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The Lord Your Healer: 

Discover Him and Find His Healing Touch by Paul J. Bucknell

Newest! The Lord Your Healer

Discover Him and Find His Healing Touch

First step of discipleship
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Advanced Discipleship

The Bible Teaching Commentary on Genesis: The Book of Foundations

Commentaries that specialize on training the teacher!

Overcoming Anxiety: Finding Peace, Discovering God


Ecclesiastes Runner theme

The Book of Ecclesiastes

Ecclesiastes 9:12

The Bible Teaching Commentary

Paul J. Bucknell

Ecclesiastes Outline | Design
Ecclesiastes 2:1-11| Ecclesiastes 3:1-22 | Ecclesiastes 4:4-5:7
Ecclesiastes 4:9-12| Ecclesiastes 9:13-10:20

D. Life with God Only Makes Sense (Ecclesiastes 9:1-12:14)
  1. Insight: The wise life is the best life (Ecclesiastes 9:1-10:19)

Purpose: How true Ecclesiastes 9:12 is! Life has its unexpected turns; we just do not know how when our lives will end. Robert is a surprising person to prove this.

Ecclesiastes 9:12 and Longevity

"Moreover, man does not know his time: like fish caught in a treacherous net, and birds trapped in a snare, so the sons of men are ensnared at an evil time when it suddenly falls on them" Ecclesiastes 9:12, NASB).

Life has its unexpected turns.

"Robert Butler was only 83 when he died. That might seem like a respectable age — indeed, it exceeds the average life expectancy of a white American man by 6½ years — but Butler, the prominent gerontologist, psychiatrist and founder of the U.S. International Longevity Center (ILC), a New York City–based nonprofit dedicated to promoting healthy aging, was nowhere near ready to go. He was looking forward to working "indefinitely," he said in June, just a few weeks before his unexpected death from leukemia on July 4. He had recently accepted a professorship at Columbia University and was planning to bring the ILC to the campus with him. "It's kind of fun for me, because I went..." (Time).

Like fish in a net

"Like fish caught in a treacherous net..." "Man does not know his time." Robert Butler has just recently accepted a professorship. Life was going well, so he thought. But the end came before he could step into that teaching.

Life is like this not only for Robert but for all of us. He taught on longevity and founded so many organizations for the elderly.

All the more reason we need to seek Christ now. Our time on earth is unknown. We can make all sorts of plans, but each is limited because nothing is guaranteed. We can take a job, make plans or just happily live day to day. But we all are dependent on the gift of life and that only goes on so long on earth.

Man Doesn’t Know when Death Strikes

Not only does death often come unreasonably, but it also comes unaware. We have plans for everything, but not death. God has interestingly made things. He holds the trump card.

The two major events in man’s life happen surprisingly: birth and death. If the way we come into the world and the way we exit both are so hard to guess, why does man have any confidence in living forever?

Solomon says it is just like a fish caught in a treacherous net or birds trapped in a snare. Life for man like the fish and the trapped bird suddenly comes to a close. Death happens without planning. Most things in life happen only with planning.

We are not trying to say God is not in command as to when we die, but from an earthly perspective, death seems to spring its mouth open, swallow the life and close it before we have even thought of it.

God doesn’t give us an advance notice. Even some of Jesus’ parables are based on this premise that death and the end comes unaware.


"Lord please keep me living righteously while I have time to demonstrate my love to you. I have already missed many an opportunity. I don’t know how much more time you have given to me. Help me be faithful."

Next -> Design & Purpose of Ecclesiastes