In Christ Alone
This study is taken from EasyEnglish Bible Version and Commentary
Money cannot satisfy people – Ecclesiastes 5:10-12
v10 Whoever loves money will never have enough of it.
And whoever loves wealth will never gain enough.
This is very hard to understand.
v11 Your possessions may increase.
Then the number of people who depend on you will increase as well.
So the owner of the possessions gets nothing extra.
He can only look at his wealth.
v12 People who work hard may not have much to eat.
But they sleep well during the night.
A rich person has many possessions.
But he cannot sleep during the night.
There are three reasons why money cannot satisfy its owner.
1. Verse 10 People who have a lot of money often want more money. A man who earns a lot of money wants to earn even more money. Some people play games to gain more money. But what they gain does not satisfy them.
2. Verse 11 Money attracts other people who want to depend on wealthy people. Then the wealthy people have extra responsibilities. So there are more demands on the money. The owner has gained nothing for himself except something that he can look at. He cannot enjoy his wealth, because extra costs use all his money.
3. Verse 12 The poor man sleeps well at night after his hard work. Whether he has had enough to eat or not, he is free from anxious thoughts. But the rich man stays awake. He cannot sleep. Perhaps he has eaten too much and he has a pain in his stomach. Or perhaps he is worrying about his money and his possessions, so he cannot sleep.
When people lose their money – Ecclesiastes 5:13-17
v13 I have seen something really sad that happens in this world. It was not fair. A person became rich and he was guarding his money. But he had terrible trouble. v14 Unfortunately, he lost all his riches in one sad event. Then nothing remained for his son. v15 People wear nothing when they come into the world. In the same way, when they leave the world they have nothing. They cannot take anything with them. They cannot prove that they worked hard in this world. v16 This is not fair. It is a painful fact. A person leaves this world, as he comes into it, with nothing. There is no benefit for someone who tries to catch the wind. v17 Every day he has sad thoughts. He just worries all the time. He is sick and he is angry.
Verses 13-14 A person may save his money. He may work to protect his money. But he may not be wise in his business decisions. So he may lose all his money. Or he may lose it suddenly for some other reason. Then he would have nothing to give to his children.
Verses 15-16 Babies have nothing when they are born. They do not even have clothes! And people cannot take their possessions with them when they die. But people can forget this. If their hard work is only for their own satisfaction, it will not benefit them in the end. It is like people who are trying to catch the wind. But verse 18 will provide the answer. (See below.)
Verse 17 These people are very unhappy. They often feel disappointed and they worry a lot. Hard work and worry can affect their health so that they become ill. Sometimes they are angry because their plans fail.
How to enjoy your life – Ecclesiastes 5:18-20
v18 Then I realized what is proper for people. It is right for them to eat and to drink. It is good for them to enjoy all their hard work. This is what they should do during their short life on the earth. This is God’s gift to people. v19 God has given wealth and possessions to some people. He has given power to those people so that they can enjoy those things. God helps all people to enjoy their lives. He helps them to enjoy their work. All these things are God’s gifts. v20 God keeps us busy and he keeps us happy. Then we shall not have much time to be anxious. We can enjoy what we have.
Verses 18-19 The Teacher has talked about the wealthy person who was not aware of God. Here he describes the life that God has given to the wise person. The words ‘to eat and to drink’ mean ‘to be happy with friends’. A person can enjoy hard work too because it is God’s gift. God gives wealth to some people. Also he gives to them the power so that they can enjoy that wealth. People will enjoy things that they use wisely. But what they have depends on God. And people must remember that. In the *New Testament, Paul wrote this in Philippians 4:12: ‘I have learnt the secret about how to be content in any situation and in every situation.’
Verse 20 We should enjoy all that God gives to us. Then our days will be full of happy activity and the time will pass quickly. There will be little opportunity to worry. We will not think about why we do not live for a long time. We will not try to understand why we are alive. As a result, we will sleep well.
