Sermon – Time: “I didn’t ask to be born and didn’t ask to die” (Ecclesiastes 3:1 – 3:22) – Cornerstone Church Kingston
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Time: "I didn’t ask to be born and didn’t ask to die"

Pete Woodcock, Ecclesiastes 3:1 - 3:22, 17 March 2024

In the next sermon in our series in the book of Ecclesiastes, Pete preaches from Ecclesiastes 3:1-22. In this passage the teacher reflects on the patterns he perceives in the world, as time ticks on. Though he sees patterns, he cannot perceive meaning to it all. How does the gospel speak into the everyday patterns of life we all experience, as well as our eternity?


Ecclesiastes 3:1 - 3:22

3:1 For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:

  a time to be born, and a time to die;
  a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;
  a time to kill, and a time to heal;
  a time to break down, and a time to build up;
  a time to weep, and a time to laugh;
  a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
  a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
  a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
  a time to seek, and a time to lose;
  a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
  a time to tear, and a time to sew;
  a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
  a time to love, and a time to hate;
  a time for war, and a time for peace.

What gain has the worker from his toil? 10 I have seen the business that God has given to the children of man to be busy with. 11 He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also, he has put eternity into man’s heart, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end. 12 I perceived that there is nothing better for them than to be joyful and to do good as long as they live; 13 also that everyone should eat and drink and take pleasure in all his toil—this is God’s gift to man.

14 I perceived that whatever God does endures forever; nothing can be added to it, nor anything taken from it. God has done it, so that people fear before him. 15 That which is, already has been; that which is to be, already has been; and God seeks what has been driven away.

16 Moreover, I saw under the sun that in the place of justice, even there was wickedness, and in the place of righteousness, even there was wickedness. 17 I said in my heart, God will judge the righteous and the wicked, for there is a time for every matter and for every work. 18 I said in my heart with regard to the children of man that God is testing them that they may see that they themselves are but beasts. 19 For what happens to the children of man and what happens to the beasts is the same; as one dies, so dies the other. They all have the same breath, and man has no advantage over the beasts, for all is vanity. 20 All go to one place. All are from the dust, and to dust all return. 21 Who knows whether the spirit of man goes upward and the spirit of the beast goes down into the earth? 22 So I saw that there is nothing better than that a man should rejoice in his work, for that is his lot. Who can bring him to see what will be after him?

(ESV)


Transcript (Auto-generated)

This transcript has been automatically generated, and therefore may not be 100% accurate.

We're gonna have our our reading now. So if you would, like to turn to the book of Ecclesiastes, we're going to read chapter 3 verse 1 to 22. And then after that, we are a a a short video about 4 minutes video is going to play our to the reading, which will just help to kind of begin to apply some of the themes that we see in our in our reading. Some of it is quite is quite uncomfortable as we'll see both in the passage and in the video. And if you are watching online, just to say, at that point, the live stream will will pause when the video comes up, but don't despair.

It will come back once the videos come, and you'll be able to hear the talk. So acoustic 3, verse 1 to 22. There is a time for everything and a season for every activity under the heavens. A time to be born and a time to die. A time to plant, and a time to uproot, a time to kill, and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build.

A time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn, and a time to dance. A time to scatter stones and a time to gather them, a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing. A time to search and a time to give up, a time to keep, and a time to throw away. A time to tear, and a time to mend. A time to be silent and a time to speak, a time to love, and a time to hate, a time for war, and a time for peace.

What do workers gain from their toil? I have seen the bird and god has laid on the human race. He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity into the human heart. Yet no 1 can fathom what god has done from beginning to end I know that there is nothing better for people than to be happy and to do good while they live, that each of them may eat and drink and find satisfaction in all their toil.

This is the gift of god. I know that everything god does will endure forever. Nothing can be added to it and nothing taken from it. God does it so that people will fear him. Whatever is has already been, and what will be has been before, and god will call the past 2 account.

