When the Bible warns us, it often does that in a very severe manner. And sometimes we look anxiously for any statement that seems more pleasant. When we do that, we can miss the correct meaning of the passage.
In Ecclesiastes 9:3-6, the author wrote about the effects of death. There he explained his own beliefs about the subject. Then in Ecclesiastes 9:7-10, the author speaks to one particular person.
That man had refused to obey the authorís advice about parties (Ecclesiastes 7:1-6). He (the man) did not want to behave in a serious manner or to think about his own death. He did not consider himself especially evil. He thought that God should approve of his works.
The authorís reply to that man seems almost angry. He tells the man to go away. But the man must not forget that God has only given him a short time for his life in this world. Now, for just that short time, he benefits from Godís kindness.
If he wants, he can use that period of kindness to enjoy himself. It is only a short period, so he must use every moment to make himself happy. But that period of kindness will end at his death. And then God will be the judge of how he used his time on earth (Ecclesiastes 11:9).
The man thinks that he can save himself by his works. Then he will have to work very hard! He will have no opportunity to continue that work when he is dead. And he can be sure that he will die.
The author means that the man is wasting his opportunity to know God. The man wants to eat and to drink. He wants to love his wife. He is trying to enjoy his work. Solomon himself had tried all these things (Ecclesiastes 2:4-10). But they achieved nothing worthwhile (Ecclesiastes 2:11). Such behaviour does not save anyone from death or from hell.
Next part: Time and chance (Ecclesiastes 9:11)
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© 2014, Keith Simons.