A person’s life that is not satisfactory – Ecclesiastes 6:1-6
v1 There is another terrible thing that I have seen here on the earth. It is not fair. And it is like a heavy load upon people. v2 God may give wealth and possessions to someone, and people respect that person. He has everything that he wants. But perhaps God does not let him enjoy those things. Then a different person enjoys them instead. It is difficult to understand when this kind of thing happens. It is a very sad thing because it is not fair.
v3 A person might have 100 children. He might have many good things and he might live for a long time. But perhaps he does not enjoy the good things that he has. And at the end, nobody buries him. It would have been better if he had been born dead. I would rather not be that person who has many children. v4 When a baby is born dead, that is a mystery. The baby’s death is difficult for us to understand. Death has hidden that child’s character from us. v5 That child never saw the sun. And it never knew anything. But it has more rest than the wealthy man who did not enjoy his life. v6 Even if that wealthy person lives 2000 years, they both end in the same place.
Verses 1-2 A person may be famous and wealthy. But, for some reason, he cannot enjoy his life. He may become tired of his possessions. Or maybe he has to leave them. It is sad if a stranger will enjoy those possessions.
Verses 3-6 People thought that it was good to have many children in a family. They thought that God was *blessing that family especially. (See Psalm 127:3-5.) In this passage, 100 children sounds like too many children for one man. But a man who had many wives could have a great number of children. (Read, for example, about Gideon in Judges 8:30.) And people thought that a long life was good. Old people thought that God was *blessing them especially. But it was very bad to die without a proper grave. This showed that the dead person had no value. Jeremiah spoke about the wicked king who was called Jehoiakim. Nobody will be sad about his death. And his body will have no grave (Jeremiah 22:18-19).
Someone might have many children and he might live for a long time. But if he is not happy, then it is a sad situation. So it would be better for him if he had died before his birth. Sometimes, sadly, a child is born dead. Such a child never knows what happens here on the earth. Our lives are a gift from God. God wants us to think about him while we are alive. And God wants us to think about other people. Nobody knows what a dead baby’s character might have become. But this child does not have to live with difficulties and troubles. So the dead baby’s rest is more peaceful than the rich man’s rest. The rich man might live twice as long as Methuselah. He was the oldest man who ever lived (Genesis 5:27). But everyone dies in the end. Then they are all like the child who died at birth. These verses imagine that no part of us lives after death. Then people may think in the way that the Teacher describes. However, a Christian thinks in a different way.
Reasons why a person’s life does not satisfy him – Ecclesiastes 6:7-12
v7 We work very hard just for something to eat.
But we never get enough.
v8 A wise man has no advantage over a fool.
And a poor man who lives in the right way gains no advantage.
v9 It is better to enjoy what we have.
Then we do not always want something more.
We should not be like someone who is trying to catch the wind.
v10 God decided about everything that exists.
And everyone knows what people are like.
Also we know that a person cannot win an argument
against a more powerful person.
v11 We may talk and we may argue for a long time.
But that is not good, because there is no good result.
v12 We do not know what is best for us during our lives. Our lives are mysteries that pass quickly, like shadows. We do not know what will happen after our death.
Verses 7-9 A person works in order to live. ‘We never get enough’ may mean this: We must always continue to work in order to stay alive. And we always think that we need more things. Instead, people should enjoy the things that they have.
Verses 10-11 A person cannot change the way that things are. He should be humble. The first man’s name was ‘Adam’. And it means that he came from the earth. God created us from dust (Genesis 3:19, 20). Nobody can win an argument with God. But Job tried to demand an answer from God. Job could not understand why he was suffering. But finally he realized that God is greater than any person. It is impossible for a person to understand God’s ways (Job 42:2-3).
Verse 12 The Teacher is thinking about two problems. He will try to answer his own questions in the next chapters. It is a mystery why we are alive. He thinks about whether anything can have permanent value. A person’s life ends so soon. It passes as quickly as a shadow. Also, after a person dies he cannot know anything. He does not know his own future. And he cannot know what will happen in the world after his death. So a person who does not believe God has nothing certain in his life. He does not know what to do about his future. He does not expect to live after his body has died.
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