And I saw something else under the sun. In the place of judgment, wickedness was there. In the place of justice, wickedness was there. I said to myself, God will bring into judgment both the righteous and the wicked. For there will be a time for every activity, a time to judge every deed.

I also said to myself, as for humans, god tests them so that they may see that they are like the animals. Surely, the fate of human beings is like that of the animals. The same fate awaits them both as 1 dies, so dies the other. All have the same breath. Humans have no advantage over animals.

Everything is meaningless. All go to the same place. All come from dust. And to dust, all return. Who knows if the human spirit rises upward and if the spirit of the animal goes down into the earth?

So I saw that there is nothing better for a person than to enjoy their work because that is their lot for who can bring them to see what will happen after them. Well, welcome back to those online. Sorry. You couldn't see that. You need to come and a live church, and then you see all kinds of things in live church.

Did you enjoy that? Really? That was done by Joel. I don't know if you remember Joel many, many years ago as an apprentice of the in the church. Let's pray.

Father, help us now as we look at this passage, please help us to see the seriousness of it that we may respond to it. In the power of your spirit, r m. Now, this chapter is 1 of my favorite chapters, in in Ecclesiastes, and it's it's 1 of the most famous, chapters in Ecclesiastes. And it's famous because in the 19 sixties, there was a man port called Pete Seger, who was a folk singer, and he wrote a song based on, the first 8 verses of this chapter, and then a group called The Birds, took that song and and took it into the charts around the world. So that's why it's the most famous You can go and listen to that on Spotify if you want to.

It's obviously a chapter about time. In fact, if you read it in particular those first 8 verses. You get the sense and the rhythm of the TikTok of the chapter. Let me just take you through it. A time to be born, tick, a time to die, talk, a time, to plant tick, a time to uproot, talk, a time to kill, tick, A time to heal talk, a time to tear down tick, a time to build talk, a time to weep tick, a time to laugh talk, a time to mourn tick, attigned to dance talk, tick, talk, tick, talk in those first 8 verses.

And between the first tick, of a time to be born and the last talk of death. There's this steady pushing of the clock. We're pushed from 1 thing to the next. If there's a tick, then there's going to be an inevitable talk. That's what's going on here.

Every day, we wake up to 86400 seconds. In the day before us to spend to invest. But it doesn't take long, does it before bedtime again? It doesn't take long before those 86400 seconds of tick tocked away. And I'm taking some of them now.

TikTok, there's another 1. Want me to waste another 1? T. Talk. There's another 1.

And you can't reclaim them. You can't, put them away you know, for a sunny day. It's a it was nice yesterday, but today, nasty day. We put it away. It's not a video.

You can't rewind and start again. As soon as the tick talk has gone, it's gone. It's relentless time. Tick talk from birth to death. And the older you get, the quicker the TikTok seems to go.

As that as that song said. Let me just remind you of the last last line of that was Pink Floyd. Every year is getting shorter. Never seem to find the time. Plans that either come to naught or half a page of scribbled lines, hanging on, Inquiet desperation is the English way.

The time is gone. The song is over. Thought I'd something more to say. But you hadn't. You hadn't anymore to say.

Largely, what you said was irrelevant, and time will forget you. Time is gone. So to call time a tyrant is is not too strong a word, I don't think, because time seems to be the thing that pushes us to where we don't necessarily want to go, but we have to go. Because with the swing of the tick and the talk, it pushes us in that direction. Now I wanna take this chapter from 2 angles.

The first angle is gonna take us the longest. The last won't take us much longer at all because I think you'll see, how it how it fits. But I want us to think about under the sun. It's a phrase that Solomon who wrote this book uses all the time under the sun of a purely earthly human point of view, leaving out any revelation from above the sun. So he does believe in god, definitely, but he'll talk about god from under the sun, no sort of real revelation of god.

And then the second look at it, I want us to look at, it from above the sun, bringing god's revelation into the picture, someone who speaks from above the sun into our under the sun reality. So first of all, then under the sun. Here's a man, Solomon, we know it's Solomon, and he's trying to make sense of the world, and we've seen that in our in our in our preaches on this already. A last Last week, we've seen all the different things he was trying, the things that people try, you know, from sex to, you know, making buildings and wisdom and folly and drink and all of that sort of stuff. So here's a man.

