Remembering God:The Key to a Profitable Life

Remember that we cannot figure out what God is doing in the details of our lives

Ecclesiastes 8:16-9:10

Jerry A Collins

9/15/02

SCC

® What is it that man is completely ignorant about?

What is it that death brings an end to?

Why should we enjoy the life God gives to us?

We just concluded a first year anniversary of 911 in America. It was just another ordinary day for most if not all of the victims of 911. A NY firefighter beginning his shift, a stewardess beginning the first leg of a days work, a businessman traveling to another meeting, a daughter early to work to begin another week on the project that was due soon, an office staff beginning another day answering phones and meeting clients. How could any of them have known that it would be their last day at work? For that matter, how can any of us know what is going to happen to us in the next 24 hrs? We have no way of know9ing and can only acknowledge our ignorance of Godís ways. We cannot figure out what He is doing in all of the details of our lives. So Solomon reminds us that life is complicated, too vast, too filled with conflicting elements to figure out all of the answers. He tells us this in the following way:

1. NO MAN CAN COMPREHEND GODíS PROVIDENCE 8:16-17

Here he is reminding us of the search he went on to discover this for himself vs 16. Even pulling all-nighters did not help him discover what it was that God was up to. When we talk about Godís providence we mean that continuous activity of God whereby he makes all the details and events of the physical, mental, and moral realms work out his purpose as originally designed by God in creation. That that purpose is never thwarted or compromised by sin, evil, Satan, people or events but includes each of these as Godís purpose is fulfilled in the world and in my life. The point is that no one can understand Godís ways even if he expended all his energies or were wise and claimed that he could vs 17. Mysteries will still remain since we do not have enough data or ability to discern Godís work and ways. When you think about your own life, about how many of the things that have happened to you have been determined by events which you had not control and which had to fall together in a certain pattern before they could have come to pass, events you could not have anticipated, you can see how true these words are. (Role of my home church & hiawatha, hiawatha and newport, hiawatha and ruth, hiawatha and college, college and dallas seminary, dallas and david allen, dallas and london, london and return, return and david allen, david allen and church in Muskegon, church in Muskegon and shoreline, shoreline and you and us) God is working his purposes out for me thru all of these details that I am completely ignorant of. What is he up to in your life and mine even now?

2. PEOPLE ARE NOT MASTERS OF THEIR OWN DESTINY 9:1

The all this that Solomon reflected upon is the human ignorance is relation to Godís providence. He has already seen that prosperity is not always a sign that God is happy with you, even the wicked prosper. Adversity is not always a sign that you are being punished by God. Even the righteous suffer. So we must conclude that our lives and what we do are in Godís hands. When we are down here instead of up there, you cannot tell whether God in heaven loves you or hates you. We mite say at times, God do you remember me? I thot you loved me. I thot you carted about me. It seems that things are happening to me that rather than loving, you hate me. (EX. of London and Ron Allison etc.,.). One day you think God loves you and the next you think he hates you. So we must learn to live with mystery because we cannot figure out what God is up to in the details of our lives. It may look like one thing but end up quite another. Isaiah 55:8-9 My thots are not your thots, neither are my ways your ways. For as the heavens are higher than the earth so are my ways higher than your ways and my thyots than your thots. God will never be false in His character. He will never contradict what He has said. We are just not smart enough, we cannot see enough, we do not understand enough to always be able to figure it out or anticipate it.

3. ALL OF US SHARE A COMMON DESTINY 2-6

A. We share a common fate during life 2-3. That common destiny during life is that we are not the masters of our own destinies. This is true for both the righteous and the wicked. This common destiny applies to the good and bad, those who are ritually clean and those ritually unclesn, to those who offer sacrifices as well as those who do not, to those who are not afraid to misuse Godís name in promises thay meake and those who are afraid to. No matter how religious or moral, how unreligious and immoral, God is in charge of our destiny as he works in the details of our lives. The fact that this is true forces us to have to face the evil and its madness within us during our lives on earth vs 3. Sin and evil plays itís role in the purposes of God as well. That makes it even more complicated for us to comprehend the work of God in the world and in our lives.

B. We share a common fate after life 3b-6. That common destiny he tells us is death. After stating that fact in vs 3 he tells us of the advantages of life over death. For one thing as long as your alive there is some kind of hope. There are things they can possibly look forward to enjoying here under the sun. The dead do not have this capacity any longer. The dog, most despised animal, alive, is better off than a lion, most honored animal, is dead. This does not mean there is no life after death but from the perspective of life lived here under the sun, when people die they cannot return and all the joy, adventure that life affords is forever ended once we leave it vs 5-6. So donít waste your life in vain pursuits. Instead use your life. Fill it full and discover itís significance in relationship with God and His revelation to us. One day it will be over never to be yours again. God has given us this life to enjoy and to invest. Everyday wasted on meaningless, insiginificant, sinfulness can never be recovered. You get one opportunity. You are accountable to God for it.

4. ENJOY THE LIFE GOD HAS GIVEN YOU 7-10

A. Enjoy the basic necessities of life (food, wine, clothes) vs 7-8. Literally the bread and wine which sustain life and make it merry. God has already given us permission to do that. He approves.

B. Enjoy your wife, spouse, family vs 9. God does not wants to see a wife unloved by her husband. It is right to enjoy the companionship, the physical relationship, the family God gives you. Fill your life up with that.

C. Enjoy the work you do vs 10. Do it diligently. Do it energetically. If you sre doing work you do not enjoy, then find work you do enjoy. That is Godís gift to you.

The reason for all this advice is that when death comes all opportunities for eating, marrying and working cease here. Another kind of life emerges. Invest this life and enjoy it even though we cannot comprehend the mystery of Godís purposes for us while we are here.