Gracefully Truthful

Digging Deeper Days

Finding the original intent of Scripture and making good application to our everyday lives as we become equipped to correctly handle the Word of Truth!

Today is 2-for-1 Friday!
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The Questions

1) What is meant by “an occasion for everything”? (verse 1)

2) What does it mean that God “has put eternity in their hearts”? (verse 11)

3) Is it really possible to “enjoy the good life” here under the sun? (verses 12-15

Ecclesiastes 3:1-15

3 There is an occasion for everything,
and a time for every activity under heaven:
a time to give birth and a time to die;
a time to plant and a time to uproot;
a time to kill and a time to heal;
a time to tear down and a time to build;
a time to weep and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn and a time to dance;
a time to throw stones and a time to gather stones;
a time to embrace and a time to avoid embracing;
a time to search and a time to count as lost;
a time to keep and a time to throw away;
a time to tear and a time to sew;
a time to be silent and a time to speak;
a time to love and a time to hate;
a time for war and a time for peace.

What does the worker gain from his struggles? 10 I have seen the task that God has given the children of Adam to keep them occupied. 11 He has made everything appropriate in its time. He has also put eternity in their hearts, but no one can discover the work God has done from beginning to end. 12 I know that there is nothing better for them than to rejoice and enjoy the good life. 13 It is also the gift of God whenever anyone eats, drinks, and enjoys all his efforts. 14 I know that everything God does will last forever; there is no adding to it or taking from it. God works so that people will be in awe of him. 15 Whatever is, has already been, and whatever will be, already is. However, God seeks justice for the persecuted.


Original Intent

1) What is meant by “an occasion for everything”? (verse 1)
Let’s start with a quick review about King Solomon, who authored Ecclesiastes. When he became king, God offered him whatever he wanted. Solomon asked for wisdom and since he asked for this instead of long life, wealth, or destruction of his enemies, God gave him these good gifts as well, making him the wisest person ever… before and since. (1 Kings 3:1-15) One might think this would also make him the happiest person alive, but he found life to be completely futile, “For with much wisdom is much sorrow; as knowledge increases, grief increases.” (Ecclesiastes 1:18) So he set out to test all pleasures in life “until I could see what is good for people to do under heaven during the few days of their lives.” (Ecclesiastes 2:3) Keep in mind that the conclusions in each experiment are human, not God’s truth. This is man “under the sun.” This is not to say Ecclesiastes isn’t the inspired word of God.  Inspiration of Scripture verifies its accuracy, but not always the thought expressed. Context should always be considered. (i.e. Who said it and what was happening) (J. Vernon McGee, Thru the Bible, Volume 21) Let’s consider the meanings of some words found in Ecclesiastes 3. Barnes Commentary says “everything” is more particularly, the actions of people and events which happen to people, the world of Providence rather than the world of creation. The rare word translated “season” means emphatically “fitting time”. All considered, Solomon says, there is little man can do about the things that happen; whether good or bad. We have no power to stop them. However, later in this passage, Solomon admits that God “has made everything appropriate in its time.” (verse 11)

2) What does it mean that God “has put eternity in their hearts”? (verse 11)
The original Hebrew word, “olam” that we see as “eternity” in most Bible versions is used only once in Scripture. It can be translated as “darkness” (a sense of ignorance), “eternity,” or “the future.” ( The writer has concluded that “God makes all things beautiful in His time”. There is an appropriate time for everything. But in our finite minds, it’s hard to fathom His plans and purposes (His KAIROS time). We are so attached to the chronological passing of time (CHRONOS) that our minds cannot grasp what in the world God is doing. We were created with eternity in mind. We were created in the image of God; we were made to live for eternity in fellowship with God. But then sin entered the world and messed everything up, leaving a giant chasm between God and mankind. (Genesis 3:22) Since our fall into sin, there is still “something beyond, something more, that humanity cries out for.” (Ray Steadman) The Believer’s Bible Commentary says, “Though living in a world of time, man has intimations of eternity. Instinctively, he thinks of ‘forever,’ and though he cannot understand the concept, he realizes that beyond this life there is the possibility of a shoreless ocean of time.” Those who are searching for answers, like Solomon, see “darkness”. Nothing makes sense because they are only seeing the “now” not the eternal that God sees. (Isaiah 55:8-9) Even as believers, we cannot really comprehend God’s plans and ways. Paul wrote to the Romans, “Oh, the depths of the riches and the wisdom and the knowledge of God! How unsearchable His judgments and untraceable His ways!” (Romans 11:33)

3) Is it really possible to “enjoy the good life” here under the sun? (verses 12-15)
Having just admitted “all things are beautiful in its time” and “God has set eternity in our hearts(Ecclesiastes 3:11), Solomon has a moment away from his “under the sun” thinking. He recalls how God orchestrates all of life. How He acts is for our good, so look for the good in life. Enjoy it. In his book, “Be Satisfied”, Warren Wiersbe states, “Solomon does not say, ‘Eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow you die!’ Instead, he advises us to trust God and enjoy what we have rather than complain about what we don’t have. Life is short and difficult, so make the most of it while you can.” If you read the rest of Ecclesiastes, Solomon looked over his life and saw that “under the sun” life took its toll on him. With all the blessings he had, he realized how futile it all had become. He hoped for a better life for his young readers and pleadingly concluded with his audience to do whatever pleased them but ultimately, “Fear God and keep His commandments.” (Ecclesiastes 12:13-14) It is the will of God for every man to follow Him and, when we come to the end of life, God will judge each person, whether good or evil. There is, and will be, an eternal accounting for everything we do. (David Guzik)