He's trying to find the reason to life. And and what what what it's about. And he's an honest man, and he asked these questions that are painful questions sometimes, but they're honest question. What is the point Is there a meaning? What is life about?

How do I make sense of what I see under the sun? From a human perspective. And between the time to be born and the time to die, Solomon looks at this whole cross section of life. 8 verses, and they consist of pairs of contrasts. They're opposites, aren't they?

And he introduces each pair with a time. Actually, it's the time, with a time, the time. And it's an expression of predetermination. It's been predetermined. It's as if we haven't got a choice This is where we have to go.

The swing of the the from the talk takes us into the tick. And we're we're on that swing and we we just have to go there. In other words, he's trying to show us in many ways, we have very little choices in life. Oh, you can choose, you know, whether to have weetabix or cornflakes, but in the end, some people say, don't they? I didn't ask to be born.

No, you didn't. You had no choice in it, and I don't ask to die. No, you don't. You but you have no choice. You didn't ask to be born.

I didn't ask to be born English. You know? It was I just was born English. You know? Probably the best nation in the world, but, you know, but that's what I was born.

You know, that's what I am. I didn't ask to be born in in April the sixth. Do you wanna mark that off? 19 58? I didn't ask.

I didn't say mum. Now, you know, it didn't happen like that. It just happened, and I don't ask to die. The truth is we have very little choices, but are those choices between life and death of any meaning? I've got quite quite a few songs because I think people, there's non Christians out there, like Pink Floyd there, are asking these questions.

This is an old song again. It's by Paul Simon's. If you know, Simon and Garfunkle, you know? Here's a song called Patent I'll read it slowly because it's just because Paul Simon, he when he talks on songwriting, he said if you want a songwriter, you need to know the Bible. Read the bible when you'll get a song.

And I think this song is based on on, Ecclesiastes 3 because the birds were singing that at 1 time. Anyway, forget all that. Here's the song patterns. Impaled on my so he's he's he's at night and he's in his room. Impaled on my wall, my eyes condemnly see the patterns of my life, and the puzzle that is me.

From the moment of my birth to the instant of my death, There are patterns I must follow just as I must breathe each breath. Like a rat in a maze, the path before me lies, and the pattern never alters until the rat dies. And the pattern still remains on the war where darkness fell, and it's fitting that it should for in darkness, I must dwell. Like the color of my skin, or the day that I grow old, My life is made of patterns, but can scarcely be controlled. That's true of you, isn't it?

You choose the color of your skin? Did you choose to look like you? Look like I mean, you're spending most of your time trying not to look like you look like. So I think the song has got it right. And as we look at the world under the sun, we seem to be stuck in prearranged patterns that we must follow.

And a lot of people believe this. Those people that believe in the horoscopes or tarot cards or reading of the palm or reading of your tea leaves or or or whatever it is. They're all saying that there are patterns that are already, you know, you read your your palm and, oh, yes, that gonna happen. That's gonna happen. The big things in life are already patterned out.

Or if you go to 1 of the major religions Hinduism, That's that really believes that you're born into a cast. You were born into a pattern. That's what you are, a social class, and you have to just fit into that. And so Solomon is sort of saying the same thing here. When you really think about it, he says, you have very little choices.

The instant of your birth, the moment of your death, they seem ordered by a power outside of myself. And even within the time between death or birth and death, My best plans go wrong. I could even plan within those that period. But suddenly sickness hits me, and I didn't realize it. Unemployment hit me hits me.

I don't know. An accident happens. So even within the circumstances between birth and death, I seem to have very little choice. Now I know this, and we've got to get this because this is the atheistic position, and it's worth saying this. Now bear with me here.

But I I think it'll be worth it. This is quite hefty stuff, but bear with me, because I think this is worth it. I absolutely know there are people that will say there's no meaning in any activity that we do. No meaning. And some people would say there's no movement in time at all.

