The third chapter of Ecclesiastes calls us to submit to the authority of God. Our journey is not about gaining understanding apart from faith, but trusting in God and participating in His purpose.

Following a redemptive turn in Chapter 2, Ecclesiastes 3 is a turning point in Solomon’s discussion on meaning and understanding in the world. It starts with a poem that succinctly presents the appropriateness of all things under God’s sovereign design. The chapter moves on to talk about man’s response to God’s eternal mysteries. Solomon talks about what mankind does and does not comprehend.

Interweaving all of these considerations together, Solomon lets us in on the reason for the vaporous nature of existence. Solomon concludes that God has made humans with the desire to comprehend the inner workings of eternity, but He has not given us the capacity to do so on our own, again pointing out the limitations of our reason. It is our choice how to respond to these limitations of reason/experience—through trusting in God or through futility and despair. The proper response is to rejoice and have a glad disposition because God is God and our hope is in Him. Even within mundane endeavors, these vaporous realities can lead us to faith and lay the foundation for enjoyment and fulfillment in life.

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

Solomon’s poem about the paradoxes of life shows God’s timing and sovereignty in all things. It invites us into a perspective of balance and trust in the Lord of All.

Ecclesiastes 3:9-13

When we treat the opportunities of life as a gift from God, we can enjoy all we do. Without faith, life is nothing but frustration.

Ecclesiastes 3:14-17

Solomon declares the cycles of time and circumstance are God’s sovereign handiwork. Since man cannot fully fathom the mysteries of God and because His judgment is coming, we ought to fear Him.

Ecclesiastes 3:18-22

Humans and beasts both return to dust. So how is it we are any better off than the animals? Our purpose and contentment come from accepting reality and trusting in God.