Continuing with our study of Ecclesiastes:
Eccl. 3:9-11 What profit hath he that worketh in that wherein he laboureth? I have seen the travail, which God hath given to the sons of men to be exercised in it. He hath made every thing beautiful in his time: also he hath set the world in their heart, so that no man can find out the work that God maketh from the beginning to the end.
In recognition of all that is a part of life, Solomon still wants to know what ‘s the purpose of it all. He understands that God is the source of life and that He is the one that has set in motion the natural process that are a part of our life. He understands that God has a purpose for the things that are part of our life. Everything in the life of the child of God becomes “beautiful in His time.”
I liked the CJB translation of the last part of verse 11: “…He has given human beings an awareness of eternity; but in such a way that they can’t fully comprehend, from beginning to end, the things God does.”
The Hebrew for “world” is a reference to eternity. We have a divinely implanted understanding of our Creator as testified through the creation. The Holy Spirit affirmed this truth through the Apostle Paul.
Romans 1:19-20 “Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them. For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse….”
Whether we choose to admit it or not, we also have an understanding of God as eternal and that our being is eternal as well. The historical record of heathen cultures evidence belief in life after death. The fact that they created idols of false gods is indicative of their understanding of a supreme being positioned outside of time. In doing a little research I found an interesting argument from primitive man’s perspective in an article by Professor Peter Kreeft at www.leaderu.com/truth/1truth28.html.
“Primitive Man has two cows. One dies. What is the difference between Dead Cow and Live Cow? Primitive man looks. (He's really quite bright.) There appears no material difference in size or weight immediately upon death. Yet there is an enormous difference; something is missing. What? Life, of course. And what is that? The answer is obvious to any intelligent observer whose head is not clouded with theories: life is what makes Live Cow breathe. Life is breath. (The word for 'soul', or 'life', and 'breath' is the same in many ancient languages.) Soul is not air, which is still in Dead Cow's lungs, but the power to move it.”
The article posted several other logical arguments evidencing the immaterial part of our being such as mind over matter, recognizing that “I am more than my body,” etc. That immaterial part of our being that we call our soul/spirit is what connects with the eternal nature of God. I could really get side-tracked following up the research on this subject in glancing at titles in the search results.
We have an innate recognition that the works of God are far beyond our ability to understand, and scripture declares this truth.
Isaiah 55:8-9 “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.”
Eccl. 3:12-13 I know that there is no good in them, but for a man to rejoice, and to do good in his life. And also that every man should eat and drink, and enjoy the good of all his labour, it is the gift of God.
The KJV is a bit confusing, but other translations clarify that Solomon is concluding that the best approach to life is to enjoy the works of God. He should take pleasure in doing good things and recognize that the ability to enjoy the fruits of one’s labor is in itself a gift of God.
I think that is an important truth to grasp in light of difficult times. We should focus on the blessings of God and be thankful for the abilities He has given us to be able to provide for our families and ourselves.