It's that's just doesn't happen. It's just 1 event, and then another event, and then another event. So they would describe time like a Mexican wave. You know, a Mexican wave, you get people to stand up and down and and it goes around the crowd. And they they would say that time is like that.

It looks like it's got a pattern of going somewhere. It looks like it starts and go somewhere, but actually it's only up and down. There's no real sort of movement along, like like a Mexican wave looks like. And so, no one's going anywhere. And it's all just an accident.

It's all just Someone does something, someone does something else. And it's all really irrelevant. There's no sort of meaning to it. It may look like that sometimes. These patterns may look like it, but there isn't.

That's the atheistic position. And if there's no meaning, then it really doesn't matter whether you stand up or sit down. It doesn't matter whether I kiss you or kill you. If there's literally no meaning to what I do, it doesn't matter whether I help you across the road or I push you in front of the bus. It doesn't matter.

It doesn't matter when or if I declare war on you or if I declare peace on you. It really doesn't matter because you just do what you do because you wanna do what you do. There's no right, and there's no wrong. Nietzsche, the great German atheistic philosopher declared that god is dead, and therefore there is no morality, take god out of the picture, and there's no bigger thing over our time, and god is dead. Listen to what he said.

If god is dead, then everything is permissible. If god is dead, everything is permissible because there's no right or wrong. That's where the answers came from. Everything is permissible. And you can be the superman that you want to be.

His idea of the Superman, the Superman, was that you are risen above morality, and you're a superman. You can do what you and if I'm more stronger than you, then you need to kneel down and do what I say if I want you to. No restraints. But that, right, and come back if you were out of that, that's not how Solomon sees things. He doesn't see this world like this, In this entry in his journal searching for for the meaning of life, he's forced to see that there are patterns There really is a pattern.

There is a TikTok. There is some plan which is above the event, which gives the event meaning. That although we may have planned to go left, we absolutely know it was right to go right, and it was right to go right. Solomon can't take the philosophy of atheism when he looks at the world. Options are not meaningless, he sees.

He sees it when he looks at life. There's a time. There is a right time, and we know it There's a right time for peace where we lay down weapons and we talk for unity. But there is a time and it's right to go to war. There's a time and a season.

For us to rise up and go against the Hitler type person. It's right. So you say, now I hope you're with me here because this really is his He comes back to this quite a lot in in the book. So it's strange, isn't it that you may be a peace loving person, a peace loving man, a peace loving woman, a peace loving nation, but you actually know that even though you're a peace loving nation, you're forced by the circumstances to do the right thing and that's to go to war. That's what he's saying.

In other words, there's a value system that's bigger than us than our actions, there's a value system that judges us. There is something called good timing and there is something called bad timing. There is a tick and there is a talk, and it's right to do it then. And it's right to do it then, even though they're opposites. So look at verse 11.

See this dilemma here. He, that's god, has made everything beautiful in its time. There's something in the right timing that is beautiful And there's something in the wrong timing that is ugly. He's forced to believe in god. He's forced to know that there is there is something ugly when you're out of time, and there's something good when you're in time.

We have this inbuilt sense of doing the right thing at the right time. Are you are you getting what I'm saying here? I'm I'm trying to say it all over, you know, hundreds of time. But are you there's an overall plan in other words. In other words, he can't be an atheist.

Just have a look at verse 11 again. He, that's god, has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart. Yet no 1 can fathom what god has done from beginning to end. In other words, that there's a sense of something bigger within us.

There's something bigger than the world of time. There's something bigger than our actions. There seems to be an eternal plan. Right? If you've got that, then now there's this huge frustrating problem.

So he's looking at the patterns He sees it's right to be peaceful in the tick. It's right to go to war in the talk. There seems to be right timing and wrong timing and It would be wrong to have peace in the talk and it would be wrong to have war in the tick. We're pushed into these things. There seems to be some kind of right and wrong going on.

