Ecclesiastes 9 … Consider Him, Our Living Hope

For whoever is joined with all the living, there is hope… (9:4).

Confession time. I’m ready to move on… not out of God’s Word, but out of Ecclesiastes. It’s the same feeling I had during many of the days spent in the book of Job, that desperate desire for some hope and encouragement.

And I realized there are definite similarities between these two books; both convey evaluations of life’s circumstances through the wisdom of man. And when we fill our heads with man’s ill-advised counsel,  discouragement, depression and despair are sure to fill our hearts.

But, tucked within one sentence is a perspective shift that can usher in a swell of hope.

For whoever is joined with all the living, there is hope… (9:4).

And Solomon goes on to make a comparison in this verse: “surely a live dog is better than a dead lion.” But there is no true hope in what eventually dies. And when we scrutinize and examine life under the human microscope of impending death, doesn’t any hope of hope die as well?

There’s an old Irish proverb that encapsulates dead hope, “There’s nothing so bad that it couldn’t be worse.” And much of this chapter sort of felt just like that; it’s bound to be worse.

  • Life has no guarantees: “Man does not know whether it will be love or hatred; anything awaits him,” (9:1).
  • Doesn’t matter how you live, you’re going to die anyway: “It is the same for all. There is one fate for the righteous and for the wicked…This is an evil in all that is done under the sun, that there is one fate for all men…” (9:2-3).
  • This life is full of evil and insanity, and then comes death: “…Furthermore, the hearts of the sons of men are full of evil and insanity is in their hearts throughout their lives. Afterwards they go to the dead,” (9:3).
  • No one can prepare for sudden tragedy, might as well just wait for it to happen: “Moreover, man does not know his time: like fish caught in a treacherous net and birds trapped in a snare, so the sons of men are ensnared at an evil time when it suddenly falls on them,” (9:12).
  • There is no honor in wisdom unless you have the world’s wealth to back it up; so why bother: “But there was found in it a poor wise man and he delivered the city by his wisdom. Yet no one remembered that poor man,” (9:15).
  • One apple can spoil the whole bunch, even wisdom is hopeless: “Wisdom is better than weapons of war, but one sinner destroys much good,” (9:18).

Dead hope is fatalism at its finest. Fatalism is the belief that all events are subject to fate, usually with a connotation of death, ruin, misfortune, and every other depressing thing one can imagine. And it seems, in all of Solomon’s wisdom, we are confronted with this fatalistic attitude that death, misfortune and ruin are a given; and nothing can make our heart as sick as when we are robbed of hope.

Hope deferred makes the heart sick,
But desire fulfilled is a tree of life,
(Proverbs 13:12).

And it is all so very discouraging. And then I realized, isn’t that exactly what His Word is meant to do? His Word will always discourage us from looking for satisfaction in a world with no guarantees and encourage us to look up to the guarantees promised in Him, Our Living Hope.

Consider Him, Our Living Hope

  • He Is Our Living Hope Who has caused us to be born again.
    • Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, (1 Peter 1:3-6).
  • He Is Our Living Hope Who saves us by His grace.
    • For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them, (Ephesians 2:8-10).
  • He Is Our Living Hope Who does not forget our needs or afflictions.
    • For the needy will not always be forgotten,
      Nor the hope of the afflicted perish forever,
      (Psalm 9:18).
  • He Is Our Living Hope Who gives us a future and hope.
    • “For I know the plans that I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope,” (Jeremiah 29:11).
  • He Is Our Living Hope Who satisfies our thirst.
    • Jesus answered and said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will thirst again; 14 but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him shall never thirst; but the water that I will give him will become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life,” (John 4:13-14).
  • He Is Our Living Hope Who fills us for His Glory.
    • that is, the mystery which has been hidden from the past ages and generations, but has now been manifested to His saints, 27 to whom God willed to make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory, (Colossians 1:26-27).
  • He Is Our Living Hope Who guarantees His promise of eternal life.
    • Paul, a bond-servant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ, for the faith of those chosen of God and the knowledge of the truth which is according to godliness, in the hope of eternal life, which God, who cannot lie, promised long ages ago, but at the proper time manifested, even His word, in the proclamation with which I was entrusted according to the commandment of God our Savior, (Titus 1:1-3).

