Ecclesiastes 11:3-6: Do What Is Certain

Read: Ecclesiastes 11:3-6

Perhaps the only thing that is certain in the world is uncertainty, so the Preacher thinks. The Preacher looks at those that read the signs and try and act according to them. There are those that watch the wind and watch the clouds wait for the opportune time to act according to what they see and interpret. The Preacher thinks this is foolishness, and a person should rather act upon that which is more certain sowing seeds “in the morning” – that is in due time when the time for sowing a particular seed is right. The Preacher suggests this is better because no one knows the mystery of God. Nobody knows when the wind will blow or not blow among other things. And basing one’s actions upon such things is just as uncertain. This isn’t the first time that the Preacher asserts the mystery of the workings of God. The Preacher says that God has set man’s heart on eternity, yet man cannot conceive or understand the works of God (Ecclesiastes 3:11, Ecclesiastes 8:17). Job, after God showed his majesty, repented that he had spoken of things too wonderful to comprehend and repents (Job 42:1-6).

Christians are no less susceptible to musing about the unknown. Here are two biblical examples:

  • The time and date of Jesus’ return. There have been many failed prophecies over the year concerning the exact date of Jesus’ return. But this is no surprise, because Jesus himself said that no one knows the date and time of his return (Matthew 24:36).
  • God’s judgment and mercy is often called into question by any number of people. Paul argues in Romans 9:3-23 that God has the right to act for his purposes, and is not unjust in doing so. Paul by way of analogy says that people cannot question God in this manner any more than a lump of clay can question a potter. The potter can make a vessel for one purpose or another in the same way God acts for one purpose or another.

Isaiah 55:8-9 declares that God’s ways and thoughts are higher than mans. The schemes and works of God are as the sky is to the earth – much higher. This is no excuse to be intellectually lazy in grappling with tough issues and trying to know God better. What it does require, however, is a dose of humility to accept the fact that there are going to be some issues that will not be resolved as Job did. Christians have been hashing out issues since the early church and there does not seem to be any reprieve from this. Rather than get caught up in these debates though, one would do well do what is more certain such as believe in Jesus, love God, love others and make disciples. There can be little debate and uncertainty about these things!

Lord, help me to do the things I know that are certain!