I can't be an atheist, but here's the huge frustrating problem. Look at verse 11, the end of it. Yet no 1 can fathom what god has done from beginning to end. And then look at verse 10. I have seen the burden that god's laid on the human race.

It's such a burden. I can't understand it. There's this huge burden On the 1 hand, I see patterns and values and what I do matters, but I I just can't work it out. There seems to be contradictions in in it all. There's a time when a mother loves her son and gives everything to her son.

But when that son grows up to be a rapist or a murderer, There's just a time where even the mother who loves the son feels a disgust. They're forced into it. We know that both those things are right. That's what he's saying. Look at verse 9.

What do workers gain from their toil? What do they actually gain? What do we gain? When we do the right thing, both in the tick and the top, what actually are we gaining in all of this? So he's back to that question.

It's like being in a maze. Like a rat in a maze, the path before me lies, and the pattern never alters until the rat dies. When you're in a maze, you know that there's design. You absolutely know that someone made a maze. You know that hedges don't randomly grow like that.

Don't you? You know they don't come pre cut. You know someone's designed the maze, but if you're in the maze long enough, You've got no idea where you came from, and you've got no idea where you're going going to, and yet you see patterns. That's what he's saying here. He looks at the world and he sees patterns.

What's it all about? So perhaps then, the best thing to to live your life is is just walk through the maze and enjoy life. Perhaps perhaps like the rat in an experimental maze, you've seen those things. You just enjoy the bit of food that the godlike figure drops into your maze. Just run around looking for that food.

Look at verses 12 and 13. That's how where he is. I know that there is nothing better for people than to be happy and do good while they live, that each of them may eat and drink and find satisfaction in their toil, This is the gift of god. In other words, I see patterns. I know there's right and wrong.

I know the maze didn't just happen. What do I do? Well, I just eat drink and be merry that the god like figure will drop some food into my lap and heads down, get on with life, Kay Sarar Sarar as they say. What will be will be? And not worry about it.

But the problem is we can't stop asking the question why. So you get to verse 16, look, and I saw something else under the sun. In the place of judgment, wickedness was there, in the place of justice, wickedness was there. Why? I know there's right, and I know there's wrong, I know there's a tick, and there's good timing, and there's a talk, and there's good timing.

I know there's right and wrong, but actually when I look out the world, It's the poor that are downtrodden and instead of justice, there's injustice. What is going on? I know there's right and wrong. I know there's right timing. I know there's wrong timing but it's seen as that the wicked always get away with it.

And so the answer comes back, look at verse 17. I said to myself, god will bring judgment both on the righteous and the wicked. For there will be a time for every activity, a time to judge every deed. Here's the hope. Yeah.

There's got to be a god. There's gotta be if there's not a god, this is a disaster. There's gotta be a god. I here's Solomon. There must be a god because the patterns show me, right and wrong shows me that there's a god above time.

But also, I want a god that judges. I need a god that says that things are right and wrong. He must do that. So he's forced now from he's just thinking under the sun remember to see the patterns, to see that there's injustices. He's forced to say there's definitely a god because there's right and wrong.

And there has to be a god of justice because wrong must be punished sometime. How could we live otherwise? If wrong isn't punished, there's no meaning to anything I do. Doesn't matter whether I kiss you or kill but if wrong is gonna be punished, then it suddenly gives meaning. But then another question comes up.

This is what happens with with Solomon. If death is the place where justice is done and people are exposed, How do I know that I'll get justice then? How how do I know what will happen? I don't know the mind of god. Look at verses 19 and 21.

See his dilemma here? Surely the fate of human beings is like that of animals. The same fate awaits both. As 1 dies, so the other. All have the same breath.

Humans have no advantage over animals. Everything is meaningless. All go to the same place. All come from dust and to dust they return. All all return.

Who knows? If the human spirit rises up to the heavens, and if the spirit of the animal goes down to the earth. Who knows? So if you say that for all I know, the rat might go to heaven. And I go to hell.

