Hello, I’m Daniel Westfall on the channel “Pray With Me”.
Today, I ask five questions, and listen to answers from the Book of Ecclesiastes.
First question: Is it better to hate life or to enjoy it? Ecclesiastes 3 says:
– I hated life, because the work I did was grievous to me (v. 17).
– It also says, A person can do nothing better than to eat and drink and find satisfaction in their toil. I see this too is from the hand of God (v. 24).
Second question: What makes human life meaningful as we journey toward certain death? Ecclesiastes 5 says:
– The fate of humans is like that of animals; as one dies, so dies the other . . . humans have no advantage over animals (v. 19).
– It also says, God has made everything beautiful in its time. And he has set eternity in their hearts (v. 11).
Third question: What’s better? Being dead or alive? Or is it better never to be born at all? Ecclesiastes 4 says:
– I declared that the dead
who had already died,
are happier than the living,
who are still alive.
But better than both
is the one who has never been born,
who has not seen the evil
that is done under the sun (vv. 2-3).
– It also says, Two people are better than one
because they have a good return for their labor;
if either of them falls down,
one can help the other up (vv. 9-10).
Fourth question: Should we despair in the face of life’s injustices? Ecclesiastes 8 says:
– There is something else meaningless that occurs on earth: the righteous get what the wicked deserve, and the wicked get what the righteous deserve (v. 14).
– It also says, So I commend the enjoyment of life, because there is nothing better for a person than to eat and drink and be glad. Then joy will accompany them in their toil all the days that God has given them under the sun (v. 15).
And a fifth question: Should we keep trying to figure life out? Ecclesiastes 12 says:
– Of making many books there is no end, much study wearies the body (v. 12).
– It also says, Here is a conclusion of the matter:
Fear God and keep his commandment,
for this is the duty of all.
God will bring every deed into judgment,
including every hidden thing,
whether good or evil.
O father, we live in tension:
– between present life and pending death
– between today’s decisions and eternity’s call
– between despair that nothing changes and faith that Christ makes all things new
– between working to build wealth and legacy, and pausing to enjoy the fruit of our labor
O father, Ecclesiastes the philosopher tells us there is no escape from these tensions. No way to resolve them. Teach us then with him to embrace life’s paradoxes. As he says,
Do not be over-righteous,
or overwise –
why destroy yourself?
Do not be over-wicked,
and do not be a fool –
why die before your time?
It is good to grasp one,
and not let go of the other.
Whoever fears God will avoid all extremes (7:16-18).
Yes, Father, help us embrace life with its tensions and paradoxes. Help us accept the evil within and around us, yet not give way to wickedness. Help us grow in righteousness and wisdom, without trying to be over-righteous and over-wise. Help us hear the whisper of eternity you set in our hearts. Help us live these fleeting lives with integrity and joy, as we journey toward eternity.
I’m Daniel, on the channel “Pray with Me”.
YouTube channel: Pray with Me – YouTube