Ecclesiastes 3. Frustration, Judgement & Joy

Wise living requires that we recognise the times we live in. Then we can act wisely, neither giving into fate nor exhausting ourselves by our inability to finally tame the forces that shape us and our circumstance. Wisdom is a dialogue with life and responding by living with active reverence. [Audio | Notes]

Michael Flynn


Ecclesiastes 3:1-22

For further thought

Here is an outline of Ecclesiastes 3 with some questions to prompt your own thinking.

Time [3:1-8]

Our times are determined by God and our job is to be wise enough to discern them

Frustration and Joy [3:9-15]

We have ‘eternity set in our hearts yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end’ Even so we can find joy in our daily lives as a gift of God

Justice [3:16-21]

If we work against God by acting unjustly then the very act of injustice mocks us instead of God. Our injustice shows we are like beasts rather than like gods.

Joy [3:22]

Ecclesiastes encourages his readers to respond to the uncertainties and fixed times of life with actively pursuing the gifts of joy that God holds out to us.

Q: Do you think there are seasons in life that the wise need to recognise and prepare for?

Q: What reason does the apostle Paul give in Romans 8:18-30 for why God has subjected our world to frustration?

Q: Is Ecclesiastes recommending passivity in the face of the times God has set or something else?

Q: How do we find the gift of joy according to Ecclesiastes 3?

Q: How does our rebellion against God’s ways in verses 16-21 turn out not to mock God but ourselves?