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Ecclesiastes Devotional Guide: Week 10

*Every week during our 12 week series in the book of Ecclesiastes we will post a devotional guide that week for the passage that was preached on the most recent Sunday. We encourage you to engage this book of the Bible more fully by walking through this devotional each week after having listened to the sermon on Sunday.*

Week 10- Ecclesiastes 11:7-12:8

Our culture is really bad at remembering. We are so quick to jump from one distraction to another that we forget to keep certain truths before us. Our desires for what is easy and entertaining often hinder us from regularly remaining aware of the realities of life, death, suffering, eternity, God’s sovereignty, and the gospel. But wisdom would have us continually keep these truths in the forefront of our minds.

Solomon calls us to remembrance in Ecclesiastes 11:7-12:8. The first thing he tells us to remember is to enjoy life (Eccl. 11:7-8a, 9-10). While much of Ecclesiastes is a somber treatment on the difficulties of life in a fallen world, there are multiple “joy” passages interspersed throughout where Solomon charges the reader to thank God for the good gifts He has given to us and to enjoy those things to God’s glory. Things we should enjoy include food, drink, work, possessions, marriage, and just life in general as we rejoice in all the years the Lord gives to us (Eccl. 11:8). And we can do this because all things God gives us are good gifts, and every life circumstance he ordains is “beautiful” (Eccl. 3:11) because it comes from His hand. Solomon says that all people should “walk in the ways of your heart and in the desire of your eyes” (Eccl. 11:9). Far from promoting hedonism, this verse reiterates what Solomon has already said throughout this book: we should come to God in faith and be satisfied in Him alone, and after this we will be able to truly enjoy the gifts He gives us. God delights to gives us good gifts in this life to rejoice in! But rather than remember these truths we often forget to live our lives. We are so focused on either the past or the future that we can’t thank God for all that He gives us and enjoy life to His glory now. We must remember to live our lives by thanking God for His goodness and provision and living boldly to magnify the name of Christ.

But we must also remember that “for all these things God will bring you to judgment” (Eccl. 11:9). Not only are there consequences in this life for our actions, but we will all stand before the judgment seat of God and give Him an account for how we lived our lives (Rom. 14:10-12). God is holy, righteous, and just, and will judge each person in keeping with His character and His revealed word. This should cause us to seriously reflect on how we have chosen to live our lives. But for those of us who have placed our faith in Christ we need not fret or fear. All of our sins, shortcomings, and mistakes were paid for by Christ at the cross. So, when we stand before God’s judgment seat He will approve of our lives because He has approved of the life, death, and resurrection of Christ, and what is Christ’s is now ours through faith. And rather than allow this truth to give us a pass on living wisely and doing good works, the gospel sets us free to do good works (Eph. 2:8-10). May we remember with Paul that “to live is Christ” and enjoy every second of our lives to the glory of Christ by being satisfied in Him and generous with all that He has given us. And may we profess that “to die is gain” because not only will we be approved of by God and welcomed into heaven at death, but we get to be with Jesus for all eternity.

But while we are living our lives with rejoicing because of Christ, we must also remember that dark days will come (Eccl. 11:8b; 12:1-2). Suffering is a fact of life in a fallen world and affects every living person. No one makes it through life unscathed. We would be wise to remember that though the sun may be brightly shining on our lives now, eventually the clouds will roll in and darkness will fall. A wide variety of life circumstances bring difficulties and dark days, one of those being advancing in years and experiencing the natural trials that accompany old age (Eccl. 12:3-8). All of these realities are laid before us as we get nearer everyday to death when our “spirit returns to God who gave it” (Eccl. 12:7).

Therefore, it is wise to “remember your Creator in the days of your youth: before the days of adversity come…” (Eccl. 12:1). True wisdom is humbly coming to God in reverence, awe, and worship recognizing that He is God and we are not. We should be rightly related to God through Christ, and rightly related to the world He has created and placed us in. We should live this way no matter what because it is the best way to live, but we would be wise to establish this strong foundation of faith and trust based on our knowledge of who God is before trials come so that they will not undo us. If we remember God now we will plant deep roots of faith that will allow us to stand when suffering hits. We may sway a bit under the weight of our trials but we will not fall over because we are firmly rooted in Jesus.

May we be quick to remember all of these truths and fight the ways that we are prone to forget them. May we be content in Christ and desire above all else to honor Jesus in both life and death (Rom. 14:7-8). May we remember the beauty of salvation by grace through faith every day, and not only enjoy all of God’s gifts, but generously give of our gifts to glorify Him and bless others. May we be constantly pursuing Christ now and establishing a strong foundation of faith to sustain us when trials come, and to be a rock for others as we bear their burdens when they face trials (Gal. 6:2). May we remember that we will one day die and enter into eternity, but may we not fear death or eternity because our hope is secure in Christ. And may these realities be ever before us so that we live every single day to magnify the name of Jesus on the earth!

“Oh, the fullness, pleasure, sheer excitement of knowing God on earth!”

“I seek not a long life, but a full one, like you Lord Jesus.”

-Jim Elliot

Reflection Questions

How are you prone to forget these truths on a daily basis? How can you look to Jesus to help you remember to keep them on the forefront of your mind?

What thoughts, desires, or concerns are keeping you from boldly living your life to the fullest for Christ right now? Pray that God would help you to be satisfied in Christ alone and rejoice in the life He has graciously chosen to give you.

How can you be growing stronger and more confident in your faith now so that you will be able to withstand future trials?

What distractions exist in your life that hinder you from living for Christ to the fullest? Establish a plan to minimize these distractions and make time for more important things.

Supplemental Reading

1 John 1

Formational Practice

Take time every morning this week to pray through the Lord’s Prayer found in Matthew 6:9-13. This will help us to start off each day by remembering important truths—God is our good Father, He is holy and we are to live rightly recognizing His holiness, we desire to see God’s Kingdom come on the earth in greater measure, and God provides for us and gives us good gifts in life.

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