R. What does the worker gain from his toil? I have seen the burden of God laid on men, He has made everything beautiful in its time. He also set eternity in the hearts of men, yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end. I know that there is nothing better for men than to be happy and do good where they live. That everyone may eat and drink and find satisfaction in his toil-this is the gift of God. I know that everything God does will endure forever, nothing can be added to it and nothing taken from it. God does it so that men will revere Him…and I saw something else under the sun; in the place of judgment – wickedness was there, in the place of justice – wickedness was there. Ecc 3:9-15
E. This all comes after Solomon says there is a time for everything. God has planned everything. We are supposed to do good and be happy wherever we are. What dies that even mean? Solomon knows it is the desire of our hearts to find meaning in our work. He also knows that God created eternity and we can’t and won’t understand it on this earth. It is a promise that he has made everything beautiful in its time. I think this is difficult to come to terms with—that yes…our toil is meaningless…and just lean on eternity! Solomon was so much wiser that I imagine, and was probably that much more burdened by these truths. And he still trusted in them, understanding that God was more than the wisdom he could think up with his own mind. I think we often toil in our work.
A. We feel confused by if we’re doing the right thing, and burdened by attempting to toil with meaningful work, and not let it be meaningless. But Solomon seems to understand that it all can seem meaningless when shone under the light of eternity that is God. God places eternity and eternal desires on our hearts though we will never fully understand them. Maybe that is why the grass is always implacably greener on the other side? Because we are always seeking to understand more, to become closer to that end-promise of eternity. God does all of this so that we will see that on our own, our toils are meaningless. He does it so that we will revere him. That seems simple enough. He does all of these things, he creates all of these iniquities, and all so we will turn to him. So we will ask why, so we will not try to do this on our own, because we are not made to. Solomon recognizes that in place of righteous judgment and justice there is just wickedness. Our sin has bore nasty wickedness that is the cause for hurt and pain and injustice in this world. So it seems as though we’re not supposed to understand everything, but we’re supposed to lean on the promise of eternity. Looking back through all of this, it seems kind of ridiculous that I try to understand the meaning in everything that God does and that I can’t just rest in the fact that He has all knowledge and all power. It is a bit pretentious that I think my small mind, in my small body, in a city in a state, in a country, on a continent, on a planet, in a huge, huge universe, could easily comprehend the plans of the God of the universe.