In our study of Ecclesiastes chapter eleven, we look at the meaning and some characteristics of faith. The Hebrew word that is translated as faith is the word emunah and it comes from the root word aman. Aman means to securely trust or rely on something and it is where we get the word "amen". This chapter will show us what this trust looks like in real life.
Ship your grain across the sea; after many days you may receive a return.
Until recently shipping and sailing the high seas was a risky but profitable business. A commercial voyage by sea takes time and so payment is usually delayed until the goods are delivered. The shipper knows that payment is coming but only if the goods make it to their destination. Here, we see that faith in God involves taking what appears to be risks. We also see that true faith is trusting God even when reward is delayed. If you are serving the Lord, there will be many people that oppose you and you may not have massive amounts of support or help. Even so, the faithful press on because we trust God when He says that our reward is coming.
Invest in seven ventures, yes in eight; you do not know what disaster may come upon the land.
A good business person does not "put all of their eggs in one basket". The same is true for those who are serving the Lord. As Paul said (1 Co. 9:22), we serve in many ways because we do not know which thing God is going to use to reach someone. This demonstrates our faith as many times it requires us to step outside of our comfort zone. We must trust God's leadership through the Holy Spirit as well as His provision.
If clouds are full of water, they pour rain on the earth. Whether a tree falls to the south or to the north, in the place where it falls, there it will lie. Whoever watches the wind will not plant; whoever looks at the clouds will not reap.
Trusting God involves taking one step at a time starting from where you are at. Many people become paralyzed with the thought of what might be and waiting for the perfect conditions. Just as a farmer that waits for the perfect condition to plant will not have a crop, the same is true for a Christian that waits for the perfect time to start serving the Lord.
As you do not know the path of the wind, or how the body is formed in a mother's womb, so you cannot understand the work of God, the Maker of all things.
Although we know the scientific answers to these questions today, the people of this time did not have any idea. We have much knowledge today but we still must be humble enough to say that we do not understand everything about God and His ways. It is easy to trust God when we understand how He is doing something but it takes true faith to trust Him when we do not have all of the answers. As Christians today, we have a huge advantage in the fact that we have a record of what God has done in the past (the Bible).
Sow your seed in the morning, and at evening let your hands not be idle, for you do not know which will succeed, whether this or that, or whether both will do equally well.
A true faith involves action. Because we trust that the things God has said are true, we know that our days are numbered until Jesus returns. He has given us the ministry of reaching the lost and it involves many ways. We are to make good use of the time that we have and use whatever means we can to reach them.
Light is sweet, and it pleases the eyes to see the sun. However many years anyone may live, let them enjoy them all. But let them remember the days of darkness, for there will be many. Everything to come is meaningless.
As we go through life, there will be good days (days of sun) and bad days (days of darkness). True faith rejoices in both types of days as we remain focused on the fact that we will live forever with Him. Although God uses these days on earth to shape us and to grow us, we are reminded that the events of these days do not mean much when compared to eternity. We are to constantly look back (remember) the dark days and how God brought us through them. Each successful journey through a dark day builds up our faith and can even build up those around us.
You who are young, be happy while you are young, and let your heart give you joy in the days of your youth. Follow the ways of your heart and whatever your eyes see, but know that for all these things God will bring judgment.
We all have done things and chalked it up to our youthful foolishness and this verse speaks to that. We can follow our own ways and have a good time. God sees all things and those days will end soon enough so it is best to accept Jesus and the wisdom of God at an early age.
So then, banish anxiety from your heart and cast off the troubles of your body, for youth and vigor are meaningless.
We can grow old and strong in the Lord or we can try to resist both time and God. It seems that many people chase after their youth and will spare no expense in trying to cheat time. In the end that is futile because God has decreed a day to judge all men and an end to this time.