Six short lessons from Ecclesiastes chapter 4
Vs 1-3, Evil and oppression are in this world and those who oppress seem to have more power on their side to oppress. The only ones that are free from oppression are those that are dead but the most privileged are those that have never exited (not born). Why because even those that are dead only just had rest from the evil and oppression in this world but they that have not exited had neither experienced evil nor oppression. But for us alive today, in this world we would experience oppression and evil, don’t be part of those that oppress others.
1. Again I looked and saw all the oppression that was taking place under the sun: I saw the tears of the oppressed— and they have no comforter; power was on the side of their oppressors — and they have no comforter.
2. And I declared that the dead, who had already died, are happier than the living, who are still alive.
3. But better than both is the one who has never been born, who has not seen the evil that is done under the sun.
Vs 4, Your labor should not be as a result of envy. It’s not a compitition, the labor that is motivated by envy has no joy; it is exhausting and empty.
4. And I saw that all toil and all achievement spring from one person’s envy of another. This too is meaningless, a chasing after the wind.
Vs 5-6, it’s only a fool that folds his hands and destroys himself with laziness and idleness. Work hard but it’s very important that you learn how to rest and be patient than running around with too much work and no rest in pursuit of success. All the toiling and business is not worth it at last,
5. Fools fold their hands and ruin themselves.
6. Better one handful with tranquillity than two handfuls with toil and chasing after the wind.
Vs 7-8, Work hard but learn to enjoy what you have also labored for, don’t be carried away with gathering riches without end. Let us take time to ask ourselves who we are gathering for because at the end it is all emptiness with no one to share it with. Wealth is sweeter when we share it with others.
7. Again I saw something meaningless under the sun:
8. There was a man all alone; he had neither son nor brother. There was no end to his toil, yet his eyes were not content with is wealth. “For whom am I toiling,” he asked, “and why am I depriving myself of enjoyment?” This too is meaningless — a miserable business!
Vs 9-12, Life without a true friend or companion is not satisfying. Two are better than one. Learn to connect with others and build good relationships because life is sweeter with friends; success is fulfilling when you have someone to share it with. The advantage of togetherness cannot be overemphasized; remember, one broom stick can be broken without stress but a stack of broom sticks cannot be easily broken.
9. Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor:
10. If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up.
11. Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone?
12. Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.
Vs 13, Be open to receive instructions and friendly rebuke or warning, for a young one who listens to advise is wiser and better than an old foolish person who will not listen to advise or warning. Wisdom involves learning and listening to others, it involves humility to listen to the warning and rebuke of others. If you are wise to listen to others it will bring you riches and the position of a foolish king will be yours. Shalom!
13 Better a poor but wise youth than an old but foolish king who no longer knows how to heed a warning. 14 The youth may have come from prison to the kingship, or he may have been born in poverty within his kingdom. 15 I saw that all who lived and walked under the sun followed the youth, the king’s successor. 16 There was no end to all the people who were before them. But those who came later were not pleased with the successor. This too is meaningless, a chasing after the wind.