjoy his work. Solomon himself had tried all these things (Ecclesiastes 2:4-10). But they achieved nothing worthwhile (Ecclesiastes 2:11). Such behavior does not save anyone from death or from hell.

Ecclesiastes 9:11

11 I returned, and saw under the sun, that the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favour to men of skill; but time and chance happeneth to them all.

Ecclesiastes 9:11

You probably think that the fastest runner will win the race. Certainly, we think he deserves to win. But if he trips, someone else may take the prize.

History proves that the strongest army does not always win the battle. A lack of food or water can ruin the most powerful armies. Soldiers have died because their clothes were not suitable. Armies have lost wars when their captains gave foolish orders.

Clever people are not always wealthy. Wise people do not always get enough food. Often, intelligent people do not get the honor that they deserve. They remain poor and the rulers of their countries make foolish decisions without proper advice.Of course strength and intelligence give some people an advantage over other people, but there is no certainty. There are two other matters that seem much more important for success in this world: time and chance.There seems to be a proper time for everything (Ecclesiastes 3:1-8). A person’s best efforts can fail merely because he acted at the wrong moment. But even when a person acts at the right time, success still seems a matter of chance. Events, such as accidents and opportunities, just happen and nobody can control them (Ecclesiastes 9:1-3).We cannot really depend on anything in this world, because nothing is certain. That is why the Bible constantly urges us to trust God. He will not disappoint us like the things in this world will. His people can trust him completely (Psalm 62:1-2); “1 Truly my soul waiteth upon God: from him cometh my salvation.

2 He only is my rock and my salvation; he is my defense; I shall not be greatly moved.”

(Psalm 46:1-10). “46 God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.

2 Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea;

3 Though the waters thereof roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof. Selah.

4 There is a river, the streams whereof shall make glad the city of God, the holy place of the tabernacles of the

Most High.

5 God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved: God shall help her, and that right early.

6 The heathen raged, the kingdoms were moved: he uttered his voice, the earth melted.

7 The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah.

8 Come, behold the works of the Lord, what desolations he hath made in the earth.

9 He maketh wars to cease unto the end of the earth; he breaketh the bow, and cutteth the spear in sunder; he burneth the chariot in the fire.

10 Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth.”

Ecclesiastes 9:12

12 For man also knoweth not his time: as the fishes that are taken in an evil net, and as the birds that are caught in the snare; so are the sons of men snared in an evil time, when it falleth suddenly upon them.

Ecclesiastes 9:12

Trouble happens suddenly. If we were ready for trouble, then we would try to avoid it. But often, there was nothing that we could have done to protect ourselves. And then we feel like a fish in the net or a bird in a trap. We are desperate, but we cannot escape.

Often, we complain that we did not deserve our troubles. Usually, that is true. Trouble is often not the result of bad behavior, even as success is often not a reward for good behavior. These things seem to happen by chance. Such events do not happen in a fair manner.

In the Bible, we find a clear example of this experience in the Book of Job. Job was a rich man who suddenly lost both his wealth and his family. Soon afterwards, he lost his health.

Job did not deserve his troubles. He was a good man who served God (Job 1:6-12). “6 Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan came also among them.

7 And the Lord said unto Satan, Whence comest thou? Then Satan answered the Lord, and said, From going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it.

8 And the Lord said unto Satan, Hast thou considered my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil?

9 Then Satan answered the Lord, and said, Doth Job fear God for nought?

10 Hast not thou made an hedge about him, and about his house, and about all that he hath on every side? thou hast blessed the work of his hands, and his substance is increased in the land.

11 But put forth thine hand now, and touch all that he hath, and he will curse thee to thy face.

12 And the Lord said unto Satan, Behold, all that he hath is in thy power; only upon himself put not forth thine hand. So Satan went forth from the presence of the Lord.”

And also in (Job 2:1-7) “1 Again there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan came also among them to present himself before the Lord.

2 And the Lord said unto Satan, From whence comest thou? And Satan answered the Lord, and said, From going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it.

3 And the Lord said unto Satan, Hast thou considered my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil? and still he holdeth fast his integrity, although thou movedst me against him, to destroy him without cause.

4 And Satan answered the Lord, and said, Skin for skin, yea, all that a man hath will he give for his life.

5 But put forth thine hand now, and touch his bone and his flesh, and he will curse thee to thy face.

6 And the Lord said unto Satan, Behold, he is in thine hand; but save his life.

7 So went Satan forth from the presence of the Lord, and smote Job with sore boils from the sole of his foot unto his crown.”

But even Job’s friends like Job himself didn’t understand why this was happening to Job, they all thought that Job had done something terribly wrong to deserve those troubles (Job 22:4-15). “4 Will he reprove thee for fear of thee? will he enter with thee into judgment?

