Would you like to live forever? Lots of research goes into extending life and being healthy. What age do you hope to live to? I'm not so sure I want to reach 100. I've seen the adjustments I need to make as I grow older, and it isn't always fun.
But I do long for eternity, just not in this physical body. Life can be hard when we look at it too closely. When we're zeroed in on what we do work-wise, it can be self-defeating. We need a sense of hope beyond the routine of life, or the walls begin to close in on us.
Why do we have this desire to live a long life? Why do we want to know the future? Could it be that eternity is planted in our hearts?
What do people really get for all their hard work? I have seen the burden God has placed on us all. Yet God has made everything beautiful for its own time. He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God’s work from beginning to end. [vss 9-11]
So I concluded there is nothing better than to be happy and enjoy ourselves as long as we can. And people should eat and drink and enjoy the fruits of their labor, for these are gifts from God. [vss 12-13]
And I know that whatever God does is final. Nothing can be added to it or taken from it. God’s purpose is that people should fear him. What is happening now has happened before, and what will happen in the future has happened before, because God makes the same things happen over and over again. [vss 14-15]
I also noticed that under the sun there is evil in the courtroom. Yes, even the courts of law are corrupt! I said to myself, “In due season God will judge everyone, both good and bad, for all their deeds.” [vss 16-17]
(Ecclesiastes 3:9-17 NLT) [Context– Ecclesiastes 3]
Key phrase— He has planted eternity in the human heart
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How do these verses reflect the continuing tone of this book of wisdom?
What is said that counters this circular and cynical tone? How can these opposing thoughts exist at the same time?
Why would God want people to fear Him? What do you think is meant by this?
What are we told God will do concerning what is good and evil? When will this happen?
The continuing theme of Ecclesiastes is the attempt to answer the question—What's the purpose of life? The tone of the words is mostly cynical, and yet, thoughts of contentment are inserted intermittently.
Many philosophers have lived and died pondering this question of life's purpose, often without resolve. The quest of answers and adventure spurs research and exploration beyond what we know already. And yet, the cycles and seasons of life continue on and on.
A number of years ago, a missionary wrote a book based on research into the culture, beliefs, and history of people groups spread across the globe. He found recurring themes of experience and visions of expectations. He observed that, indeed, God planted eternity in the hearts of humanity.
Make it personal...
Read through the Scripture text again to consider and answer the following questions
Are you able to see God's beauty in your life, the life of others, and the world around you?
Do you find contentment in simple ways to help you navigate life's routines and difficulties?
Do you have a longing for the truth and a sense of hope? If not, do you know where to turn to get these?
How can respect and awe for God help us handle the anxieties and doubts that rise up in our hearts and minds?