I don't know. We'll both make a dust. Perhaps the animals that don't think that just run through the maze just eating what the godlike figure chucked into the into the experimental maze. Perhaps they go to heaven. A me who's worried about right and wrong don't go to heaven.

I don't know. If you look at any maze, if you've ever been in a maze, and I'll tell you about my experience in a minute, if you've ever been in a maze, you know the quickest ones that get who are the quickest that get out of the maze? It's the kids. That it's not anyone with a system It's no 1 says, now you go right here and then you do 2 rights and then a left and then straightforward. It's the kids that just push everybody out the way or even push through the hedge, isn't it?

They're the ones that get out. Yeah? Whereas rest of us are saying, no, there's a pattern here I have to turn right, and I have We just don't get out. And so look at verse 22. So I saw that there's nothing better for a person to enjoy their work because That is their lot.

For who can bring them to see what happened after them? We're just back to all you gotta do is to eat, drink, and be merry, enjoy the walk. I've no idea what happens after life. Does the rat go up or does the rat go down? Here's another group.

They called the smashing pumpkins, an amazing song called Bullit with Butterfly Way But in that song, he absolutely says how Solomon is feeling. An amazing song, it starts off with life is a vampire, or this world is a vampire, just sucking us dry. And then in the song, there's this refrain, and he's very angry about it, but he shouts out despite all my rage, I am just a rat in a cage. Here's Solomon and saying, what's going on? There's a god.

I want a god of justice, but injustice is ruling. The ones that get out of the maze seem to be the ones that are wicked or breaking the rules. And yet I know there's right and wrong. Despite all my rage, I'm still just a rat in a cage, despite all my rage, say the smashing pumpkins, I'm just, a rat in a cage when someone will say what is lost can never be saved. Despite all my rage, I'm just a rat in a cage.

And if you know the song, he's screaming it out at that point. Despite all my rage. That's below the sun. Here is a man then, and he's trying to sum it up. He's looking at life.

He sees that there are patterns. He knows there's right timing and wrong timing. He knows that that says that there must be an overall eternal plan of right and wrong. He knows that that points to this idea that there must be a god, but he doesn't understand what god's up to because he sees injustice in the world. He desires a god that will judge injustice, but he can't understand how that could work out in this world and he's despite all his rage, he's still just a rat in a cage.

Now let's go above the sun. It won't take us along. We cannot work out these truths without a revelation from above the sun. We might get close We definitely get certain things right, but we're lost in a maze. We need a revelation.

We need someone from above the sun to explain to us. Have you ever been lost in a maze? Anyone ever been lost in a maze? Me, me and Carl were in Australia. I forget where it was in Australia, but it was 1 of those Australians that are saying, this is the biggest maze in the entire world.

We went in it. I actually don't know how long we were in there. It was a boiling hot day, and it was me and Carl Fredging along. We were both unhappy. It felt like 2 hours.

It may not have been, but it it I'm sure it was. It's quite fun at first. Wasn't it Carl? You which ways do we go? Let's go left.

Oh, you got a system. Yeah. Now right. After 2 hours, it is not fun. Not in the burning sun of an Australian summer.

We're walking around. In the end, there was no 1 in the maze because it was just too flipping hot, except me and Carl. And I was not happy. We just could not get out. We couldn't find the center.

We could find nothing. I've been down this road hundreds of times. Yeah? We were walking away, and in the end, I really was angry, and I was sick of poor old car, more than myself, of course, and I started shouting out. Anybody there?

Help. We're lost. Now it takes quite a bit, you know, for a dad to say in front of his son, we're lost. I mean, we've done hours of all right, son, I know the way we'll do this system. We were lost, and I was fed up and thirst and hungry and burning in the heat, and shouting out, and there was no 1 there.

So we were trudging along and in the end I was shouting out louder, louder. Help. Help. Is there anyone locked? I'm fed up with this maze.

Yeah. And I paid. Get me out of here. Suddenly, on a ladder, an aussie popped up. Characteristic aussie, big hat.