5 Is not thy wickedness great? and thine iniquities infinite?

6 For thou hast taken a pledge from thy brother for nought, and stripped the naked of their clothing.

7 Thou hast not given water to the weary to drink, and thou hast withholden bread from the hungry.

8 But as for the mighty man, he had the earth; and the honorable man dwelt in it.

9 Thou hast sent widows away empty, and the arms of the fatherless have been broken.

10 Therefore snares are round about thee, and sudden fear troubleth thee;

11 Or darkness, that thou canst not see; and abundance of waters cover thee.

12 Is not God in the height of heaven? and behold the height of the stars, how high they are!

13 And thou sayest, How doth God know? can he judge through the dark cloud?

14 Thick clouds are a covering to him, that he seeth not; and he walketh in the circuit of heaven.

15 Hast thou marked the old way which wicked men have trodden?”

As we see Job’s troubles did not happen by chance. They were the result of an evil plan that the devil made on purpose seen in Job 1:6-12; Job 2:1-7. God allowed it because Job’s loyal and sincere reaction would bring honor to God.

Our troubles may happen for various reasons, but our reaction should always be to trust God. It is God’s desire to forgive us when we confess our wrong deeds to him (Exodus 34:7). “7 Keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, and that will by no means clear the guilty; visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, and upon the children’s children, unto the third and to the fourth generation.”

It is God’s desire to save us when we humbly request his help (Jonah 2:9); “9 But I will sacrifice unto thee with the voice of thanksgiving; I will pay that that I have vowed. Salvation is of the Lord.”

David turned to the Lord in (Psalm 124:7-8). “7 Our soul is escaped as a bird out of the snare of the fowlers: the snare is broken, and we are escaped.

8 Our help is in the name of the Lord, who made heaven and earth.”

Ecclesiastes 9:13-15

13 This wisdom have I seen also under the sun, and it seemed great unto me:

14 There was a little city, and few men within it; and there came a great king against it, and besieged it, and built great bulwarks against it:

15 Now there was found in it a poor wise man, and he by his wisdom delivered the city; yet no man remembered that same poor man.

Ecclesiastes 9:13-15

This little story is as beautiful as it is impressive.

The results of the battle seemed certain. The king led a strong army that had surrounded the city. The city’s inhabitants were too few to defend their city. Although the city had defenses, the soldiers had already built up piles of earth to get past those defenses. Now they were just waiting for the king’s order to enter the city and to kill its inhabitants.

Solomon has told us that strong people do not always win battles. It can seem as if everything in life happens by chance (Ecclesiastes 9:11). But it was not chance that saved this city. It was the wisdom of one poor man whom nobody respected.

We do not know what this poor man did. But there is an account of a similar incident in 2 Samuel 20:14-22. There, a wise woman saved her city.

King Solomon tells this story to prove that wisdom is better than strength (Ecclesiastes 9:16). Although people do not usually respect wisdom, wisdom is actually more valuable than any other quality (Proverbs 3:13-18). “13 Happy is the man that findeth wisdom, and the man that getteth understanding.

14 For the merchandise of it is better than the merchandise of silver, and the gain thereof than fine gold.

15 She is more precious than rubies: and all the things thou canst desire are not to be compared unto her.

16 Length of days is in her right hand; and in her left hand riches and honor.

17 Her ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace.

18 She is a tree of life to them that lay hold upon her: and happy is every one that retaineth her.”

That is so because true wisdom comes from God Himself (Proverbs 2:6). “6 For the Lord giveth wisdom: out of his mouth cometh knowledge and understanding.”

Wisdom may not give a person wealth or honor. But even in this world, some things are more important than wealth and honor. Wisdom saved that city; wisdom rescued its inhabitants.

The results of another type of battle seemed certain, too. Evil forces are so strong that they control the whole world as a prisoner (Galatians 3:22). “22 But the scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe.”

But wisdom is more powerful than strength. And God’s wisdom is more powerful than the strength of those evil forces.

People laughed at Christ’s death (Mark 15:29-32). “29 And they that passed by railed on him, wagging their heads, and saying, Ah, thou that destroyest the temple, and buildest it in three days,

30 Save thyself, and come down from the cross.

31 Likewise also the chief priests mocking said among themselves with the scribes, He saved others; himself he cannot save.

32 Let Christ the King of Israel descend now from the cross, that we may see and believe. And they that were crucified with him reviled him.”

In their opinion, his death was foolish; it showed his weakness. But that was not weakness: it was God’s wisdom (1 Corinthians 1:22-25). “22 For the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom:

23 But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness;

24 But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God.

25 Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men.”

Even as the wisdom of the man in the story saved his city, so Christ’s wisdom saves his people (1 Corinthians 1:18). “18 For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.”

Christ’s wisdom saves them from the devil (Hebrews 2:14). “14 Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil;”

And Christ’s wisdom saves them from the evil forces that control this world (Hebrews 2:15). “15 And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.”

The people in the city did not remember the man who saved them. In the same manner, the people in this world did not recognize Christ’s wisdom (1 Corinthians 2:7-8); “7 But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory:

8 Which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.”

(John 1:10). “10 He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not.”

But we can receive Him into our lives. We can believe and trust in Him (John 1:12). “12 But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:”

And if we do these things, He will save us (John 3:16-17). “16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.”

Ecclesiastes 9:16

16 Then said I, Wisdom is better than strength: nevertheless the poor man’s wisdom is despised, and his words are not heard.

