11 ¶ He hath made every thing beautiful in his time: also he hath set the world in their heart, so that no man can find out the work that God maketh from the beginning to the end. 12 I know that there is no good in them, but for a man to rejoice, and to do good in his life. 13 And also that every man should eat and drink, and enjoy the good of all his labour, it is the gift of God. 14 I know that, whatsoever God doeth, it shall be for ever: nothing can be put to it, nor any thing taken from it: and God doeth it, that men should fear before him. 15 That which hath been is now; and that which is to be hath already been; and God requireth that which is past.
God has made everything the way it is supposed to be. Sin, and the fall of man, has done the damage. Still, God has set finiteness in our hearts so that we cannot fully comprehend what God has done. The world, as in a system of things, as in a period of time, and as in the current condition is set in our heart’s understanding so that we are unable to comprehend eternity or God’s full plan. We are limited, constrained by our flesh and the narrow shortsighted focus that temporal beings have.
Deuteronomy 29:29 The secret things belong unto the LORD our God: but those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children for ever, that we may do all the words of this law.
Solomon says that it is good for man to enjoy the fruits of his labor, which is the gift of God, in any event, and to do good. After all, there is nothing man can do to add to what God has done or to take away from it. God is in control and the wise man will fear and honor Him, acknowledging His sovereignty. Unfortunately, many people honor, like the Antichrist, a god of forces, impersonal, unknowing, and blind.
Daniel 11:38 But in his estate shall he honour the God of forces: and a god whom his fathers knew not shall he honour with gold, and silver, and with precious stones, and pleasant things.
The past is present and the future is past in the eyes of God as He sees the world from the vantage point of eternity (Isaiah 57:15).
God calls men into account for what they have done. This is accepted in almost all religions of mankind that believe in a Creator God, that they will be called into account at some point.
The thought that God will require something as a response to man’s behavior is used throughout the Old Testament to speak of God’s calling into account just as the latter word is used in the New.
Examples from the Old Testament;
Deuteronomy 18:19 And it shall come to pass, that whosoever will not hearken unto my words which he shall speak in my name, I will require it of him.
Psalm 10:13 Wherefore doth the wicked contemn God? he hath said in his heart, Thou wilt not require it.
And from the New;
Matthew 12:36 But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment.
Romans 14:12 So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God.
Solomon acknowledged that mankind’s purpose is to enjoy the fruits of his labor that God has provided and to do good. Christians are also called to good works, not to get saved but because they are saved.
Ephesians 2:10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.
The good works that Christians are called to do in Paul’s writings have been surrendered to the government today so that fundamentalist minded do not think of doing good so much as in providing food, clothing, and shelter to their poorer brethren but only in seeing that their spiritual needs are met. However, there is a strong strain in the writings of the New Testament that a great deal of our service to God is in meeting the physical needs of the poor, aged, fatherless, and helpless along with their spiritual needs.
Solomon is saying it is what it is, you might as well enjoy what you’ve gotten, what God has given you and do good. There is nothing you can do to change the overall scheme of things, nothing at all. You cannot even begin to understand the eternal perspective that God has, who sees it all; past, present, and future as if it is already happened. And God will call into account what you’ve done.