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Quiet Time in Ecclesiastes 3-4

Updated: Mar 16, 2022

Ecclesiastes 3 (HCSB)

The Mystery of Time

1 There is an occasion for everything, and a time for every activity under heaven:

2 a time to give birth and a time to die; a time to plant and a time to uproot;

3 a time to kill and a time to heal; a time to tear down and a time to build;

4 a time to weep and a time to laugh; a time to mourn and a time to dance;

5 a time to throw stones and a time to gather stones; a time to embrace and a time to avoid embracing;

6 a time to search and a time to count as lost; a time to keep and a time to throw away;

7 a time to tear and a time to sew; a time to be silent and a time to speak;

8 a time to love and a time to hate; a time for war and a time for peace.

9 What does the worker gain from his struggles? 10 I have seen the task that God has given people to keep them occupied. 11 He has made everything appropriate in its time. He has also put eternity in their hearts, but man cannot discover the work God has done from beginning to end. 12 I know that there is nothing better for them than to rejoice and enjoy the good life. 13 It is also the gift of God whenever anyone eats, drinks, and enjoys all his efforts. 14 I know that all God does will last forever; there is no adding to it or taking from it. God works so that people will be in awe of Him. 15 Whatever is, has already been, and whatever will be, already is. God repeats what has passed.

The Mystery of Injustice and Death

16 I also observed under the sun: there is wickedness at the place of judgment and there is wickedness at the place of righteousness. 17 I said to myself, “God will judge the righteous and the wicked, since there is a time for every activity and every work.” 18 I said to myself, “This happens concerning people, so that God may test them and they may see for themselves that they are like animals.” 19 For the fate of people and the fate of animals is the same. As one dies, so dies the other; they all have the same breath. People have no advantage over animals since everything is futile. 20 All are going to the same place; all come from dust, and all return to dust. 21 Who knows if the spirit of people rises upward and the spirit of animals goes downward to the earth? 22 I have seen that there is nothing better than for a person to enjoy his activities because that is his reward. For who can enable him to see what will happen after he dies?

Ecclesiastes 4 (HCSB)

1 Again, I observed all the acts of oppression being done under the sun. Look at the tears of those who are oppressed; they have no one to comfort them. Power is with those who oppress them; they have no one to comfort them. 2 So I admired the dead, who have already died, more than the living, who are still alive. 3 But better than either of them is the one who has not yet existed, who has not seen the evil activity that is done under the sun.

The Loneliness of Wealth

4 I saw that all labor and all skillful work is due to a man’s jealousy of his friend. This too is futile and a pursuit of the wind.

5 The fool folds his arms and consumes his own flesh.

6 Better one handful with rest than two handfuls with effort and a pursuit of the wind.

7 Again, I saw futility under the sun: 8 There is a person without a companion, without even a son or brother, and though there is no end to all his struggles, his eyes are still not content with riches. “So who am I struggling for,” he asks, “and depriving myself from good?” This too is futile and a miserable task.

9 Two are better than one because they have a good reward for their efforts. 10 For if either falls, his companion can lift him up; but pity the one who falls without another to lift him up. 11 Also, if two lie down together, they can keep warm; but how can one person alone keep warm? 12 And if someone overpowers one person, two can resist him. A cord of three strands is not easily broken.

13 Better is a poor but wise youth than an old but foolish king who no longer pays attention to warnings. 14 For he came from prison to be king, even though he was born poor in his kingdom. 15 I saw all the living, who move about under the sun, follow a second youth who succeeds him. 16 There is no limit to all the people who were before them, yet those who come later will not rejoice in him. This too is futile and a pursuit of the wind.


SIN (verses 3:7-8): Father, please forgive me of my sins of not being able to embrace the difference between "a time to be silent and a time to speak" as well as "a time to love and a time to hate." I say these are sins for me because me not embracing when I should be silent typically leads to me not speaking out of love and often when I do speak at the wrong times it is out of hate. Please forgive me of this and help me to do better.

PROMISE (verses 3:17-19): You promise us that both the righteous and wicked will be judged as these is a time and place for everything. You also say that just like animals, we too shall pass from this body. You tell us these things because You assure us that You will test us at times.

ATTITUDE (verse 4:4): Lord, please help me to no longer have an attitude of jealousy. Whereas for some, as this verse tells us, that jealousy often leads to working harder to attain what others have, this is only partially true for me. Although this is true for me in some cases, jealousy also drives me to anger, depression, and self-doubt. Help me to change this, please.

COMMAND (verse 3:1): You tell us that there is a time and place for every activity under Heaven. Help me to know if/when the time and place is right for me to do things, so that I know I am being faithful and aligned to Your will for me, Father.

EXAMPLE (verses 4:9-12): Father, You give us several examples here of why companionship and fellowship are so important. I have isolated for so long. Please help me to embrace this example, surrounding myself with many Godly strands, so that I am not easily broken and so that I also may be strength for others.

*DAILY NOTE: Father, my jealousy has gotten me into so much trouble for so long. Please continue to teach me the right way of doing things, Father. Teach me how to be more like Jesus and less like me so that I can be aligned to Your will and not following the world or my own selfish desires. Please continue to convict me so that I stay on the right path, Father, and continue to recognize that I need Godly men in my life to help keep me accountable and help to build me stronger in my faith. Thank you, Father, for such amazing wisdom and insight!

*GENERAL NOTE: I always "sandwich" my quiet time with God in prayer and do it in a location that I will not have any distractions so that I can be focused on my quiet time with God. Do not worry about how short or long your journal entries are for that day's quiet time. Just focus on the actual quiet time and relational conversation with God through the Holy Spirit and His Word. The journaling is an enhancement to your quiet time conversation with God, but also to allow you to reflect on things later as you can look back on your journal entries later when you do the chapters again in the future to see how you have grown. See the FAQ for more detail on how I do my quiet time.

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