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Quiet Time in Ecclesiastes 8-9

Updated: Mar 16, 2022

Ecclesiastes 8 (HCSB)

Wisdom, Authorities, and Inequities

1 Who is like the wise person, and who knows the interpretation of a matter? A man’s wisdom brightens his face, and the sternness of his face is changed.

2 Keep the king’s command because of your oath made before God. 3 Do not be in a hurry; leave his presence, and don’t persist in a bad cause, since he will do whatever he wants. 4 For the king’s word is authoritative, and who can say to him, “What are you doing?” 5 The one who keeps a command will not experience anything harmful, and a wise heart knows the right time and procedure. 6 For every activity there is a right time and procedure, even though man’s troubles are heavy on him. 7 Yet no one knows what will happen because who can tell him what will happen? 8 No one has authority over the wind to restrain it, and there is no authority over the day of death; there is no furlough in battle, and wickedness will not allow those who practice it to escape. 9 All this I have seen, applying my mind to all the work that is done under the sun, at a time when one man has authority over another to his harm.

10 In such circumstances, I saw the wicked buried. They came and went from the holy place, and they were praised in the city where they did so. This too is futile. 11 Because the sentence against a criminal act is not carried out quickly, the heart of people is filled with the desire to commit crime. 12 Although a sinner commits crime a hundred times and prolongs his life, yet I also know that it will go well with God-fearing people, for they are reverent before Him. 13 However, it will not go well with the wicked, and they will not lengthen their days like a shadow, for they are not reverent before God.

14 There is a futility that is done on the earth: there are righteous people who get what the actions of the wicked deserve, and there are wicked people who get what the actions of the righteous deserve. I say that this too is futile. 15 So I commended enjoyment because there is nothing better for man under the sun than to eat, drink, and enjoy himself, for this will accompany him in his labor during the days of his life that God gives him under the sun.

16 When I applied my mind to know wisdom and to observe the activity that is done on the earth (even though one’s eyes do not close in sleep day or night), 17 I observed all the work of God and concluded that man is unable to discover the work that is done under the sun. Even though a man labors hard to explore it, he cannot find it; even if the wise man claims to know it, he is unable to discover it.

Ecclesiastes 9 (HCSB)

Enjoy Life Despite Death

1 Indeed, I took all this to heart and explained it all: the righteous, the wise, and their works are in God’s hands. People don’t know whether to expect love or hate. Everything lies ahead of them. 2 Everything is the same for everyone: there is one fate for the righteous and the wicked, for the good and the bad, for the clean and the unclean, for the one who sacrifices and the one who does not sacrifice. As it is for the good, so it is for the sinner; as for the one who takes an oath, so for the one who fears an oath. 3 This is an evil in all that is done under the sun: there is one fate for everyone. In addition, the hearts of people are full of evil, and madness is in their hearts while they live—after that they go to the dead. 4 But there is hope for whoever is joined with all the living, since a live dog is better than a dead lion. 5 For the living know that they will die, but the dead don’t know anything. There is no longer a reward for them because the memory of them is forgotten. 6 Their love, their hate, and their envy have already disappeared, and there is no longer a portion for them in all that is done under the sun.

7 Go, eat your bread with pleasure, and drink your wine with a cheerful heart, for God has already accepted your works. 8 Let your clothes be white all the time, and never let oil be lacking on your head. 9 Enjoy life with the wife you love all the days of your fleeting life, which has been given to you under the sun, all your fleeting days. For that is your portion in life and in your struggle under the sun. 10 Whatever your hands find to do, do with all your strength, because there is no work, planning, knowledge, or wisdom in Sheol where you are going.

The Limitations of Wisdom

11 Again I saw under the sun that the race is not to the swift, or the battle to the strong, or bread to the wise, or riches to the discerning, or favor to the skillful; rather, time and chance happen to all of them. 12 For man certainly does not know his time: like fish caught in a cruel net or like birds caught in a trap, so people are trapped in an evil time as it suddenly falls on them.

13 I have observed that this also is wisdom under the sun, and it is significant to me: 14 There was a small city with few men in it. A great king came against it, surrounded it, and built large siege works against it. 15 Now a poor wise man was found in the city, and he delivered the city by his wisdom. Yet no one remembered that poor man. 16 And I said, “Wisdom is better than strength, but the wisdom of the poor man is despised, and his words are not heeded.”


SIN (verse 9:9): Father, you tell me to enjoy life with my wife because that is my portion in life. Forgive me for being horrible at this for so long. Forgive me for not truly enjoying You and what this life has to offer me with my wife, my soul mate, my love by my side. Help me to keep my joy on You, so that I can be overflowing for her in enjoying life.

PROMISE (verse 8:6): You assure us that even when we feel our troubles are heavy on us, that Your timing is always the right time and Your ways are always the right procedures. Help me to understand and internalize this so that even when my troubles are heavy that I will continue to focus on, rely on, and trust in You, Lord.

ATTITUDE (verses 8:14-15): God, please help me to have an attitude of contentment with Your will. Help me to not envy others or be jealous of others. Help me to truly recognize that what I have, no matter how much or how little, is from You and to be appreciative of all of it so that I may live a joyful life glorifying You.

COMMAND (verse 9:10): You command us that whatever we do, to do it with all of our strength because this life is where we must, for in eternity there will be no tiring from work and all our sins will be removed. Help me to show my faithfulness, Lord, by always working hard and being fully committed to anything I do in Your will.

EXAMPLE (verses 9:1-7): Father, thank You for the example you give here about loving and enjoying this life while we still can, because only You know what tomorrow brings. Help me to embrace this so that I may truly live this life with joy; finding joy in You through all things that this life may bring.

*DAILY NOTE: These two chapters hit pretty hard as I've been stuck in my own selfish issues, hurts, and pain for far too long; often taking it out on others and failing to find joy in many things this world has to offer. Thank You for reminding me, Father, that there is plenty of joy for me to experience around me if I am leaning on You through it all and seeing You in it all. Help me to remember this day-to-day, hour-to-hour, minute-to-minute throughout my life, Father, so that I may joyfully live to glorify You in all things I do.

*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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