v9: What is all our labour/work going to bring about in the end?
v10: G-d- given task: G-d-given matter (or burden). The word translated ‘task’ is a word that can be related to something which is troublesome or afflicting. This is not saying that G-d likes to heap affliction on people. Within the context it is telling us that G-d wants us to be discerning as we go through these seasons (sometimes difficult, sometimes easier) so that we know how to respond in the proper way. When we don’t respond properly, these seasons are going to become more burdensome to us. When we respond in the right way (demonstrating discernment) we will be instruments that manifest G-d’s glory.
- Sons of men: Human beings.
v11: Beautiful: Appropriate. Pleasing. Every season (including the seasons of death, breaking down, mourning etc) can be beautiful if handled in a G-d pleasing (discerning) way. G-d can use every season to manifest His glory.
- Eternity: This is a word that can be used in three different ways: it has to do with the world, with all of time, or with the Kingdom.
- Eternity in their hearts: A desire for significance (something lasting or eternal, something more) has been placed in every person’s heart. Ultimately G-d has not created us for this world, but He has created us for His coming Kingdom – a Kingdom where this desire will be satisfied (for those who are IN Messiah) in fellowship with Him.
- Noone can find out: We cannot find this eternal quality on our own – with our own intellect, or with the best knowledge and wisdom that man can muster up.
- The work that G-d does from beginning to end: From beginning to end G-d has created perfection (Ps 18:30). We, however, don’t see from beginning to end. Right now, we only see little parts of the whole. The only way that we can discern the end is through understanding prophetic events. As an end time people, we need to discern the season we are in (through the Prophetic Scripture) so that we can understand and respond appropriately in our generation (1 Chron 12:32, Dan 12:10, Dan 3:3). G-d does things with the beginning and the end in mind. We’re unable to understand it, in and of ourselves.
v12: I know: Solomon has experienced this and knows it from experience. It’s not just theoretical knowledge.
v13: Eat and drink: Have fellowship. Understand the significance of being able to spend time with people (Heb 10:24-25). We need interaction. We should seek people and fellowship with them, be an influence in their lives.
- Good of all his labour: Good = the will of G-d. Everything we do needs to be brought under the authority and will of G-d.
v14: Whatever G-d does it shall be forever: This is another big statement that Solomon is making. G-d always does things for the purpose of eternity (whatever He does always has Kingdom implications to it). This is a great help to us. When we make decisions, we need to ask ourselves if what we decide to do will be eternally significant or insignificant. If we want to do things that are eternally significant we need to be participating with G-d – what He does He does for eternity (for His Kingdom).
- Nothing can be added to it, and nothing taken from it: 2 Sam 22:31, Ps 18:30. It is G-d who establishes things. We cannot alter or add anything to what He has established. His Kingdom is righteous. We cannot make it more or less righteous depending on our participation in it. However, He invites us to serve alongside Him in His Kingdom. We cannot bring a change to His Kingdom, but we have the privilege of fulfilling what G-d has called us to be within it as we participate with Him. He gets all the glory, but we share in serving with Him (not because He needs us but because He allows us the privilege of participating/serving with Him). Our participation with G-d doesn’t change Him, but it makes the world of difference for us (and in the lives of others around us) – serving Him eternally changes us and leads to us being blessed for eternity (2 Chron 15:7).
v15: That which is has already been: Speaking of those cycles again. Solomon is warning us not to get caught up in the world because it just repeats itself – like a merry-go-round, it never seems to reach its destination. If we put everything into this world (this merry-go-round) and we never have a plan on how to exit it (ie.meaning to enter into the Kingdom of G-d) then our entire lives would have been lived in futility, in vain.
- G-d requires an account of what is past: G-d is going to require an accounting from all of us (on all the things we pursued, our interests etc).