How do we respond to Him, Our Living Hope?

When we place our faith in Christ for our salvation, we are justified and declared righteous by His grace. That is definitely Living Hope for this life. But we know that even when we are born again, we cannot escape the mishaps and setbacks of this life. But He promises, if we will trust His love and His Holy Spirit, we will not merely survive the trials, but we will thrive as He conforms to the image of His Son’s character through perseverance in Him, Our Living Hope.

Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have obtained our introduction by faith into this grace in which we stand; and we exult in hope of the glory of God. And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us, (Romans 5:1-5).

And we need perseverance, for life offers us no guarantees, unless it is the guarantee from God Who cannot lie. So today, let’s choose not to be trapped in our worries and angst concerning the uncertainties of life. Instead, let us turn our hope to what is guaranteed by Him, Our Living Hope.

  • Let us turn in faith to Him, Our Living Hope, as we trust the guarantee of His Lovingkindness.
    • Behold, the eye of the Lord is on those who fear Him,
      On those who hope for His lovingkindness,
      19 To deliver their soul from death
      And to keep them alive in famine.
      20 Our soul waits for the Lord;
      He is our help and our shield.
      21 For our heart rejoices in Him,
      Because we trust in His holy name.
      22 Let Your lovingkindness, O Lord, be upon us,
      According as we have hoped in You,
      (Psalm 33:18-22).
  • Let us turn in faith to Him, Our Living Hope, that we would walk in the guarantee of His perseverance.
    • For in hope we have been saved, but hope that is seen is not hope; for who hopes for what he already sees?  25 But if we hope for what we do not see, with perseverance we wait eagerly for it, (Romans 8:24-25).
  • Let us turn in faith to Him, Our Living Hope, that we would receive the guarantee of His joy, peace and power.
    • Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you will abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit, (Romans 15:13).
  • Let us turn in faith to Him, Our Living Hope, trusting the guarantee of His power to establish us in Him forever.
    • After you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself perfect, confirm, strengthen and establish you. 11 To Him be dominion forever and ever. Amen, (1 Peter 5:10-11).
  • Let us ask Him, Our Living Hope to enlighten us by His Holy Spirit, that we would truly know the guarantee of the hope of His Calling and the riches of our glorious inheritance.
    • I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you will know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, 19 and what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe. These are in accordance with the working of the strength of His might 20 which He brought about in Christ, when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, (Ephesians 1:18).

And as we turn away from the world’s answers and trust in Him, Our Living Hope, He will enable us to flourish and yield fruit even in the midst of all the perplexities and adversities of life.

This is what the LORD says…
7 “Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD,
And whose hope is the LORD.
“For he shall be like a tree planted by the waters,
Which spreads out its roots by the river,
And will not fear when heat comes;
But its leaf will be green,
And will not be anxious in the year of drought,
Nor will cease from yielding fruit,”
(Jeremiah 17:5, 7-8 NKJV).

Oh, that we would truly grow to live this life by faith, that in every affliction we would fix all our thoughts on only Him, Our Living and Eternal Hope.

Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day. 17 For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison, 18 while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal, (2 Corinthians 4:16-18).

In closing, a great way to strengthen our faith in Him, Our Living Hope is through the practice of praise.

O love the Lord, all you His godly ones!
The Lord preserves the faithful
And fully recompenses the proud doer.
24 Be strong and let your heart take courage,
All you who hope in the Lord,
(Psalms 31:23-24).

And now, Lord, for what do I wait?
My hope is in You,
(Psalms 39:7).

We can also practice praise as we listen to music that declares the truths of Him, Our Living Hope. Phil Wickham’s song, Living Hope, is a great one. I have included the lyrics to the chorus to get you started:

“Hallelujah, praise the one who set me free
Hallelujah, death has lost its grip on me
You have broken every chain
There’s salvation in your name
Jesus Christ, my living hope…”

Jesus Christ is Our Living Hope. Oh, that we would live in constant remembrance and thanksgiving for His guarantee of salvation we have through our faith that has joined us together with all the saints in Him, Our Living Hope

For whoever is joined with all the living, there is hope… (9:4).

giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified us to share in the inheritance of the saints in Light, (Colossians 1:12).

Let’s Grow Together!

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