Ecclesiastes 9:16

This particular wise man saved his city by his wisdom (Ecclesiastes 9:13-15). He deserved a great reward, but he received none. He remained poor. He did not become well-known; in fact, people forgot him. And even the people whom he had rescued did not respect him. They refused to listen to his advice. They hated his wisdom.Wisdom is not like other qualities that people may have, such as strength or wealth. Other people always respect a strong man because they are afraid of him. And although people often hate a rich man, they still desire to be rich like him.But wisdom rarely impresses people. People are more likely to laugh at a wise man than to praise him.The problem is that good advice is rarely popular. In fact, it is often the opposite of what people want to hear. For example, think about the things that a wise person should say about God. That person should say that people’s sins offend God (Romans 3:10-18). “10 As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one:

11 There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God.

12 They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.

13 Their throat is an open sepulchre; with their tongues they have used deceit; the poison of asps is under their lips:

14 Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness:

15 Their feet are swift to shed blood:

16 Destruction and misery are in their ways:

17 And the way of peace have they not known:

18 There is no fear of God before their eyes.”

He should explain that all people have done wrong things against God’s law (Ecclesiastes 7:20). He should tell people that, at the proper time, God will certainly be their judge (Ecclesiastes 3:17; Ecclesiastes 12:14). People cannot save themselves by their own efforts; only God can save them (Romans 6:23). “23 For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”

That is not popular advice, but it is all true.It should not surprise us that wise words cause people to feel uncomfortable. If people were already wise, then they would not need wise advice. The wise person must advise people who lack wisdom. So of course they do not agree with that advice.Often, people will only listen to wise advice when they are very desperate. That is what happened in the city in Ecclesiastes 9:13-15. Before the city was in danger, nobody cared about the wise man. Afterwards, nobody remembered him. But when the danger was greatest, the people were willing to follow his advice. And so, by his wisdom, he saved their city.That is the experience of many Christians today. When they speak God’s message, they are declaring his wisdom. But usually, few people are willing to follow their advice (Matthew 7:13-14). “13 Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat:

14 Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.”

Many people will not trust God until everything else in their lives has failed, and then it may be too late.

Ecclesiastes 9:17-18

17 The words of wise men are heard in quiet more than the cry of him that ruleth among fools.

18 Wisdom is better than weapons of war: but one sinner destroyeth much good.

Ecclesiastes 9:17-18

One wise person can save an entire city (Ecclesiastes 9:13-15), and one foolish ruler can destroy an entire city.The foolish ruler shouts because he wants to get people’s attention. He is trying to convince his friends and to frighten his enemies. He speaks bold words because he wants his soldiers to be bold in their battle. He acts in a wild manner as he tries desperately to control their sense of fear.But the wise person does not need to speak loudly as he gives his advice. He talks in a sensible manner because he wants people to be sensible. He appeals to their intelligence, not their emotions. And he is not trying to control anyone; he is trying to teach them the truth. The truth can save a person (John 8:32); “32 And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”

The shouts of a foolish ruler cannot save anyone.That is why wisdom is better than the soldier’s weapons (military arms). Wisdom is better than strength (Ecclesiastes 9:16). A poor man who is wise can save his city from a vast army (Ecclesiastes 9:13-15).Sinners are people who do wrong and evil things. The Bible considers sinners to be fools, because they do not follow God’s wisdom. By their evil deeds, they oppose the good things that God does. And so they cause trouble for themselves and for other people, too.

We are all sinners (Ecclesiastes 7:20), but we still have the opportunity to discover God’s wisdom (Job 28:1-11). “1 Surely there is a vein for the silver, and a place for gold where they fine it.

2 Iron is taken out of the earth, and brass is molten out of the stone.

3 He setteth an end to darkness, and searcheth out all perfection: the stones of darkness, and the shadow of death.

4 The flood breaketh out from the inhabitant; even the waters forgotten of the foot: they are dried up, they are gone away from men.

5 As for the earth, out of it cometh bread: and under it is turned up as it were fire.

6 The stones of it are the place of sapphires: and it hath dust of gold.

7 There is a path which no fowl knoweth, and which the vulture’s eye hath not seen:

8 The lion’s whelps have not trodden it, nor the fierce lion passed by it.

9 He putteth forth his hand upon the rock; he overturneth the mountains by the roots.

10 He cutteth out rivers among the rocks; and his eye seeth every precious thing.

11 He bindeth the floods from overflowing; and the thing that is hid bringeth he forth to light.”

We cannot find wisdom in our own thoughts, because true wisdom only comes from God (Proverbs 2:6). “6 For the Lord giveth wisdom: out of his mouth cometh knowledge and understanding.”

But if we respect God, he can teach us to be wise (Ecclesiastes 12:13); “13 Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man.”

(Proverbs 9:10). “10 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding.”

I will be posting the 12 chapters of the Book of Ecclesiastes one chapter at a time on my blog. Look on the blog for new postings of new chapters as I post them. I am using bold text for the Word of God from the King James Version Bible as it is written. I will use italic for my commentary below the chapters and verses from the book of Ecclesiastes, This commentary is how I help people understand what is written in the Bible

All glory to God

His humble servant Lee M Buchanan