Devotional Readings

Ecclesiastes 8 – The Work of God, Time and Judgment

Curious verses these are:

Ecc 8:17  Then I beheld all the work of God, that a man cannot find out the work that is done under the sun: because though a man labour to seek it out, yet he shall not find it; yea further; though a wise man think to know it, yet shall he not be able to find it.

Joh 6:28  Then said they unto him, What shall we do, that we might work the works of God?

Joh 6:29  Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.


John Gill writes…

Ecclesiastes 8:17

Then I beheld all the work of God,…. Not of creation, but of Providence; took notice of it, contemplated on it, considered it, and weighed it well; viewed the various steps and methods of it, to find out, if possible, at least, some general rule by which it proceeded: but all so various and uncertain,

that a man cannot find out the work that is done under the sun: he can find out that it is done, but not the reason why it is done: the ways of God are in the deep, and not to be traced; they are unsearchable and past finding out; there is a βαθος, a depth of wisdom and knowledge, in them, inscrutable by the wisest of men, Psa 72:19;

because, though a man labour to seek it out, yet he shall not find it; Noldius and others render it “although”; not only a man that, in a slight and negligent manner, seeks after the knowledge of the works of divine Providence, and the reasons of them; but even one that is diligent and laborious at it is not able to find them out; they being purposely concealed by the Lord, to answer some ends of his;

yea, further, though a wise man think to know it, yet shall he not be able to find it; a man of a great natural capacity, such an one as Solomon himself, though he proposes to himself, and determines within himself to find it out, and sets himself to the work, and uses all the means and methods he can devise, and imagines with himself he shall be able to find out the reasons of the divine procedure, in his dispensations towards the righteous and the wicked; and yet, after all, he is not able to do it. The Targum is,

“what shall be done in the end of days;”

wherefore it is best for a man to be easy and quiet, and enjoy what he has in the best manner he can, and submit to the will of God.


The phrase is the same in John 6, though the meaning has the sense of the determination of our salvation.

what shall we do that we might work the works of God? Such as are agreeable to his will, are acceptable to him, and well pleasing in his sight: they seem to intimate, as if they desired to know whether there were any other works of this kind, than what Moses had directed them to, or than they had done; and if there were, they suggest they would gladly do them; for this was the general cast and complexion of this people; they were seeking for righteousness, and life not by faith, but, as it were, by the works of the law.

Jesus answered and said unto them, this is the work of God,…. The main and principal one, and which is well pleasing in his sight; and without which it is impossible to please him; and without which no work whatever is a good work; and this is of the operation of God, which he himself works in men; it is not of themselves, it is the pure gift of God:

that ye believe on him whom he hath sent; there are other works which are well pleasing to God, when rightly performed, but faith is the chief work, and others are only acceptable when done in the faith of Christ. This, as a principle, is purely God’s work; as it is an act, or as it is exercised under the influence of divine grace, it is man’s act: “that ye believe”; the object of it is Christ, as sent by the Father, as the Mediator between God and men, as appointed by him to be the Saviour and Redeemer; and believing in Christ, is believing in God that sent him. The Jews reduce all the six hundred and thirteen precepts of the law, for so many they say there are, to this one, “the just shall live by his faith”, Hab 2:4. (e).

(e) T. Bab. Maccot, fol. 23. 2. & 24. 1.


Jesus confirms this 3 times in the following verses.

Joh 6:36  But I said unto you, That ye also have seen me, and believe not.


Joh 6:37  ♥️  All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.


Joh 6:38  For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me.

Joh 6:39  And this is the Father’s will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day.

Joh 6:40  And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day.


Joh 6:41  The Jews then murmured at him, because he said, I am the bread which came down from heaven.

Joh 6:42  And they said, Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? how is it then that he saith, I came down from heaven?

Joh 6:43  Jesus therefore answered and said unto them, Murmur not among yourselves.


Joh 6:44  ♥️  No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.


Joh 6:60  Many therefore of his disciples, when they had heard this, said, This is an hard saying; who can hear it?


Joh 6:61  When Jesus knew in himself that his disciples murmured at it, he said unto them, Doth this offend you?


Joh 6:62  What and if ye shall see the Son of man ascend up where he was before?

Joh 6:63  It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.


Joh 6:64  But there are some of you that believe not. For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were that believed not, and who should betray him.


Joh 6:65  ♥️  And he said, Therefore said I unto you, that no man can come unto me, except it were given unto him of my Father.


Joh 6:66  From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him.


Joh 6:67  Then said Jesus unto the twelve, Will ye also go away?


This is the hard message of the gospel.

Luk 8:8  And other fell on good ground, and sprang up, and bare fruit an hundredfold. And when he had said these things, he cried, He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.

Btw another study into the wisdom of this teaching can be found…..


Ecc 8:5  Whoso keepeth the commandment shall feel no evil thing: and a wise man’s heart discerneth both time and judgment.

Ecc 8:6  Because to every purpose there is time and judgment, therefore the misery of man isgreat upon him.


and a wise man’s heart discerneth both time and judgment; he knows not only what is his duty to do, both with respect to God and men, to a temporal prince or the King eternal; but he knows also the most fit and convenient time of doing it; and lays hold on every opportunity that offers, and which may be called “redeeming time”, Gal 6:10; and he knows the right manner in which it should be performed, with all the agreeable circumstances of it, which he carefully observes; or he knows the judgment that will be passed, or the punishment that will be inflicted on delinquents, either by God or men; and therefore is careful to keep the commandment, and avoid it: and especially he remembers there is a judgment to come, when everything will be brought to an account; and, though he does not know the precise day and hour, yet he knows there will be such a time; so some render it, “the time of judgment” (b): the Targum is,

“and the time of prayer, and of judgment, and of truth, is known by the heart of the wise.”



Ecc 8:7  For he knoweth not that which shall be: for who can tell him when it shall be?

Ecc 8:8  There is no man that hath power over the spirit to retain the spirit; neither hath he power in the day of death: and there is no discharge in that war; neither shall wickedness deliver those that are given to it.

Ecc 8:9  All this have I seen, and applied my heart unto every work that is done under the sun: there is a time wherein one man ruleth over another to his own hurt.

Those Who Fear God Will Do Well

Ecc 8:10  And so I saw the wicked buried, who had come and gone from the place of the holy, and they were forgotten in the city where they had so done: this is also vanity.

Ecc 8:11  Because sentence against an evil work is not executed speedily, therefore the heart of the sons of men is fully set in them to do evil.

Ecc 8:12  Though a sinner do evil an hundred times, and his days be prolonged, yet surely I know that it shall be well with them that fear God, which fear before him:

Ecc 8:13  But it shall not be well with the wicked, neither shall he prolong his days, which are as a shadow; because he feareth not before God.




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