1Cast your bread on the surface of the waters, for you will find it after many days.
The fool doesn’t think about the future at all, but he lives for today. Solomon’s advice is to save and invest such that there are some resources left for times of need.
2Divide your portion to seven, or even to eight, for you do not know what misfortune may occur on the earth.
Solomon here is speaking of the principle of diversification of resources. If a tragedy happens to one area, a family or nation can still be preserved if they have invested elsewhere.
3If the clouds are full, they pour out rain upon the earth; and whether a tree falls toward the south or toward the north, wherever the tree falls, there it lies.
God has created natural laws which govern this universe such as gravity, which causes a tree to fall to the ground and rain to fall from a cloud. There are things which cannot be changed, for they are as they are. Rain falls and trees fall, and God is in control of it all. It is important for man to remember his limitations and finite nature in light of the awesome God we serve and His created order.
4He who watches the wind will not sow and he who looks at the clouds will not reap.
Those who merely watch in laziness or distraction or who fail to labor because of fear, worry, or any other unbiblical reason will fail to sow and reap. They won’t invest in the future or in eternity, and they won’t have anything to show for their lives. Labor is required in order to reap. Man must understand that God didn’t create him to be lazy but to work and worship.
5Just as you do not know the path of the wind and how bones are formed in the womb of the pregnant woman, so you do not know the activity of God who makes all things.
God is in control, He is totally sovereign, and He is powerful, able to tell the wind where to blow and to make a baby in the womb of the mother. These are things so mysterious, wonderful, and amazing that it should cause us to worship God and acknowledge that His wisdom is higher and above anything man has to offer.
6Sow your seed in the morning and do not be idle in the evening, for you do not know whether morning or evening sowing will succeed, or whether both of them alike will be good.
Man needs to work in the morning, and he shouldn’t be idle in the evening either. He should walk circumspectly (Ephesians 5:15), viewing his life as a time to serve God. This involves balance with family, work, leisure, ministry, and so on, but laziness is not part of the equation. As we serve God faithfully, we can trust that He will bring forth growth and a harvest from our labors, whether we see it or not or can trace it precisely or not (Colossians 3:24, 2 Corinthians 5:10).
7The light is pleasant, and it is good for the eyes to see the sun.
Being in darkness all the time is not healthy, for the light is delightful and enjoyable. In the light we see God’s creation and are moved to worship. Light has a certain healthy, uplifting effect to it.
8Indeed, if a man should live many years, let him rejoice in them all, and let him remember the days of darkness, for they will be many. Everything that is to come will be futility.
Whether a man lives a short life or a long life, he should do what he can within the fear of the Lord to enjoy his life. Life is hard enough as it is to not have a joyful attitude through it all. He should also be mindful as he lives of what is yet to come. Being aware that one day we will die should inspire us to live joyfully and faithfully in this time. Also, we should remember to invest in things that reap eternal rewards, storing up treasure in heaven (Matthew 6:20), because we can’t take the things of this world with us.
9Rejoice, young man, during your childhood, and let your heart be pleasant during the days of young manhood. And follow the impulses of your heart and the desires of your eyes Yet know that God will bring you to judgment for all these things.
10So, remove grief and anger from your heart and put away pain from your body, because childhood and the prime of life are fleeting.
Children should be allowed to enjoy themselves within the instruction and discipline of the Lord (Ephesians 6:4). They should be able to explore their world, play, and have fun, being kids who aren’t forced to grow up and skip over this stage of life. As they grow into young adults, they still should enjoy life, though exercising wisdom, not being lazy, and being mindful that God will hold them to account for all that they do. God is not a killjoy Who says not to do what we want to do. He just says that we need to reign in our desires if they are becoming destructive or uncontrolled because of sin. Delighting in God will give us His desires (Psalm 37:4), and these will fulfill our ultimate desires. Thus, God’s principles help us desire things that are truly good for us, and these we should joyfully and freely pursue. There is nothing wrong with following the impulses of our hearts as long as Christ is on the throne of our hearts. We should be diligent to get rid of grief and anger because it destroys our joy and has destructive effects in life, even leading sometimes to bodily pain. We shouldn’t create unnecessary bodily pain for ourselves, particularly in youth, given that old age brings with it enough physical challenges as it is. Childhood and the prime of life go by quickly, and they must be enjoyed and lived under the fear of the Lord. We shouldn’t run from our desires if they are godly, we shouldn’t live cowering in fear, and we shouldn’t be afraid to enjoy life and have fun as long as we keep the principles of Scripture.