Who Knows?

Text: Ecclesiastes 8:7

There is one thing in our future that is certain – death followed by judgment. Beyond that, we cannot say with certainty what will happen in our future. How do we approach life with this uncertainty? We must look to what God has revealed in the Scriptures. This lesson will examine several passages about people with uncertain futures who all asked, “Who knows?” We will consider the events that were happening and see what lessons we can learn from them.

David’s Prayer for His Son (2 Samuel 12:22-23)

  • David committed his infamous affair with Bathsheba (2 Samuel 11) – she became pregnant, he tried to cover up the affair, he had her husband killed, then he married her; Nathan confronted him and convicted him of his sin (2 Samuel 12:1-9); as punishment, the child would die (2 Samuel 12:14), yet David prayed for God to spare him (2 Samuel 12:16)
  • Lesson for us – we must pray in faith regardless of the outcome
  • We know that God is able to do beyond what we think (Ephesians 3:20) – we also know that He cares for us (1 Peter 5:7)
  • We must trust in Him regardless of the outcome (cf. Daniel 3:16-18) – His way is best (Isaiah 55:8-9)

Mordecai’s Counsel to Esther (Esther 4:13-14)

  • Haman conspired against the Jews to have them all killed (Esther 3:8-14) – because he was upset that Mordecai refused to bow down to him (Esther 3:5-6); Mordecai pleaded with Esther to intervene on the Jews’ behalf (Esther 4:7-9, 13-14); he had no revelation from God (Esther 4:14), but knew she should do what she could in her position
  • Lesson for us – we must use our circumstances, whatever they are, to serve the Lord
  • Many people misapply this verse to speculate about what God is doing behind the scenes – that is not what this verse is about; Mordecai didn’t speculate, he simply recognized the situation that existed
  • Rather than looking for “signs” of God’s will, we should simply serve Him in everything (1 Corinthians 1:22-23)

Solomon’s Lament Over His Labor (Ecclesiastes 2:18-20)

  • Solomon had been discussing the vanity of life under the sun (Ecclesiastes 1:2; 2:11, 17) – he recognized the reality that his life was temporary (Ecclesiastes 2:14; 3:2); the fruit of his labor would go to someone else after his death (Ecclesiastes 2:18, 21); despite his best efforts, there was no way to guarantee that his work would carry on (Ecclesiastes 2:19)
  • Lesson for us – we must remember what is truly important in life
  • We do need to work (2 Thessalonians 3:10; Ecclesiastes 9:10) – it is also good to leave something for others (2 Corinthians 12:14)
  • However, we need to put spiritual things first (Matthew 6:19-21, 33) – learn contentment (1 Timothy 6:7-8)

The Repentance of the Ninevites (Jonah 3:5-9)

  • God sent Jonah to Nineveh to prophesy against the city (Jonah 1:2) – Jonah fled (Jonah 1:3); God used a storm and a great fish to turn him back (Jonah 1:4-2:10); the message was that destruction was coming (Jonah 3:4); the Ninevites had no promise of God’s mercy, but repented in case He would spare them (Jonah 3:8-9); God did spare them (Jonah 3:10) as Jonah knew that He was able to do (Jonah 4:2)
  • Lesson for us – when we know we are in sin, we need to repent
  • We have been given hope – we can repent and be saved (2 Peter 3:9; Acts 2:38)
  • We must not let anything stand between us and God’s mercy (Philippians 3:7-8)


  • Our lives are uncertain – but we should not let the uncertainty of life hinder our service to God
  • We know what comes at the end (Hebrews 9:27) – let us be ready for that day, whenever it comes

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