Indeed, if a man should live many years, let him rejoice in them all, and let him remember the days of darkness, for they will be many. Everything that is to come futility.
Message: Joyful Living in Light of Death
Time: The Book of Ecclesiastes does not directly identify its author. The conventional belief is that the author is indeed Solomon. The book was likely written towards the end of Solomon's reign, approximately 935 B.C. It is a book of perspective whereby the speaker reveals the depression that inevitably results from seeking happiness in worldly things. Most every form of worldly pleasure is explored by the Preacher, and none of it gives him a sense of meaning. He accepts that life is brief and ultimately worthless without God and advises the reader to focus on an eternal God instead of temporary pleasure.
What the Lord is Saying: As I continue to study and read through Ecclesiastes 11, I consider the themes put forth by the author. So far, I'm hit with these ideas.
1. Do my best.The message is not to be passive or idle and one may expect this response to life when we realize and hold onto the idea that God is in control. But, this doesn't make us passive, but instead intensifies our focus on giving God all the glory while we work hard in life.
2. Life is unpredictable.
3. God knows it all, not man.
In this verse, I see this idea of being a person that rejoices in life. I spend too much time in thought, in contemplation, in a melancholy state, and I do not spend enough time rejoicing nor encouraging my family. I'm thankful for the time we have had taking trips together and going places. Going hiking together last summer was wonderful. I've been a better father, at least in my disposition, as the kids have aged. I'm not real happy with the person I was as they were growing up. I like their independence. But, I don't enjoy how life is now more about money and spending.
We need to enjoy our days. I need to be smiling more and laughing more. My wife is wonderful, but also are my kids. Megan has this countdown on the knot wedding page. There is something like just 70 days left with her here. Lord, help me rejoice in those days.
I like how the writer begins this verse -- if, a man should live many years. There is no promise in life of the number of years that we live and the author knows this, and then remarks, if a person should live many years, then there is behavior that the person should enjoy. The reality is many die at a young age. I hear of it all the time and it is heart breaking. When I was young, death was barely in the equation. Yes, it was the fear of death that had a lot to do with my salvation, but that was after witnessing an emotional scene from a movie and movies have always tugged at my heart. But beyond this I think of myself as invincible, until I start getting into my mid 40s and word of people dying that are friends starts to mount. Suddenly, death is a reality and the thought of it is more prominent in my thinking.
On the heels of this sort of thinking is verse 8 of chapter 11 when I am encouraged to embrace two ideas: Rejoice in the years of life that I have and do not focus on the years of life after the grave. The days of darkness as in the days of life will be many. Both type of days are futile or unpredictable.
There is lasting joy with our creator. This needs to be my focus.
Promise: If we are unprepared to meet our Creator, death will be a terror for us.
Prayer: Lord, yesterday for the Easter Message at church we discussed the inevitability of death. It comes for every person. It is guaranteed. Yet, Lord, we can have comfort in it. Help me to be comfortable and not see it as an end, but a continuance. Thank you for the life you have given me and the joy of being with people and spending time with them. Thank you for family. You are the matchless God.