Message Text: God's Sovereignty in Ecclesiastes
We usually work through these Bible book passages verse-by-verse. But I want us to pick up on this theme of God’s sovereignty which is first raised here in Ecclesiastes 1:13, but it keeps popping up throughout the rest of the book. Whenever Solomon mentions God’s sovereignty, he always talks about enjoying life and vice versa. "God is in control, so enjoy your life" seems to be the message.
1:13 I applied my mind to study and to explore by wisdom all that is done under the heavens. What a heavy burden God has laid on mankind!
2:24 A person can do nothing better than to eat and drink and find satisfaction in their own toil. This too, I see, is from the hand of God,
3:10-11 10 I have seen the burden God has laid on the human race. 11 He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.
5:18 This is what I have observed to be good: that it is appropriate for a person to eat, to drink and to find satisfaction in their toilsome labor under the sun during the few days of life God has given them—for this is their lot.
6:1-2 1 I have seen another evil under the sun, and it weighs heavily on mankind: 2God gives some people wealth, possessions and honor, so that they lack nothing their hearts desire, but God does not grant them the ability to enjoy them, and strangers enjoy them instead. This is meaningless, a grievous evil.
7:14 When times are good, be happy; but when times are bad, consider this: God has made the one as well as the other…
8:15 So I commend the enjoyment of life, because there is nothing better for a person under the sun than to eat and drink and be glad. Then joy will accompany them in their toil all the days of the life God has given them under the sun.
9:7 Go, eat your food with gladness, and drink your wine with a joyful heart, for God has already approved what you do.
So because God is Sovereign, you can enjoy your life and all the gifts He’s given you. The Teacher has a very strong belief in God, but that doesn’t necessarily deliver him from meaninglessness and joylessness. At times, the Solomon of Ecclesiastes comes very close to convincing us to give up. But just when we start to feel that way, he brings God back into view and consoles us with the assurance that there’s purpose and joy in living for God who is Sovereign over all.
A deep belief in the sovereignty of God protects your heart from a thousand different worries and from always having to mutter under your breath “Everything is meaningless.” Let me put ten of your leading worries to rest:
1. That you’re just 1 accident of 8 billion random people in the world. You’re not the random chance result of your parents’ reproductive organs. God determined to create you before the foundation of the world (Ephesians 1:4).
2. That your life has no purpose or meaning. Not only did create you specifically, but on purpose. You are designed particularly from features, personality, temperament, giftings, location, and era of time (Psalm 139:13-14; Acts 17:26).
3. That you’re going to miss God’s will for your life. You can make your plans, but the Lord determines your steps (Proverbs 16:9). Those steps are aligned for the purpose He made you for (Ephesians 2:10).
4. That you’re going to lose God’s grace because you’ve messed up. For those in Christ Jesus, we have assurance of enduring to the end because He keeps us. “I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand.” — Jesus (John 10:28)
5. That your loved one is too far beyond God’s redemption. Nobody is beyond God’s grace. Jesus says “All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out.” (John 6:37) They. Will. Come.
6. That the darkness in the world will ultimately prevail. One day Jesus will end all suffering, sin, death, and darkness (Revelation 21:3-5). The darkness in the world will never overcome the light (John 1:5).
7. That your suffering or pain is pointless. The Lord uses suffering to grow our character (Romans 5:3-5; James 1:2-4) and teaches us to depend on Him (2 Corinthians 1:8-9). Joseph’s story (Genesis 37-40) shows how God always means our suffering for good, wise purposes.
8. That the Earth is going to drift off it’s orbit, be destroyed by a giant meteor, or perish from climate change. It used to be called global cooling, but then it didn’t cool enough. So, then global warming, but it didn’t warm up enough. So, now climate change. It can go either direction. Climate change will be used to badger you into compliance in the days ahead. Ultimately, this isn’t a political statement. It’s a reminder that God is over the fate of the planet. Nobody should lose sleep about the Earth’s annihilation. He’s got it. Be a good steward of the planet, but don’t worship it.
9. That you’re going to die before you’ve finished your race. Friends, you will not die a second sooner than the Lord intends (Psalm 139:16). Live a life worthy of your calling (Ephesians 4:1), run your race to win (1 Cor. 9:24), and remember the time is short (James 4:13-15).
10. That your prayers don’t matter. He knows everything you need before you ask, yet we are instructed to pray (Matthew 6:8-9). His sovereign authority over all things ensures there is nothing He can’t do (Ephesians 3:20-21). So pray with faith.
Do you trust his timing for the seasons of your own life? People often criticize God for being too late, or else too early. Yet in retrospect we discover that his agenda was better all along. Because a door was closed when we wanted it open, we ended up going a different direction, which turned out to be the right direction all along. We were not ready for the relationship we wanted when we wanted it, but only later. Something happened to change our schedule, and we ended up having an unexpected conversation that changed our whole direction in life, or maybe someone else’s direction. Now is the time to receive Christ? Say "Yes" today so you can truly enjoy the rest of your life!