Worship, Sunday, January 15, 2023
      • Bible Trivia
      • Bible Trivia
      • Bible Trivia
      • Bible Trivia
  • Come Just As You Are
  • I Love You, Lord
  • Grace Like Rain
  • I Lift My Eyes Up
      • Ecclesiastes 1.12-14ESV

      • Ecclesiastes 1.15-16ESV

      • Ecclesiastes 1.17-18ESV

      • Ecclesiastes 2.1-2ESV

      • Ecclesiastes 2.3-4ESV

      • Ecclesiastes 2.5-7ESV

      • Ecclesiastes 2.8-9ESV

      • Ecclesiastes 2.10ESV

      • Ecclesiastes 2.11-12ESV

      • Ecclesiastes 2.13-14ESV

      • Ecclesiastes 2.15-16ESV

      • Ecclesiastes 2.17-18ESV

      • Ecclesiastes 2.19-20ESV

      • Ecclesiastes 2.21-22ESV

      • Ecclesiastes 2.23-25ESV

      • Ecclesiastes 2.26ESV

  • Last week we began our series on Ecclesiastes. It’s truly a fascinating book and one worth reading or reading again if you’ve read it before. If you’re new to your Bible or not very good at remembering the order of the books, don’t be afraid to use that little known page in our Bibles, the Table of Contents. If you’re the type that just has to do it without help, hold up your Bible, go to the middle, that’s likely going to be Isaiah, turn left, and Ecclesiastes comes after the Psalms and Proverbs.
    As a category, it is one of the books of wisdom which include Proverbs, Job and Ecclesiastes.


    The author we know as Qoholeth which is translated as the Preacher or the Teacher depending on your translation. He identifies himself as the son of David, king in Jerusalem - and for that reason whomever the author is he intends us to believe he is Solomon.
    Ecclesiastes 1:2 ESV
    Vanity of vanities, says the Preacher, vanity of vanities! All is vanity.
    Last week, we focused on the idea of vanity and the word translated there. The word is difficult to translate but specifically means “vapor”.

    Vanity = vapor

    In other words it’s not something that can be held on to, it’s not something that can be held, it’s something that is here one moment and gone the next. That is what we’re talking about.
    The Preacher pursues knowledge of all kinds. Including that of the of knowing the opposite of wisdom, but that of madness and folly.
    Ecclesiastes 1:17 ESV
    And I applied my heart to know wisdom and to know madness and folly. I perceived that this also is but a striving after wind.
    He is trying to understand it all, and it all comes up to be nothing more than chasing after nothing, “a striving after wind.”
    He then goes to look at the “Vanity” in three different categories: pleasure, possessions, and accomplishments - which are covered in chapter 2.
    He looks at pleasure and simply enjoying yourself simply for the purpose of enjoying yourself. He explores various types of pleasure: wine (2:3), various possessions (2:4-8a), art and sex (2:8). And what were the results, well, he became great and his heart found pleasure in his toil (v. 10) and yet nothing was gained.
    So then the Preacher tests the benefits of wisdom over folly: Problem the same fate befalls both the wise and fools, and there’s no enduring remembrance of either. The result was he hated life, and so he concludes, all is vanity.
    The Preacher tested toiling for possessions, but in the end realized that he must leave his possessions for someone else coming after him, and he didn’t know if they’d be wise or foolish with them, and he concludes we gain nothing from all our toil, thus again, this is vanity.
    What is the Preacher getting at, what is the Qoheleth in search of?
    To put it in a modern context, the central question that he seems to be asking is:

    What is the meaning of life?

    That is a question for the ages, isn’t it?
    You and I have no doubt wondered at various times, “Why am I here?” Rick Warren in his best selling book, 40 Days of Purpose began with the words, “It’s not about you.” M. Scott Peck began his best selling book, The Road Less Travelled with the sentence, “Life is difficult.” The Preacher begins his book with, “All is vanity.” In saying that, he is not simply saying life is worthless, the preacher is in search of what gives life its worth.
    He does come to a conclusion:
    Ecclesiastes 2:24 (ESV)
    There is nothing better for a person than that he should eat and drink and find enjoyment in his toil.
    But there is a clear reason why a person can do this, the joy does not come from the food, the drink, nor the toil. Let’s look at the full thought:
    Ecclesiastes 2:24–25 ESV
    There is nothing better for a person than that he should eat and drink and find enjoyment in his toil. This also, I saw, is from the hand of God, for apart from him who can eat or who can have enjoyment?
    Perhaps another way of summarizing this section would be:
    Preaching Christ from Ecclesiastes: Foundations for Expository Sermons Textual Theme and Goal

    “Since all human endeavors ‘under the sun’ are vanity, find enjoyment in God’s daily gifts of food, drink, and toil.”

