Today’s bible study is Ecclesiastes 3:14: I know that, whatsoever God doeth, it shall be forever: nothing can be put to it, nor any thing taken from it: and God doeth it, that men should fear before him.
This is one of the more difficult and challenging scripture passages to understand, primarily because there are several seemingly disconnected thoughts being presented in a very short verse. We are told that whatever God does will be forever. Then we are told that nothing can be taken from it, and, finally, that men (humankind) should fear before God. This is quite difficult to consider as one coherent thought.
Looking into the Book of Ecclesiastes helps us to yield some answers that might be very helpful in our comprehension. The third chapter of Ecclesiastes is telling us, in a nutshell, that one cannot find the right time to act. Not only does God fix the standard and dispense satisfaction, but He also appoints seasons and times. Earthly pursuits are good in their proper place and time, but unprofitable when pursued as the chief goal.
Earthly pursuits are unprofitable when considered as life’s chief good, which was never intended by God.
Every activity or event for which a culmination point may be fixed means everything. That which is fitting or appropriate is considered to mean beautiful. Even in a cursed universe, activity need not be meaningless. Its futility lies in the fickle satisfaction of man and his failure to trust the wisdom of sovereign God. God made men (and women) for His eternal purpose and nothing in the time after the Fall can bring them the complete satisfaction that eternity in the presence of God will bring. Today’s verse speaks of all things bright and beautiful. These words capture the goal of Solomon’s message which he echoes and elaborates on again and again.
In accepting everything as a gift of his creator, even in a cursed world, redeemed man (and woman) is enabled to see good in all the works of God.
Finally, we are cautioned to fear before Him. Acknowledging God’s enduring and perfect work becomes grounds for reverence, worship, and meaning. Apart from God, man’s works are inadequate. Fear, as expressed here, is not similar to one’s fear or heights or public speaking. It is, rather, a wonder and awe. It is standing in the presence of or giving recognition to something incredibly awe inspiring and majestic.
You might also like to read:
- Broad Brook Bible Study Examiner, Grace Dooley
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- Atlanta Bible Study Examiner, Donna Sundblad
- Kentucky Bible Study Examiner, Timothy Edwards
- Bible Verse of the Day
- Daily Bible Guide
- Growing in Christ
- Bible Study Tools Online
- The Jesus Walk Bible Study Series
If you enjoyed this bible study, you can find more at Sharon's Columbia Biblical Studies Examiner homepage.