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Who Knows?

Believers must be firm in defending the truth. Ecclesiastes 6.12

Ecclesiastes 6 (7)

Pray Psalm 4.6.
There are
many who say,
“Who will show us any good?”
LORD, lift up the light of Your countenance upon us.

Read Ecclesiastes 6.12.
Review Ecclesiastes 6.

1. How would you answer Solomon’s questions in this verse?

2. How should your answer encourage you to live today?


These verses make me wonder if Solomon’s periodic conversations with his son – recorded here in Ecclesiastes – were more than monologues. Did Rehoboam respond with explanations, rationalizations, justifications for his chosen way of life? Attempts to rebut his father and defend the lifestyle he and his friends had chosen to follow?

Solomon here puts these arguments to silence: no one speaking “under the sun” can say anything of any permanent meaning or significance; no one can tell another man how he ought to live. And no one speaking “under the sun” can tell us anything about what happens after we die. The most we can get are opinions and vain hopes from those who are committed to living like Rehoboam.

For such absolute and eternal meaning we need revelation, not speculation. But revelation is only available to those who are willing to receive it, those who embrace life “under heaven”. If you choose not to live that way, then, if you’ll pardon the expression, you may as well just shut up, because one man’s words under the sun are as worthless as the next man’s.

The Christian must be firm in defending the truth. It’s not that unbelievers never stumble upon or practice things good and true. They do, and Solomon wants to acknowledge that, as should we.

However, unbelievers can’t make sense of this; they can’t account for why they do things good and true, because no one apart from God can finally explain anything.

It’s all simply “true for me”. But in a world where everybody’s truth is as good as anyone else’s, there can be no truth, and everything goes.

Yet no unbeliever will accept that view, for to do so is to validate the use of raw power as justification for everything. Moreover, no one working from a merely human perspective can say anything reliable about things beyond the grave or beyond this material/temporal existence.

But the believer can. Those who live “under heaven” know better, and they also know that their understanding of things is the only one that can make sense of even the unbeliever’s worldview, as well as his own.

1. We know that unbelievers do good things, and have some insights to truth. How do we as believers account for this?

2. Why do we have hope of life beyond the grave? How should that hope affect the way we live now?

3. In a very real sense, unbelievers can’t know anything with finality – in terms of the ultimate meaning and significance of things. Why is this so? What about us as believers? Can we know things truly and finally? Explain.

How can the creature say to its Creator, “Why did you make me like this?” Or, how can a creature answer back to God? Let all those kinds of discussions cease. Instead, let those discussions prevail which guide us towards virtue and knowledge. All that is present in this age of shadows is called vanity and shadows, and all that belongs to this life will be covered with the darkness, becoming obsolete upon departing this life. Evagrius of Pontus (345-399), Scholia on Ecclesiastes 52.6.10-12

Thank You, Lord, that I know You will take us to Yourself when this life is done. Knowing this makes me want to…

Pray Psalm 4.1-8.
How does this psalm help you to understand God’s purpose for you “under heaven”? How does it lead you to live for that purpose today? Let it guide you in thanks, praise, and commitment to the Lord.

Sing Psalm 4.1-8.
Psalm 4.1-8 (Picardy: Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silent)
Answer when I call, Lord Jesus, God of all my righteousness!
Bend Your holy ear, relieve us from all terror, all distress!
Lord, receive our prayer, release us; send Your grace to save and bless!

Wicked men reproach and scorn us, loving what is vile and vain.
God with grace will shield and adorn us through the Savior’s blood and pain.
Jesus, You have bought and borne us; hear our cries for help again.

Let your anger flare, yet sin not; meditate, be still, and rest.
Turn your heart to God, begin not trusting in your righteousness.
Praise the Savior, all from sin bought; trust in Him to save and bless.

Wicked men may scorn and try us, casting doubt upon Your grace.
Send Your Spirit, Lord, don’t deny us till we see Your glorious face.
You Who sent Your Son to buy us, fill our hearts with joy and grace.

Safely in Your peace, let us lie, Lord; keep us in Your love and care.
Rooted in Your strong and wise Word, may we know Your comfort there.
Guard and keep us till we die, Lord; go before us everywhere.

T. M. Moore

Where does the book of Ecclesiastes fit in the overall flow of Scripture? Our series of studies, God’s Covenant, can show you, and help you discover the great beauty of the unity and diversity of Scripture, and how it all points to Christ. To order your copy of this important workbook, click here.

You can download all the studies in this series on Ecclesiastes by clicking here. If you value Scriptorium as a free resource for your walk with the Lord, please consider supporting our work with your gifts and offerings. You can contribute to The Fellowship by clicking the Contribute button  at the website or by sending your gift to The Fellowship of Ailbe, 360 Zephyr Road, Williston, VT 05495.

Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. All psalms for singing adapted from
The Ailbe Psalter. All quotations from Church Fathers from Ancient Christian Commentary Series, General Editor Thomas C. Oden (Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2006). All psalms for singing are from The Ailbe Psalter (available by clicking here).

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in Essex Junction, VT.
Books by T. M. Moore