Click this link to hear an audio version of the below text narrated by SOTH member Jerry Rhinehart:
Ecclesiastes 9:1-12 NIV
A Common Destiny for All
9 So I reflected on all this and concluded that the righteous and the wise and what they do are in God’s hands, but no one knows whether love or hate awaits them. 2 All share a common destiny—the righteous and the wicked, the good and the bad, the clean and the unclean, those who offer sacrifices and those who do not. As it is with the good, so with the sinful; as it is with those who take oaths, so with those who are afraid to take them. 3 This is the evil in everything that happens under the sun: The same destiny overtakes all. The hearts of people, moreover, are full of evil and there is madness in their hearts while they live, and afterward, they join the dead. 4 Anyone who is among the living has hope—even a live dog is better off than a dead lion! 5 For the living know that they will die, but the dead know nothing; they have no further reward, and even their name is forgotten. 6 Their love, their hate, and their jealousy have long since vanished; never again will they have a part in anything that happens under the sun. 7 Go, eat your food with gladness, and drink your wine with a joyful heart, for God has already approved what you do. 8 Always be clothed in white, and always anoint your head with oil. 9 Enjoy life with your wife, whom you love, all the days of this meaningless life that God has given you under the sun—all your meaningless days. For this is your lot in life and in your toilsome labor under the sun. 10 Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might, for in the realm of the dead, where you are going, there is neither working nor planning nor knowledge nor wisdom. 11 I have seen something else under the sun: The race is not to the swift or the battle to the strong, nor does food come to the wise or wealth to the brilliant or favor to the learned; but time and chance happen to them all. 12 Moreover, no one knows when their hour will come: As fish are caught in a cruel net, or birds are taken in a snare, so people are trapped by evil times that fall unexpectedly upon them.
How is death described here?
There is no escape from death. That time will come for each of us. When that time is, no one knows. Lord, I am not afraid of death because I know that You are preparing a wonderful place for me in Heaven. I have an eternity of worship, relationship, fun, joy, peace, and total fulfillment waiting for me in Heaven. I pray that whatever time is left on this earth that You make it fruitful. Since time is limited on this side of heaven, give me a sense of urgency to share Your gospel to all who do not know You. Each day is a gift. Allow me to be a good steward of each day that I am on this earth. Seasons consist of a collection of days. There are multiple seasons in life. I don’t know what to expect as I enter a new season. But You guide me through them all; good, bad, challenging, and successful. Today is the end of a season. It is the last day that I will be sharing my heart through these devotions. I have been richly blessed during this season. Thank You for the dedication and faithfulness of Jerry Rhinehart who has blessed us with his voice. I also thank you for Jo Schneider, Al Campbell, and all of the others who have assisted with prayers and readings over the past 3.5 years. I am thankful to all who have subscribed and been a part of this piece of ministry at Shepherd of the Hills. Lord, I pray that You bless them and continually fill their lives with Your Word. I may not know what the next season brings. I may not know how much time I have left in life. But I do know that my life is in Your hands. I know where I will spend eternity. I look to the day when we gather together as one glorious family, praising and worshiping You. To You be the Glory, Honor, and Praise, forever and ever. Amen.
If you haven’t already done so, the time is now to ask Jesus into your heart and put Your faith in Him:
“Lord, Jesus, I know that I am a sinner and have hurt You. I ask for Your forgiveness. I submit my life to You. I confess that I believe in You, and accept You as Lord and Savior. I ask that You come into my heart right now. I pray that the Holy Spirit ignites in me a hunger for a deep relationship with You. I pray that You will walk with me the rest of my days on this earth. I now have hope for eternity because I know that You have a place prepared for me in heaven. I receive Your gift of grace. Amen”