By Elizabeth Yeamans Simrell (Guest Blogger)
Scripture Readings: Ecclesiastes 11-12
Key Scripture Verse: Ecclesiastes 11:4 (NIV, Life Application Bible)
“Whoever watches the wind will not plant; whoever looks at the clouds will not reap.”
This verse in Ecclesiastes reminds me of the old adage, “Nothing ventured, nothing gained.” Solomon’s message in Psalm 11 is about taking risks, enjoying life, but remembering God in all of your activities. To forget God and not to be in prayer and worship means that all of your activities will end up lacking—essentially, “meaningless.” However, if you love God and follow his will, you can freely venture out to do things with confidence and without fear of what will happen if you do–God is in control and does what is in our best interests.
So, Solomon is warning us not to be so cautious that we don’t try things. If we are too afraid to try things for fearing we will get hurt, we will be stifled from the growth we would otherwise have and enjoy. God wants us to trust him. He will direct us away something that is wrong for us, if we are in prayer about it and willing to follow his direction when it comes. And if we make a mistake and we are not paying attention to his direction, he can redirect things for our best interest if we truly trust him.
I believe that we should be reasonable about the risks we take, especially if we have not been given specific direction to do otherwise; however, there are times when we may seem out of step with what others would do, but God has a plan and we know he is directing it—we need to follow that plan and trust that he will help us do what is right.
Take Noah, for example. Everyone thought he was crazy for building an ark—building a huge boat right in the middle of a dry field where there was no water anywhere to be found nearby. But, Noah was following directions from above. He trusted God and did what God asked him to do. And it was Noah and his family who were the only survivors after the flood.
There are a lot of these stories in the Bible where God asked the people to trust him, because he had a plan no one could even imagine. This is why Solomon says in this same chapter (Ecclesiastes 11:5), “As you do not know the path of the wind, or how the body is formed in a mother’s womb, so you cannot understand the work of God, the Maker of all things.” Remember how God told Job the same thing, “Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation?” God wanted Job to remember and for us to remember that God knows things we don’t know. He has plans we cannot know and he will reveal them as we need to know them. More than anything, God wants us to trust him.
He doesn’t want us to be careless, but he doesn’t want us to be so cautious that we fail to do what is right or what we know to do because of fear. Discernment is a word every Christian should know and learn—we need to prayerfully consider all things that we do, so that the Holy Spirit who dwells within us can give us discernment that we can be confident in. If our actions are congruent with God’s Word and we have reasonable belief that what we are doing is within his will, we can proceed with confidence.
God gave us much abundance and much to enjoy and as Solomon said, we should enjoy our activities, but remember God in all of them—that is the key to meaningful life and happiness.