Gada, mate? Oh, I see the poms are having a rough time. Gada, it is not a good day. Right? Can you get us out of here?

Yeah. Of course you can. Your problem. We can get you out of here. Yeah.

And all all the phrases while I'm a little blue and, you know, it's alright, mate. Alright. Yeah. We get you out. I can't actually remember whether he came to us or he shouted out the instructions, but within about a minute we were out.

That's the Christian message. Aren't you confused about life? You you know that there's right and wrong. You know it. Well, if there's right and wrong, then it means your actions are meaningful, not meaningless.

It means that when you do things out of time that you are guilty and you should be judged, But you don't know what life is about. Listen, you need to shout out. I hope God's brought you to a point where you just shout out. You just had enough. Help.

That's the Christian message. And thankfully, it's not a nosey that pops his head up and says, it's Jesus Christ. He comes from above the sun. He's called the word of god, He doesn't just give you a word. He doesn't just give you a map.

He is the word of god. He doesn't just give you instructions left, right, straight. He comes to us personally. He comes into this world. He comes into the maze.

It's very interesting. That it talks about him in the Bible as coming at the right time he was born. At the right time, And it talks about his death as the hour he was looking to, the right time. That he is able to make everything beautiful in its time, his birth, and even his death is an incredibly beautiful thing because at his death on the cross, That is where justice and mercy are coming. The very things that you just think, how does this happen?

At the cross, that is where he doesn't just come to instructions out of the maze. He comes to deal with the wrong turns that we've made. He comes to deal with the wrong timings. He comes to deal with the times that we've deliberately known it was wrong to do this, but we did it. He deals with the injustices that you and I have been about.

And he takes that punishment that god has to give out When we see the world, we know there must be judgment. And this is where judgment falls. And not only that, does he die for that? He rises again. He's the way out of the maze.

He's the way, the truth, the life so that when you know him, you can know verse 12 and 13 I know there is nothing better for people than to be happy and do good while they live, that each of them may eat and drink and find satisfied in their toil. This is a gift of God. When you know the way out of the maze, when you know the 1 that will walk you through death and resurrection, you know that everything, every step every morsel of food is from god. And there is a contentment there, and chance turns to design. And drudgery to enjoyment and evil to justice.

And then you'll know verse 14. I know that everything god does will endure forever. Nothing can be added to it. Nothing can take from it. God does it so that people will fear him.

We know there's someone to fear to listen to, to love, to walk with, to endure with. But god's got it all in hand. So Where are you in this world? Where are you? Can I encourage you to call out if you don't know?

Well, wouldn't you shout out if you're lost? Help? Anyone there? I've had enough. I've had enough.

I'm confused. I see some things but the more I see the more confused. I know this right in the wrong. There has to be a god. God, if you're there, please help, rescue me.

Come to me. If Jesus is the way, then please open my eyes to that. That I wouldn't be so proud that I would just trudge on left, right, left, right, that I wouldn't just have a world in my my my life wouldn't be the world of eat and drink and be merry and try and put off the the fate of my death. That I would know this life giving Jesus. Help.

At least say that. At least cry that out. Maybe god in his utter kindness. We'll hear you and he'll come to you and walk with you. Let's pray.

Showing us again this morning, what life is like when we try to live without you. And even though we do recognize a time for for everything under the sun and that everything is even beautiful in its time, if we take you out of the picture, we we are left frustrated and we we can't make sense of things and we don't know how to escape the maze. And we thank you, lord Jesus, that you came to make sense of all of that for us, and you tell us why certain things are and why things have beauty and why things are, wicked and why they are just and you give meaning and and sense to everything. And, we just thank you for that and pray that you would help us always lord Jesus to consult you, to look to your word, to walk with you to trust you to listen to your voice instead of the the voice inside or the voice around us that we would tune our ears into you. And, we ask all of this in Jesus' name, amen.


Preached by Pete Woodcock
Pete Woodcock photo

Pete is Senior Pastor of Cornerstone and lives in Chessington with his wife Anne who helps oversee the women’s ministry in the church.

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