Everyday Application

1) What is meant by “an occasion for everything”? (verse 1)
Some people today, especially those without Christ, take on the same fatalistic approach as Solomon. “Que Sera, Sera – What will be, will be”.  Fatalism is a doctrine teaching that events are fixed in advance and human beings are powerless to change them. (Merriam-Webster Dictionary) We might as well live life and accept what happens because there is nothing we can do to alter it. This viewpoint leaves no room for God’s mercy and grace. It says God’s will as primary. They say, “If it’s not God’s will for me to be saved, I won’t be saved.”  (J. Vernon McGee) In their eyes, God neither hears nor answers prayer. As Christians, we know it’s God’s grace, mercy, and love that bring us joy. We know we can talk with God, pray about our sorrows, and through prayer, effect change. He is the one who brings true peace to the human heart. So, is it acceptable to question God? In short, “YES”! The prophet Habakkuk questioned God about His timing and plans, “How long, Lord, must I call for help, but You do not listen? He was not rebuked for his questions; his questions were patiently answered.  (Habakkuk 1:5-11) God may not answer our questions in the manner or timeline we want, but, if our questioning is sincere, He will give us understanding and unfathomable peace. When we look back on our life, we will see that God’s timing is beautiful. I’m reminded of this prayer set to music by Maranatha Music. “In His time, in His time. He makes all things beautiful in His time / Lord please show me every day as you’re teaching me your way / That you do just what you say in your time.”

2) What does it mean that God “has put eternity in their hearts”? (verse 11)
Matthew Henry writes, “We must wait with patience for the full discovery of that which to us seems intricate and perplexed, acknowledging that we cannot find out the work that God makes from the beginning to the end, and therefore must judge nothing before the time. We are to believe that God has made all beautiful. Everything is done well, as in creation, so in providence, and we shall see it when the end comes, but till then we are incompetent judges of it.” When my husband was forced from his job and we needed to move from our home and take an early retirement, we wondered, “God, what in the world are you doing?” Sure, we had been praying about a change, but this wasn’t what we had in mind. We could only see what was plausible in the “mind of man.” But now, six years down the road, we have more understanding of God’s plans. 1) We now live near three of our children & their families, 2) we are in fellowship with several life-long friends than have been a great support to us, 3) we are within driving distance to doctors who treat my chronic illness, and 4) our daughter met and married a wonderful Christian man and they are in ministry together. There’s more, but you get the picture. We didn’t know the plans of God whose purposes are so much more amazing than anything we could have considered. We held to prayers as Habakkuk did, “How long, Lord, must I call for help and you do not listen or cry out to you about violence, and you do not save? Why do you force me to look at injustice? Why do you tolerate wrongdoing?” And God answered, “Look …. be utterly astounded! For I am doing something in your days that you will not believe when you hear about it.” (Habakkuk 1:1-5)

3) Is it really possible to “enjoy the good life” here under the sun? (verses 12-15)
In Solomon’s day, they only had the promise of a Messiah through the word of the Prophets. They didn’t have the Holy Spirit living inside them to teach and lead them in the way to go. In a sense, it was all darkness and futility… unless! Unless they ran to the heavenly Father and His commands. (Proverbs 18:10, Psalm 16:11) But today, we are blessed. Mary, the mother of Jesus, declared, “His mercy is from generation to generation on those who fear Him.” (Luke 1:50) His mercy continues all the way to our generation! We now have an eternal vision that Old Testament generations didn’t. When affliction comes our way, we know it is “producing an eternal glory” within us far beyond comparison. And we CAN count it all joy! (James 1:2-4)  Everything in this life can lead us back to God if we keep our eyes fixed on Him. Even bad things can be used by God for good. Remember Joseph, who suffered all manner of injustices, but was still used by God to bring about enormous good? Apostle Paul encouraged the Ephesians to make the best use of their time “because the days are evil.” (Ephesians 5:16) Sisters, it is feasible to enjoy life and be satisfied because all of life is a gift from God; the good and the bad. With the right heart-attitude of trust, we learn from every circumstance, and our character is strengthened, and our faith is deepened.  (James 1:2-4) As Jesus told us, “Rejoice in that day, and leap for joy, for behold, your reward is great in heaven.” (Luke 6:23) Today is the day we can rejoice and leap for joy!

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Digging Deeper is for Everyone!

1) Take this passage (or any other passage).
2) Read it, and the verses around it,
several times
3) Write down your questions
as you think of them.
4) Ask specific culture related questions and be ready to dig around for your answers. Google them, use, or look them up in a study Bible and read the footnotes (click on the little letters next to a word and it will show you
other related verses!). (
5) Check your applications with other trusted Christians that you are in community with and embrace the fullness of God
in your everyday!

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Why Dig Deeper?

Finding the original meaning is a huge deal when we study Scripture and can make all the difference in our understanding as we apply God’s truths to our everyday lives.

In our modern-day relationships, we want people to understand our original intention as we communicate; how much more so between God and humanity?!

Here’s a little bit more on why we take Digging Deeper so seriously.

Study Tools

We love getting help while we study and is one of many excellent resources, providing the original Hebrew (Old Testament) or Greek (New Testament) with an English translation.

Want to know more about a specific word in a verse? Click on “Strong’s Interlinear Bible” then click the word you’d like to study. Discover “origin”, “definition” and hear the original pronunciation – That Is Awesome!

Want more background? Click “Study Tools”, then pick a few commentaries to read their scholarly approach, keeping in mind that just because a commentary says it, doesn’t mean it’s true. (just like the internet :-))

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