Step 1: Opening and Introduction to the lesson – Personal Testimonies from last week’s study and Reflection: Everyone knows the phrase, You can’t take it with you. If you could, what one exception to this rule would you like, when your time comes? What oaths or vows have you ever taken (scouts, marriage, secrecy, etc.,)? How easy is it for you to keep them?
Step 2: Hear – Read: A Common Destiny for All Ecclesiastes 9:1 –9:12.
Step 3: Explore – Discover the Passage
- What does the teacher conclude about human destiny (vv. 1-2)? What people take oaths and who are afraid to (v. 2)?
- What theme unifies verses 3-6? How is death described here? In this context, what is the madness in their hearts (v. 3): Evil? Craziness? Aliveness? Hope? Love? Hate? Jealousy? To whom is this madness ascribed? In this context, are you mad?
- To what actions does the Teacher exhort us in verses 7-10? To what attitude? What motivation does he suggest for such a lifestyle? What does it mean to be clothed in white (v. 8)?
- What explanation is offered for the apparent contradictions in verse 11? How does this relate to the evil times in verse 12?
Step 4: Connect – Apply the Passage:
- Do you feel you deserve a reward in life for your righteousness? Or would some kick in the pants be more appropriate? What trophy, booby prize or punishment do you feel you deserve?
- In what ways do you feel you receive the benefits of faith in this life? Are there benefits that you have ignored or rejected? Why? What are they?
- Given the unexpected nature of life (vv. 11-12), how do you prepare yourself for such disruptions? How can you best help others through them?
Step 5: Reflect: For this is your lot in life and in your toilsome labor under the sun. Whatever your hands finds to do, do it with all your might, for in the grave, …there is neither working nor planning nor knowledge nor wisdom.