Ecclesiastes Series Begins

July 2, 2010 in News

One brief sentence captures the genius of this remarkable book:

Who can eat or enjoy anything apart from him?  Ecclesiastes 2:25 (NLT)

It seems obvious enough, but it takes a lifetime to understand what that really means.

So it goes throughout the book of Ecclesiastes—one profound statement follows another through a twisting, turning labyrinth of caves running deep beneath the surface of life. Written by Solomon, this book proves why he truly was the wisest person who ever lived before Christ.

The book pierces superficial life with the questions people rarely dare to ask:

In the few days of our meaningless lives, who knows how our days can best be spent? Our lives are like a shadow…
Ecclesiastes 6:12 (NLT)

Yet God gave us this book so we can tackle the deepest despair before it tackles us, like this little shocker that hits everyone, sooner or later.

But as I looked at everything I had worked so hard to accomplish, it was all so meaningless—like chasing the wind. Ecclesiastes 2:11 (NLT)

The book really throws uptight people for a loop, too:

So I recommend having fun, because there is nothing better for people in this world than to eat, drink, and enjoy life. That way they will experience some happiness along with all the hard work God gives them under the sun.  Ecclesiastes 8:15 (NLT)

Especially those negative, melancholic minds get warped by this book:

Enjoy what you have rather than desiring what you don’t have. Just dreaming about nice things is meaningless—like chasing the wind. Ecclesiastes 6:9 (NLT)

And just in case the negative melancholic misses the point:

Don’t long for “the good old days.” This is not wise.  Ecclesiastes 7:10 (NLT)

But those self-righteous, phlegmatic minds can’t scoff at their negative brethren for too long in this book:

A wise person thinks a lot about death, while a fool thinks only about having a good time. Ecclesiastes 7:4 (NLT)

And the silly sanguine who plays the life of the party get a sober shock:

A fool’s laughter is quickly gone, like thorns crackling in a fire. This also is meaningless. Ecclesiastes 7:6 (NLT)

But then Solomon revives the sanguine heart:

So go ahead. Eat your food with joy, and drink your wine with a happy heart, for God approves of this! Ecclesiastes 9:7 (NLT)

Of course, the high-functioning choleric also gets smacked:

One hand full of rest is better than two fists full of labor and striving after wind. Ecclesiastes 4:6 (NASB)

And there is insight for young men gawking at the pool this summer:

I discovered that a seductive woman is a trap more bitter than death. Her passion is a snare, and her soft hands are chains. Those who are pleasing to God will escape her, but sinners will be caught in her snare.  Ecclesiastes 7:26 (NLT)

And for women who feel scandalized by such a sexist depiction of the fair sex:

“This is my conclusion,” says the Teacher. “I discovered this after looking at the matter from every possible angle. Though I have searched repeatedly, I have not found what I was looking for. Only one out of a thousand men is virtuous, but not one woman! Ecclesiastes 7:27-28 (NLT)

But for husbands nodding their head in agreement, we have this:

Live happily with the woman you love through all the meaningless days of life that God has given you under the sun. The wife God gives you is your reward for all your earthly toil. Ecclesiastes 9:9 (NLT)

It’s a fun book! It’s a great follow-up to our Evidence series, because Solomon tackles the best arguments people raise against the knowledge of God. But he also gives the greatest comfort to broken hearts with these immortal words:

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