People have differing views of destiny. Some see it as set in stone. Others challenge what seems to be their fate throughout life. I'm sure there are those who try to ignore it altogether.
It's been said that the only things in life that are certain are death and taxes. I don't know if taxes are that certain, but death claims us all. We just don't know when and how, not that most of us want to know.
Whatever your thoughts about destiny or taxes, death is certain. But, there is life before death.
Now, I have carefully thought about all this, and I explain it in this way: Righteous people and wise people, along with their accomplishments, are in God’s hands. No one knows whether there will be love or hatred. Everything turns out the same way for everyone. All people will share the same destiny, whether they are righteous, wicked, or good, clean or unclean, whether they offer sacrifices or don’t offer sacrifices. Good people are treated like sinners. People who take oaths are treated like those who are afraid to take oaths. [vss 1-2]
This is the tragedy of everything that happens under the sun: Everyone shares the same destiny. Moreover, the hearts of mortals are full of evil. Madness is in their hearts while they are still alive. After that, they join the dead. But all who are among the living have hope, because a living dog is better than a dead lion. The living know that they will die, but the dead don’t know anything. There is no more reward for the dead when the memory of them has faded. Their love, their hate, and their passions have already vanished. They will never again take part in anything that happens under the sun. [vss 3-6]
Go, enjoy eating your food, and drink your wine cheerfully, because God has already accepted what you’ve done. Always wear clean clothes, and never go without lotion on your head. Enjoy life with your wife, whom you love, during all your brief, pointless life. God has given you your pointless life under the sun. This is your lot [in life] and what you get for the hard work that you do under the sun. Whatever presents itself for you to do, do it with [all] your might, because there is no work, planning, knowledge, or skill in the grave where you’re going. [vss 7-10]
(Ecclesiastes 9:1-10 GW) [Context– Ecclesiastes 9]
Key phrase—A living dog is better than a dead lion
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Review the Scriptures above as you answer the following questions
How is the state of death a great equalizer of people?
Why is it (death) the destiny of all people, whether good or bad?
Since death is certain for all, what are we encouraged to do?
How are we to go about life's work and for what reason?
The book of Ecclesiastes may seem like a discouraging and depressing outlook on life, but it's quite the opposite. King Solomon's purpose is to help people have a more clear perspective on life. Even though life may seem pointless and hard, there are reasons to live life with joy.
Another way to put it is—life is short, so enjoy it while it lasts. Put your heart into your relationships and work, because God is sovereign and He holds our eternal destiny in His hands.
There's no need to obsess with what you can't control—death. Make the best of what you have some control over—life.
Don't forget that there is a season and purpose to everything in life (Eccl 3:1). Life with all it's hardships and mysteries has value and beauty, so enjoy it while you can, while your alive.
Make it personal...
Read through the Scripture text again as you consider and answer these questions
What do you worry about? Does the thought of death paralyze or motivate you?
How do you handle what is beyond your control? Do you obsess over it, or ignore it, or see beyond it?
Are you thankful for the life you do have? Are you able to live above life's difficulties?
In what ways have you learned to make the most of your time each day?