    As we read our passage this morning, did you note anything missing? Throughout this passage Qoholeth goes searching for something of value, something that is going to last, something that gives life purpose, and you don’t hear much mention of God.
    You can have the ability to speak all sorts of different languages, and wisdom to understand all the mysteries of the earth, and knowledge to understand complex arguments, and faith to move mountains and possessions to give a way to everyone you know…and it still amounts to nothing.
    Have you felt that?
    How many have worked their entire life for something and then once they achieved it discovered its worth was nothing that they thought it was? Work, prosperity, popularity, status, wealth…they all become idols that we pursuit to an empty end. It’s vanity, a chasing after the wind.
    I’ve met people who were rich, and famous, and some who have had great status. Some are no longer with us, and if I were to share their names you’d likely say, “who?” They worked hard to achieve what they had. Yet they are no more, at least on this earth. The pursuit of these things in themselves would’ve been pure vanity, a vapor, a chasing after the wind.
    I have stood in awe on the rim of the Grand Canyon and at the base of Niagara Falls. I’ve watched sunsets that have in the moment left me breathless. Qoholeth does not say that these things are either good or bad, only that alone they are empty. And they truly are, without God. As the preacher says, “the enjoyment is from the hand of God, and apart from him who can eat or who can have enjoyment.”
    Paul wrote to the Corinthian church,
    1 Corinthians 13:1–3 ESV
    If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.
    John would write, “God is love.” 1 John 4:8
    1 John 4:8 ESV
    Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.
    Our world wants us to do good things. In our world people clamor to be deemed important, to gain the spotlight, to be an influencer, to be known for their virtue…and yet their importance, that spotlight, their influence, their virtue is a like the grass that is here today and gone tomorrow.
    Yet God remains. God was before the beginning, and will be eternally.
    Ecclesiastes 2:24–25 ESV
    There is nothing better for a person than that he should eat and drink and find enjoyment in his toil. This also, I saw, is from the hand of God, for apart from him who can eat or who can have enjoyment?
    Our food, drink, and enjoyment of our toil comes from God - apart from Him we cannot have the true enjoyment.
    It’s not about the pursuit of these things. It is about our pursuit of God. Matthew recorded Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount, Matt 6:19-21
    Matthew 6:19–21 ESV
    “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
    Just a few verses later Jesus is recorded as saying,
    Matthew 6:33 ESV
    But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.
    Without a doubt, the greatest wisdom is the knowledge of God. Not about God, but knowing God. As we know God we are able to enjoy the things God has given us. We can be so thankful for the robust flavor of that first morning coffee, or stand in awe at the sound of the pounding surf, or dance in shower of rain, and in all of it take joy knowing it comes from God.
    Thank God for tastebuds, for eyes to see, ears to hear, fingers to touch, noses to smell, hands to work, minds to think, abilities to accomplish, hearts to love.
    Ecclesiastes 2:26 ESV
    For to the one who pleases him God has given wisdom and knowledge and joy, but to the sinner he has given the business of gathering and collecting, only to give to one who pleases God. This also is vanity and a striving after wind.
    We could taste, see, hear, touch, smell, work, think, accomplish, and perhaps do acts of love without God, but then they are an end in themselves. They are an end. Thus they are meaningless, vanity, a striving after the wind.
    To God be the glory. Let me pray for you.
      • Ecclesiastes 1:2ESV

      • Ecclesiastes 1:17ESV

      • Ecclesiastes 2:24–25ESV

      • 1 Corinthians 13:1–3ESV

      • 1 John 4:8ESV

      • Ecclesiastes 2:24–25ESV

      • Matthew 6:19–21ESV

      • Matthew 6:33ESV

      • Ecclesiastes 2:26ESV

  • More Precious Than Silver
  • Now I Belong to Jesus
      • Bible Trivia