Wisdom Is Not Provoking the King

The great thing that Ecclesiastes is showing us that if you only look at life from the perspective of under the sun, life can be very dark and hopeless. There is a lot of pain. There is a lot of suffering. There is a lot of frustration. And there is always death on the horizon, our own death and the death of our loved ones. If that is all there is, life can have its short-term pleasures, but there is a lot of suffering and then there is death.
— Rev. Jerry Hamstra

Advice from a Disillusioned Teacher

But the author of Ecclesiastes does not take that route. He knows that God is sovereign. He knows that God is somehow involved in everything that happens. And this is a huge part of his problem. The great problem that he is struggling with is exactly the fact that he knows that God is somehow involved in every bad thing that happens. This is why he is so disillusioned with life in God’s world.
— Rev. Jerry Hamstra

Why We are Still Required to Keep the Fourth Commandment (1) A Creation Ordinance

We believe that when God rested on the seventh day and blessed the seventh day and made it holy, he intended that the cycle of six work days and one holy day of rest should last as long as the world would last. We believe that this passage in Genesis teaches that the pattern of six work days and one holy day of rest is a permanent part of the structure of time as God created it. It is part of the nature of things in God’s creation.
— Rev. Jerry Hamstra

The Ascension of Jesus

Now the key to this perspective is the cross of Jesus Christ. The cross helps us to see how God uses weakness and apparent defeat to win the greatest victories. The one who sits at God’s right hand is the one who lived life as a pauper, and from human perspective lived a life of failure and defeat. How much worse can it get if you are executed and all of your followers run away! Jesus’ death seemed to be an utter failure. And yet the moment of the greatest darkness and despair was the moment of triumph and victory. Hebrews 2:14 tells us that it was through death that Jesus destroyed “the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil.”
— Rev. Jerry Hamstra

The (Apparent) Futility of Life

These verses draw out the implications of life under the sun if God is not in the picture. But they also describe what life can look like for believers when they feel that God’s way with the world does not make sense and that life seems to be nothing more than pain and futility.
— Rev. Jerry Hamstra

The Vanity of Not Enjoying Life

The Bible teaching is that the kind of happiness that we need is a happiness that comes from being right with God so that we can face the judgment of God without fear. It is a happiness that comes from being right with God. It is a happiness that comes from being in a harmonious relationship with God. And it is a happiness that comes from learning to live in harmony with God’s law which is the blue-print for a rich and satisfying life.
— Rev. Jerry Hamstra

The Third Commandment (2) Specifics

Jesus kept the Third Commandment perfectly. Not only did he not take the name of God in vain, he glorified that name. He did that by accomplishing the work that the Father had given him to do and he did that by making God’s name known to his followers. Jesus is the perfect model for us of what it means to keep the Third Commandment. But he also kept the Third Commandment in our place so that his perfect record of keeping also this commandment is imputed to us when we believe in Jesus.
— Rev. Jerry Hamstra

The Third Commandment: Reverence for the Name of God

And so, the third commandment, which requires that we only use God’s name with deep reverence and that every thought of God be a thought of worship and adoration, is rooted in what is truly and objectively the most important value in the world. This is why the world exists. This is why we exist. This is what we are for. Nothing exists for any other reason. And that means that dishonoring God is the essence of evil. The greatest possible evil that we can do is to dishonor God. And every other form of evil is the result of dishonoring God. This is not arbitrary. This is the nature of things. This is the nature of reality because reality is rooted in God himself who is ultimate reality.
— Rev. Jerry Hamstra

Enjoying Life!

So, the enjoyment of life that Ecclesiastes is speaking about in these verses is the enjoyment of life with its pleasures as a gift of God. It is the gift of God part that makes the difference between an empty life and a life of profound enjoyment. Then the foundation of the enjoyment is the generosity of God. The enjoyment is in the goodness of God as well as the pleasure in the gift. And because of that there is a contentment with one’s lot. One’s lot in life is a gift of God who distributes his gifts in love and wisdom.
— Rev. Jerry Hamstra