Practical Matters

Eccl. 11:3-4

If the clouds be full of rain, they empty themselves upon the earth: and if the tree fall toward the south, or toward the north, in the place where the tree falleth, there it shall be.

 He that observeth the wind shall not sow; and he that regardeth the clouds shall not reap.

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These verses emphasize the idea of cause and effect. In elementary school, we studied the water cycle. God’s perfect plan is in effect all the time. It differs from one place to another, depending on the amount of water in or near the land mass, but the process has continued since God promised there would never again be a flood that covered the entire world.

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So it is that our lives here on earth will have an appropriate effect on how we spend our eternity. The root of sin is inescapable, but the blood of Jesus Christ delivers us from sin and cleanses us to a right standing with God. Cause and effect: Sin, repent, trust God for salvation.

The fallen tree has been interpreted by some as meaning the death of a human being whose eternity is determined by where he falls. That doesn’t make a lot of sense to me. Further search tied that fallen tree to natural causes over which man has no control, just as he has no control over the sun, wind, or rain. Another commentator declared the fallen tree to be a sort of “bloom where you’re planted” simile. Fallen trees, left alone, gradually decompose and become a source of food and shelter and, perhaps, of new trees that arise from whatever seeds become rooted in the ground from the dead tree.

Verse 4 addresses man’s tendency to wait for perfect conditions before moving forward. Farmers learn to read the sky, the air, the earth of their fields; they are wise in the ways of planting and harvesting. But they will not succeed if they over-analyze. The time for planting will not wait for them to resolve every worry about things not being perfect.

We aren’t all farmers, but we all share that desire for circumstances to all be just right before we venture forward. A bride hopes for perfect weather on her wedding day. A family hopes that it won’t rain on their vacation plans. So we choose as wisely as we can, but it’s a good idea to have a Plan B in case things go sideways 🙂

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