Summary: Ecclesiastes 9


Last month, October 19, black rain unexpectedly hit Hong Kong without warning from the observatory. One of the most affected districts was Chai Wan. One of the most popular pictures on the Internet of the heavy rain that led to flash flooding in the city was by the title ¡§Starbucks Uncle¡¨ It showed an old sitting casually, sipping coffee and reading newspapers in a flooded Starbucks outlet in Chai Wan district.

A Starbucks employee said the elderly man sat in the shop for almost an hour. He left after the floodwaters receded and the staff cleaned up the floor, said the employee.

Ecclesiastes is a celebration of life and a counsel to the living more than rather than the curse of dying and a closure to the dead. The word ¡§living¡¨ occurs seven times (vv 3, 4 twice, 59 thrice) to the word ¡§dead¡¨ four times (vv 3, 4, 5 twice), and the word ¡§good¡¨ seven times (vv 2 twice, 4, 7,16, 18 twice) to the word ¡§evil¡¨ four times (vv 3 twice, 7 twice).

Life is about hope, healing and help in the midst of hurt, helplessness, hatred heartbrokenness not hiding hostility.

How do death, disasters and destruction transform us? What do wise people do when others are suffering and struggling? Why is there help, hope and healing no matter the sorrow, storm setbacks?

Be Encouraged No Matter the Times

1 So I reflected on all this and concluded that the righteous and the wise and what they do are in God¡¦s hands, but no one knows whether love or hate awaits them. 2 All share a common destiny¡Xthe righteous and the wicked, the good and the bad, the clean and the unclean, those who offer sacrifices and those who do not. As it is with the good, so with the sinful; as it is with those who take oaths, so with those who are afraid to take them. 3 This is the evil in everything that happens under the sun: The same destiny overtakes all. The hearts of people, moreover, are full of evil and there is madness in their hearts while they live, and afterward they join the dead. 4 Anyone who is among the living has hope ¡Xeven a live dog is better off than a dead lion! 5 For the living know that they will die, but the dead know nothing; they have no further reward, and even their name is forgotten. 6 Their love, their hate and their jealousy have long since vanished; never again will they have a part in anything that happens under the sun.

Patient: ¡§Will I survive this risky operation?¡¨

Surgeon: ¡§Yes, I¡¦m absolutely sure that you will survive the operation.¡¨

Patient: ¡§How can you be so sure?¡¨

Surgeon: ¡§Nine out of 10 patients die in this operation, and yesterday died my ninth patient.¡¨

Quotes on the heart:

Follow your heart, but take your brain with you.

After the author¡¦s ¡§declare¡¨ in verse 1 is a lot of volume without verbs, nouns making noise but not worth noticing. The crucial verb is in verse 3, that the hearts of the people/sons of men are full (verb) of evil and madness (v 3). The noun ¡§heart¡¨ occurs three times, in its elementary form in verses 1, 3, and 7, and 5, and another heart in verse 3 which is an extended version of ¡§heart.¡¨ In chapter six the word ¡§nephesh¡¨ is all over the place. Now the noun ¡§heart¡¨ takes over. According to ISBE, the heart is the seat of the emotions and passions and appetites (Gen 18:5; Lev 19:17; Ps 104:15)¡Kand it has come to stand for the center of its moral, spiritual, intellectual life. (from International Standard Bible Encyclopaedia, Electronic Database)

A sample of the translation to ¡§full¡¨ (v 3) includes fill (Gen 1:22), replenish (Gen 1:28), fulfill (Gen 25:24), satisfied (Ex 15:9), set (Ex 28:17), overflow (Josh 3:15) and accomplish (Jer 25:12). What does ¡§full¡¨ means? It is not 50%, 90% or 99%, but 110%!

The Chinese have a saying, Do not have a heart to harm others, but have a heart to beware of others.

Gen 6:13 And God said unto Noah, The end of all flesh is come before me; for the earth is filled with violence through them; and, behold, I will destroy them with the earth.

Prov 12:21 There shall no evil happen to the just: but the wicked shall be filled with mischief.

Eccl 6:7 All the labour of man is for his mouth, and yet the appetite is not filled.

Eccl 8:11 Because sentence against an evil work is not executed speedily, therefore the heart of the sons of men is fully set in them to do evil.

What does ¡§full¡¨ means? It is not 50%, 90% or 99%, but 110%! It means entirely, extensively, and expertly. The Chinese say º¡¨ì·¸¥X¨Ó

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