SUGGESTED VERSES FOR MEMORIZATION & MEDITATION
Ecclesiastes 3:1 | For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven
Ecclesiastes 3:11 | 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.
There is no book, inside or outside the Bible, like Ecclesiastes. The Preacher, likely Solomon, writes Ecclesiastes in order to analyze life under the sun for any lasting meaning, joy, and purpose. His answer is that all of it is a vanity, with no more substance than a breath of air. All who live will die. Most will be forgotten, and of those who are remembered, what gain does that remembrance bring them in the grave? If all of that sounds rather depressing, rest assured that Solomon also points us to the hope that breaks into the bleakness of our lives.
Up to this point, Solomon has described his journey to find meaning through wisdom and knowledge. Despite wisdom and knowledge being very good things, Solomon found that they still left him none the more satisfied with life without Divine interference. Then, since knowledge and wisdom failed him, Solomon sought the opposite: folly. In the previous chapter, the Israelite king described how he partied, spent, and lived grander than any man that has ever lived. Yet when the hangovers wore off, when the elaborate monuments were completed, when he had run out of fantasies, Solomon was just as empty as before. His ardent pursuit of pleasure gave his life no deep sense of purpose or meaning. It was vanity.
The third chapter of Ecclesiastes begins with one of the most famous poems of the Bible. This poem muses on the back and forth, give and take nature of time. Good things happen as well as bad things. Some seasons of life are pleasant, while others are bitter. This is simply how life works, and no one is exempt from life’s shifting rhythms of time. The greatest advice that the author can give us, therefore, is to stop battling against the inevitable and start enjoying the lot of life that God has given each of us.
Read Ecclesiastes 3 and discuss the following.
- Which verses stood out most to you as you read Ecclesiastes 3 this week? Why? What do these verses teach you about who God is?
- Verses 1-8 form a poetic musing on time under the sun. What most resonates with you in this poem? What points does Solomon seem to be making about how we relate to time?
- How do verses 9-22 serve as a commentary on the opening poem?
- How have you experienced the feeling of having eternity in your heart?
- How is eating, drinking, and taking pleasure in our toil different from saying “let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die?”
Because all Scripture profits us through teaching, reproving, correcting, and training us, reflect upon the studied text, and ask yourself the following questions about the present text.
- What has God taught you about Himself?
- What sin is God convicting or reproving you of?
- How is God correcting you?
- How is God training and equipping you for righteousness?