The Book of Ecclesiastes Bible Study Chapter 8 Part 1

We begin this week by looking at Eccl 8:1-9

v1: Interpretation of a thing (A word or matter): In every season of our lives there is a necessary response from us. Sometimes we need to get involved but sometimes we need to back off from it. We need to have wisdom in order to discern the matters that are presented to us. Daily we are presented with opportunities and if we behave wisely they can be a great blessing in our lives. If we don’t act wisely we are going to waste time, waste resources etc 

  • Make his face shine: This is not just speaking about illumination but is a Hebrew idiom in regard to blessing (Num 6:25). Wisdom is key in assisting us to live lives that reflect the purposes of G-d – being a source of blessing to others. 
  • Sternness: Better translated ‘power’ or ‘strength’. It is also a Hebrew idiom that speaks of determination. When we have wisdom that is originated from G-d it is going to give us determination to persevere in being a source of blessing to others. 

v2: Here, many people think that Solomon is speaking about his father (King David) and how he responded to him.  

  • Keep: This is a strong word in the Hebrew. Not only does it mean to obey, but it also means to place proper value on the king’s word as it is significant. 
  • King’s commandment…oath to G-d: Solomon is tying the word of the king with the oath to G-d. Heb 6:18 tells us that G-d cannot lie. David submitted to his father as if he was hearing the very promise from G-d. Those who are wise are going to demonstrate this wisdom by living obedient lives. 

v3: Do not be hasty to go from his presence: This could be talking about the king or about G-d (the King of kings). We want to remain in their presence for as long as possible. 

  • Do not take your stand for an evil thing: When we are in an evil situation (in a position contrary to the will of G-d) we need to flee. 
  • He does whatever pleases him: We want to know what G-d is desiring, what His plans are for the future, so that we can be a part of what’s going on. We can only find this out in His Presence. 

v4: Noone is able to hinder, thwart or stop what the king is up to. It is the king who is in charge, and his word is carried out/done. In the same way, we need to recognise G-d’s authority in our lives and respond in obedience to it. 

v5: Keep his command: When we are obedient to the Word/commands of G-d it keeps evil (the influence, power etc of those things which are contrary to the Word of G-d) away from us. In contrast to this: when we disobey the Word of G-d it is an invitation to allow evil into our lives. It’s our choice. 

  • Time and judgement: We may know something, but we need to have sensitivity and discernment of how to put that knowledge into action at the right time. A wise man knows when and how to administer wisdom.  

v6: There is a time and judgement (for every desire/matter): G-d understands our needs.  According to His perfect timing G-d will fulfil these needs. He also uses the proper methodology (judgment) in order to meet these needs in His perfect time (Phil 4:11-12). 

  • The misery of man increases: One of the consequences of doing things contrary to the will of G-d will cause this to be our lot in life. 

v7: There is no natural revelation in this world. If we want to know what is going to happen in the future we have a prophetic voice in Scripture. One of the things that G-d does is to prepare us (often, prophetically) for what will be. It is when we are obedient to G-d that He will give us greater revelation of what will be. If we are not living in obedience to the Word of G-d it is going to leave us miserably unprepared for the future. 

v8: Noone has power over the spirit: This is speaking about the fact that we cannot control the wind (and nor can we grasp it or take hold of it).  In the spiritual sense (‘Ruach’ also speaks about the Holy Spirit), if we cannot control something then we need to learn to submit to it. When it comes to spiritual things we are never in control. It is only as we submit to the Holy Spirit and to His leadership in our lives that we are going to be positioned to know what G-d is up to. 

  • Noone has power in the day of death: We need to be living today in the same way we would live if we knew we were going to die tomorrow – wisely, because the time is short (1 Cor 7:29). 
  • There is no discharge in that war: The time for diplomacy is before a war. Once a war starts the diplomats are done until there is a victory. A war needs to be fought until it is over, until it has been won. We are in a spiritual war and we cannot send out diplomats to change things – it cannot be done. The time for that has passed. We fight until the war is over (ie the Kingdom has been established) or the day of our death. 
  • Wickedness will not deliver those who are given to it: Wickedness will never bring about deliverance for those it rules over. Wickedness is a formula for defeat or for being overcome. In contrast, obedience leads to overcoming, being overcomers. 

v9: All this I have seen: Solomon, rather than understanding the principles of the Kingdom, paid attention to the full spectrum of life, in this world, as he wanted to understand it. This world is temporal and is going to be judged by G-d. It is not so important for us to understand the ways of the world, but when we understand the ways of the Kingdom and we demonstrate it in this world it is a formula for spiritual success or maturity. 

  • One man rules over another to his own hurt: In this world people want to rule over other people. When we want to exert our will over the lives of others (exalt ourselves) it leads to our own demise. 

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