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Bible Commentaries
Ecclesiastes 11

Bell's Commentary on the BibleBell's Commentary

Verses 1-10

  1. Intro:
    1. Sol. has been experimenting & investigating “life under the sun”.
      1. He gives 7 ways here, that will help us in our everyday lives.
    2. 7 Ways to live: Live by Faith; Live where you land; Live w/o Hesitation; Live Submissively; Live Diligently; Live Joyfully; & Live Carefully!
  2. LIVE BY FAITH! (1,2)
    1. Solomon seems to give two illustrations here: A Merchant sending out his ships (1,2); & A Farmer sowing his seed (3-6).
      1. Both the Merchant & the Farmer must exercise faith, because neither can control all his circumstances.
        1. Merchants: Risks – ships could hit a reef, a storm, get attacked by pirates & loose its cargo.
        2. Farmers: Risks – Bad weather (drought/too much rain), locust infestation, loose crops.
      2. Life has a certain amount of “risks”(dangers, hazards) to it, & that’s where faith comes in.
    2. (1) “cast your bread upon the waters” – or possibly “send out your grain in ships.”
      1. Solomon was very involved in different kinds of trade. (1 Kings 9:26,27; 10:14,15)
        1. It would be months or years before they would return (1 Kings 22), so this would take faith & patience.
    3. (2) Here Solomon suggests spreading out your wealth, not to put everything into one adventure.
      1. “Don’t put all your eggs into one basket!”
      2. Or, “send cargo on 7 or 8 ships – some of them are bound to give a return on your investment.”
    4. (2b) “for you do not know”(also in 5,6) – But don’t let your ignorance of the future paralyze you.
    5. This also can be speaking of generosity!
      1. Note “give” is the key.
      2. “7 & also to 8” is the scriptural pattern to show we should give liberally/generously.
        1. Like (Prov.30:15,18,21,29; & Amos 1,2)
    1. ​​​​​​​Some things in life (clouds) are always changing. Some things remain permanent (tree).
      1. Our past for instance cannot be changed where it landed it landed.
      2. Yet the present is still available to us, we must seize each opportunity!
    2. “in the place” – God has placed us where we are.
      1. Where we were born (USA/India)
      2. Into either poor/middle class/or wealthy homes.
      3. Live where you land! – Not necessarily geographical!
        1. But in any state I am in, there I’m going to be content, because that’s where God has me now!
      4. “Bloom where you are planted!”
    1. ​​​​​​​If the Merchant or the Farmer waited until circumstances were ideal, they’d never get anything done! {hesitation vs.diligence}
      1. The wind is never right for the Sower, the clouds are never right for the Reapers!
      2. Be cautious not to be “Hyper-Conscientious”!
      3. “Don’t wait for conditions that will never exist!”
        1. “After all is said and done, there's usually more said than done!”
      4. “If you’re looking for an excuse for doing nothing, you can find one!”
      5. This is not coming against “careful observation of surrounding conditions”!
      6. “Waiting for perfect conditions will mean inactivity!” (L.A.B.)
        1. If you’re looking for the perfect church, you’ll never join one.
        2. If you’re looking for the perfect ministry, you’ll never serve in one.
        3. If you’re waiting until you have enough $ to live on, you’ll never give!
        4. If you’re waiting for a certain amount in the bank before you have children, you’ll never have kids!
    2. Story - “The spider casts her film out to the wind, feeling sure that somewhere or other it will adhere and form the beginning of her web. She commits the slender filament to the breeze believing that there is a place provided for it to fix itself.
      1. In this fashion we should believingly cast forth our endeavors in this life, confident that God will find a place for us. He who bids us pray and work will aid our efforts and guide us in his providence in a right way. Do not sit still in despair, but keep casting out the floating thread of hopeful endeavor, and the wind of love will bear it to its resting place.” (Spurgeon/Morn & Eve)
      2. (example) Spiders web in my back yard???
        1. Don’t be fearful of the wind use it, cast your film into it.
        2. Don’t be fearful of the clouds use them, let the rain soften your soil.
    1. ​​​​​​​We may know the “general” plan of God, but beyond our knowledge is “the detailed works of God!”
      1. Don’t try to outguess God & His works!
      2. It is enough to know the broad spectrum of His plan!
    1. ​​​​​​​Note, “withhold not your hand” –
      1. Be diligent morning until evening, then let the results (success or failure) rest in the hand of God!
        1. “Do your best, & let God take care of the rest!”
        2. Like the widow with the Mite! – To her it was just a “drop in the bucket”! J But with God’s secret fertilizer this mite grew to be more than any who had given. (I don’t think she knew that before she gave…”watch this”!)
    2. Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “There is no limit to what can be accomplished, if it doesn't matter who gets the credit.”
    3. Just don’t sit there waiting for secure guarantees for life.
  7. LIVE JOYFULLY! (7,8)
    1. ​​​​​​​(7) Story: Fall of 1979 I started college at Fullerton J.C.(home of the Hornets!) It was lunch time & there was a kid at my table staring directly into the sun. He said it was good for his eyes…it was “in the bible”!…And, it was!
      1. It means: “Pleasant to the eyes is the rising sun in the morning”. (i.e. a new day)
    2. We need to make decisions based on the “eternal” view of things – what will be the impact 5/10 years down the line?
      1. Ps.90:12 “So teach us to number our days, That we may gain a heart of wisdom.”
      2. Each day is a fresh gift from God!
    3. (8) “darkness”? – Take advantage of the days of youth, before the days of darkness come.
      1. Jn.9:4 “I must work the works of Him who sent Me while it is day; the night is coming when no one can work.”
      2. “Time is a circus always packing up and moving away.”
  8. LIVE CAREFULLY! (9,10)
    1. ​​​​​​​This “joy in youth” is definitely a generalization.
      1. It is saying, “Youth is the time for enjoyment, before the problems of old age set in”
        1. A man in his 90’s said, “I don’t go out much now because my parents won’t let me…Mother nature & Father time!”
    2. This is not speaking about “open season” in which “anything goes!”
      1. It is an invitation to youth to get all the cheer & joy they can out of “innocent” happiness!
      2. “judgment” - Life must be lived out w/eternity’s values in view!
        1. 2 Cor.5:10 “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.”
        2. Rom.14:12 “So then each of us shall give account of himself to God.”
      3. “Your one life will soon be past, and only what is done w/eyes fixed on Christ will last!”
      4. Augustine said, “Love & do anything you like!”
        1. Rom.13:10 “Love does no harm to a neighbor;”.
  9. End:
    1. ​​​​​​​Someone gave 4 steps to achievement:
      1. Plan Purposefully
        Prepare Prayerfully
        Proceed Positively
        & Pursue Persistently!
Bibliographical Information
Bell, Brian. "Commentary on Ecclesiastes 11". "Bell's Commentary". https://studylight.org/commentaries/eng/cbb/ecclesiastes-11.html. 2017.
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