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The Uncertainty of Life
Eccl. 9:11-18
Few weeks back, the Australian PM was ousted by a majority vote. He thought his role as a PM will
still continue but suddenly it’s over. Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal top seeds at the US open Tennis
were both beaten. A batchmate of mine in my secondary school was diagnosed with multiple
myeloma and within weeks, she died. If we look at the news, shooting at the university in US, a car
bomb explosion in Afghanistan, a strong typhoon hits Japan after that a strong earthquake, so many
tragic and unexpected events are happening and people are just confused, bewildered, and socked.
Life is so uncertain that people are asking what’s going to happen next.

I. Unexpected events happen (Eccl. 9:11)
A. Time and chance happen to all
1. Being swift and strong does not mean you will never lose but always win.
2. Being wise, highly educated, and skilful does not always guarantee that you will
get rich, famous, and get the good or better things in this life.
3. The effort exerted by that the men of valour, the smart, the discerning, and the
men of great skills should produce anticipated and probable results. However, in
each situation the opposite actually happens. This is life “under the sun.”
4. Looking at Israel’s history, we see God’s power change the odds of battle and
the one’s of less strength won the conflict.
a. Gideon’s 300 beating the Midianites.
b. David defeating and killing Goliath.
c. During the 6-day war, Israel was out numbered and surrounded by more
superior and stronger Arab forces yet they won the war.
B. Time and chance overtake the best plans and abilities of man.
C. Time and chance are not a force competitive with God. It’s just a way where sinners
and the righteous, will come to realize that there is no guarantee of success for any
earthly activity in this life.
D. We can surely conclude that man’s hopes must not be in his strength or his ability
but in God’s hands. The Lord Jesus Christ is in control of everything that happens
even to the smallest detail in our lives. We just ask for His mercy, blessings, and
E. So, it is written in Romans 9:16 So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that
runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy.
F. As we live our daily life under the sun, we Christians can just humbly submit to the
will of Christ and pray for blessings in any activity we do. James 4:15 For that ye
ought to say, If the Lord will, we shall live, and do this, or that. We can also mention
or add to our prayer, “not my will but your will be done Lord”.

Illustration1: Not Mere Chance
To think is to grow in awareness. Think as you look at a flower, a sunset or gaze at the starry sky.
Someone has said that the unbelieving astronomer is mad. “What do you see?” a friend asked a
famous botanist who was scrutinizing a flower. “I see God,” was the reverent answer. A Scottish
doctor wrote with his finger in the garden soil the letters of his little son’s name, sowed cress in the
furrows, and smoothed the ground. Ten days later, his son ran to him in astonishment and said that
his name was growing in the garden and insisted on his father seeing it. “Is it not a mere chance?”
asked the father. “No, someone must have arranged it that way.” “Look at yourself,” said the doctor.
“Consider your hands, finger, legs, feet; did you come here by chance?” “No, something must have
made me.” “And who is that something?” As he did not know, the father told him the name of the
great God who had made him and all the world. He never forgot that lesson. Illustrations of Bible Truths.

Illustration 2: Couldn’t Read or Write
Somerset Maugham, the English writer, once wrote a story about a janitor at St. Peter’s Church in
London. One day a young vicar discovered that the janitor was illiterate and fired him. Jobless, the
man invested his meager savings in a tiny tobacco shop, where he prospered, bought another,
expanded, and ended up with a chain of tobacco stores worth several hundred thousand dollars.
One day the man’s banker said, “You’ve done well for an illiterate, but where would you be if you
could read and write?” “Well,” replied the man, “I’d be janitor of St. Peter’s Church in Neville
Square.” Bits and Pieces, June 24, 1993, p. 23

II. Death comes Suddenly
A. Sometimes death will come unexpectedly, like animals caught in a trap (Eccl. 9:12)
1. Just as “fish” and “birds” follow the daily routine of life and innocently go about
searching out that which is essential to their living, so man is engaged in similar
2. Without warning the fish and birds are trapped and their future is suddenly
changed. Just like the “fish” and “birds” Solomon declares, “so the sons of men
snared in an evil time when it falleth suddenly upon them.”
3. “Evil” here means a time of misfortune and could refer to numerous events
which happen to all people.
4. The Lord Jesus Christ uses the same illustration of the “net” in Luke 21:34-35
And take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with
surfeiting, and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and so that day come upon
you unawares. For as a snare shall it come on all them that dwell on the face of
the whole earth.
5. In the OT when God suddenly gives judgments upon evil men, the image of a
net is often used. (Hosea 7:12; Ezekiel 12:13; 32:3)
6. The main point here, is death comes suddenly without a warning and people are
caught unaware. The sad reality is we have no control over the time of our
7. In the same way we have no control over the outcome of our work. Some have
worked day and night just to make a living and save some money but ended up
with nothing, others have hardly worked and ended up with much.

Illustration: Trapped In a Cave
On a February day in 1925, Floyd Collins climbed into Sand Cave in search of fortune. Suddenly, his
lantern failed. Crawling through the darkness, Collin’s foot hit a seven-ton boulder. It fell on his leg,
trapping him in the coffin-like narrowness of a dark, subterranean straitjacket. For days Collins was
trapped 125 feet below ground in an ice-cold space 8 inches high and 12 feet long.
In the meantime, his plight became a national sensation. As the rescue attempt wore on, some
50,000 tourists bought hot dogs, balloons, and soft drinks from vendors at the cave in Kentucky. But
in the end, Floyd Collins died alone in the icy darkness, crying out deliriously, “Get me out. Why
don’t you take me out? Kiss me goodbye, I’m going.” Today in the Word, Sept. 20, 1990

III. The Value of Wisdom (Eccl. 9:13-18)
A. The Preacher saw how wisdom saved a city. (Eccl. 9:13-15)
a. It was found in a poor man
b. The wisdom of the poor man was instrumental in saving the city, because he
was poor, no reward was given to him and he was soon forgotten
B. Solomon praises the value of wisdom. (Eccl. 9:16-18).
a. As better than strength
b. As better than weapons of war
c. Though often despised when it comes from a poor man, wisdom spoken quietly
is better than the shout of a ruler of fools.

IV. Conclusion:
Truly, as we live under the sun, there will always be unexpected events that will happen.
We cannot always expect success and victory and we cannot rely on our own strength,
skills, and God given talent. The Lord Jesus Christ will always be control and we can just
hope for His mercy and grace. Repent from your sins and receive Him now as your
personal Saviour.

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