Chapter Eleven OBJECTIVES IN STUDYING THIS CHAPTER 1) To appreciate the value of benevolence and diligence in preparing for the future 2) To glean what counsel the Preacher offers for those who are young SUMMARY In this chapter the Preacher begins with encouraging benevolence and diligence as ways to guard against the uncertain future. By casting our bread upon the waters, willing to offer servings to many, and not withholding our hands in the evening, our benevolence may serve us well in the future should evil befall us. Likewise, things may happen beyond our ability to control or comprehend, but diligence in sowing seed and being mindful of the dark days to come can help to prepare us for their coming (1-8). This chapter also introduces counsel from the Preacher designed especially for the young. The young man is encouraged to rejoice, letting his heart cheer him. He is told to walk in the ways of his heart and in the sight of his eyes, yet with the knowledge that God will hold him accountable for all that he does. So remove sorrow (i.e., rejoice!). But also put away evil during the fleeting years of childhood and youth (9-10). OUTLINE I. THE VALUE OF BENEVOLENCE AND DILIGENCE (11:1-8) A. AN EXHORTATION TO BENEVOLENCE (1-2) 1. Cast your bread upon the waters, you will find it after many days 2. Give servings to seven, and to eight, for you do not know what evil will come B. AN EXHORTATION TO DILIGENCE (3-8) 1. Many things (like rain and wind storms) are inevitable (3-4) a. We cannot stop the clouds full of rain from falling b. Trees will lie wherever they fall c. If we spend our time just watching and not doing, we will not sow and reap 2. There are things we cannot comprehend (5-6) a. Like the way of the wind (or spirit) b. Like the development of the child in the womb c. We cannot comprehend God's working; therefore do not restrict your efforts 3. There will be days of darkness (7-8) a. It is great to be alive when one is well 1) The light is sweet 2) It is pleasant to behold the sun b. But even if one lives many joyful days, they should know that evil days will come II. ADVICE TO THE YOUNG (11:9-10) A. REJOICE IN YOUR YOUTH (9a) 1. Let your heart cheer you in the days of your youth 2. Walk in the ways of your heart, and in the sight of your eyes B. DON'T LOSE SIGHT OF THE JUDGMENT (9b) 1. God will bring you into judgment 2. You will answer for all that you do C. REMOVE SORROW AND EVIL (10) 1. Remove sorrow from your heart 2. Put away evil from your flesh 3. For childhood and youth are vanity REVIEW QUESTIONS FOR THE CHAPTER 1) What are the main points of this chapter? - The value of benevolence and diligence (1-8) - Advice to the young (9-10) 2) Why does the Preacher encourage you to "cast your bread upon the waters"? (1) - It will come back to you after many days 3) Why does the Preacher counsel you to "give a serving to seven, and also to eight"? (2) - You do not know what evil will be on the earth 4) What is the point of these two admonitions? - To be liberal and largesse in your benevolence, for it may help you during difficult days in the future 5) What two examples are given of things that are inevitable? (3) - Clouds full of rain will empty themselves on the earth - Where a tree falls, there it will lie 6) What does the Preacher caution against? (4) - Watching the wind and clouds to the neglect of sowing and reaping 7) What two examples illustrate our limited ability to comprehend the ways of God? (5) - The way of the wind - How the bones of a child grow in the womb 8) How does the Preacher encourage diligence and benevolence? (6) - In the morning, sow your seed (diligence) - In the evening, do not withhold your hand (benevolence) 9) Why does he encourage diligence and benevolence? (6) - For we don't know which of the two will prosper, perhaps even both 10) What is described as sweet and pleasant? (7) - Light is sweet, and it is pleasant to behold the sun 11) If one is blessed to live many joyful years, what should he still bear in mind? (8) - The days of darkness, for they will be many and all that is coming is vanity 12) What does the Preacher encourage the young man to do? (9) - Rejoice in his youth - Let his heart cheer him in the days of his youth - Walk in the ways of his heart and in the sight of his eyes 13) Yet what does the Preacher also encourage him to remember? (9) - God will bring him into judgment for the things he does 14) So what else the Preacher counsel the young man to do? Why? (10) - Remove sorrow from his heart, put away evil from his flesh - Childhood and youth are vanity (fleeting)
The value of diligence
[Ecc 11:1-10 NKJV] 1 Cast your bread upon the waters, For you will find it after many days. 2 Give a serving to seven, and also to eight, For you do not know what evil will be on the earth. 3 If the clouds are full of rain, They empty [themselves] upon the earth; And if a tree falls to the south or the north, In the place where the tree falls, there it shall lie. 4 He who observes the wind will not sow, And he who regards the clouds will not reap. 5 As you do not know what [is] the way of the wind, [Or] how the bones [grow] in the womb of her who is with child, So you do not know the works of God who makes everything. 6 In the morning sow your seed, And in the evening do not withhold your hand; For you do not know which will prosper, Either this or that, Or whether both alike [will be] good. 7 Truly the light is sweet, And [it is] pleasant for the eyes to behold the sun; 8 But if a man lives many years [And] rejoices in them all, Yet let him remember the days of darkness, For they will be many. All that is coming [is] vanity.
Seek God in early life
9 Rejoice, O young man, in your youth, And let your heart cheer you in the days of your youth; Walk in the ways of your heart, And in the sight of your eyes; But know that for all these God will bring you into judgment. 10 Therefore remove sorrow from your heart, And put away evil from your flesh, For childhood and youth [are] vanity.