Sunday, March 26, 2017

A Second Look at Ecclesiastes 11:4-6

Pictorial Language Series

In one of my Pictorial Language Series articles, I mentioned that Eccl.11:4 was essentially talking about procrastination. Recently I was reading a second view that expanded the commentary to include verses 5 and 6 as well. Taking those together gave a different viewpoint. Rather than talking about procrastination, the verses discuss trying to second-guess matters. While this is different than what I suggested, that verse 4 can be used to discourage procrastination is not lost.

But now let’s take a look at the other two verses:

5 Just as you do not know how the spirit operates in the bones of the child inside a pregnant woman, so you do not know the work of the true God, who does all things.

Verse 5 helps the reader appreciate that no one knows how a growing child in the womb will turn out. (True, today we have all sorts of medical science, but such did not exist back in the days of King Solomon. And even today, there are things that medical science cannot predict with 100% accuracy.) The latter part of verse 5 helps us to appreciate that since, even with physical matters that we can see and yet we cannot absolutely know the outcome, even more so with the intangible interventions of God in human affairs. Our confidence in God should be unwavering, our loyalty to him unfaltering.

6 Sow your seed in the morning and do not let your hand rest until the evening; for you do not know which will have success, whether this one or that one, or whether they will both do well.

Verse 6 cinches the idea of not second-guessing matters. We should make every effort to follow every avenue of opportunity God puts before us and then wait to see what is blessed and what is not. So our worrying about the winds of change or our being consumed over the clouds of doubt will not benefit us. Trying to second-guess if God will bless an effort or not is not beneficial. Since we “do not know the work of the true God,” we need only concern ourselves that we “do not let our hand rest until evening.” The old saying “strike while the iron is hot” may be applicable here.

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