Category Archives: The Search for Meaning

Conclusion (1)

Introduction

Today, we’re going to consider Solomon’s conclusion. Then we’ll spend the rest of the week looking at a few miscellaneous topics that we haven’t touched on yet.

Bible Reading

Ecc 12:13-14 Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man. (14) For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil.

The Conclusion of the Whole Matter

After Solomon’s trial and error search for meaning, where did he end up? Every road he tried was a dead end. Finally, Solomon concluded that man’s purpose was to fear God and keep His commandments. In other words, man finds his meaning in his relationshp with God. We work, we enjoy pleasure, and experience many of the other things Solomon chronicled. But, in the end, all these things with God are empty. God is the hub that connects all the scattered pieces of our lives and makes us complete.

Yes, you can find fulfillment in God. You can also be prepared for the judgment that comes at the end of this life.

Heb 9:27 And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:

A life rooted in obedience to God is profitable here and now, and for eternity.

1Ti 4:8 For bodily exercise profiteth little: but godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come.

What About You?

  • Have you come to the same conclusion about life as Solomon did, or are you still trying to find meaning without a relationship with God?
  • Will you trust Christ as your Savior so you can have a relationship with God?

Epilogue (1)

Introduction

We’re going to finish up our study in Ecclesiastes by looking at a few miscellaneous topics from the book. We’ll start by seeing what Solomon had to say about giving.

Bible Reading

(Ecc 11:1) Cast thy bread upon the waters: for thou shalt find it after many days. (2) Give a portion to seven, and also to eight; for thou knowest not what evil shall be upon the earth.

(Ecc 11:6) In the morning sow thy seed, and in the evening withhold not thine hand: for thou knowest not whether shall prosper, either this or that, or whether they both shall be alike good.

Giving

There isn’t much about giving in the book of Ecclesiastes. What’s there is really more about than receiving. You may have noticed in today’s reading, that Solomon’s concern is about what you get back when you give. It’s not about how you can help others and honor God. In Ecclesiastes, giving is commended because it will benefit you. There’s little concern for others.

Now, it is true that giving is the key to receiving:

Luk 6:38 Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.

2Co 9:6-8 But this I say, He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully. (7) Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver. (8) And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work:

Yet it’s also clear as you read other Bible passages, that giving is much more than just a way to get something back:

2Co 9:11-12 Being enriched in every thing to all bountifulness, which causeth through us thanksgiving to God. (12) For the administration of this service not only supplieth the want of the saints, but is abundant also by many thanksgivings unto God;

1Jo 3:17-18 But whoso hath this world’s good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him? (18) My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth.

What About You?

  • Are you a giving person?
  • Do you give mainly to help, or to receive?

Epilogue (2)

Introduction

Today, we’re going to look at Solomon’s comments on our relationship with civil government. As the king of his country, this is certainly something that Solomon knew from firsthand experience.

Bible Reading

(Ecc 8:2) I counsel thee to keep the king’s commandment, and that in regard of the oath of God. (3) Be not hasty to go out of his sight: stand not in an evil thing; for he doeth whatsoever pleaseth him. (4) Where the word of a king is, there is power: and who may say unto him, What doest thou?

Obey the King

Solomon counsels obedience to the king’s command as if you had made an oath to God. The Bible makes it clear that civil government is ordained by God, and that resisting it exposes you to the wrath of God.

Rom 13:1-4 Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. (2) Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation. (3) For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same: (4) For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil.

Rebellion against civil government is disobedience to God. You also risk the rath of the leaders you disobey. Beyond that, obedience to civil government is a good testimony.

1Pe 2:13-15 Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake: whether it be to the king, as supreme; (14) Or unto governors, as unto them that are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers, and for the praise of them that do well. (15) For so is the will of God, that with well doing ye may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men:

What About You?

  • Are you obedient the governmental authorities in your life?
  • Do you see your obedience as a way to honor God?

Epilogue (3)

Introduction

Today, we’ll look at Solomon’s thoughts about unqualified civil leaders and the impact they have on their people.

Bible Reading

(Ecc 10:16) Woe to thee, O land, when thy king is a child, and thy princes eat in the morning! (17) Blessed art thou, O land, when thy king is the son of nobles, and thy princes eat in due season, for strength, and not for drunkenness!

The Curse of Unqualified Civil Leader

In our text, Solomon mentions a couple of common leadership problems. The first woe Solomon address is Immature leadership. When the king is a child, the nation has problems. The next problem is undisciplined, self-serving leadership. Leaders like this bring trouble to a nation. Isaiah expressed similar concerns:

Isa 3:4-5 And I will give children to be their princes, and babes shall rule over them. (5) And the people shall be oppressed, every one by another, and every one by his neighbour: the child shall behave himself proudly against the ancient, and the base against the honourable.

Isa 3:12 As for my people, children are their oppressors, and women rule over them. O my people, they which lead thee cause thee to err, and destroy the way of thy paths.

In contrast, the land is blessed by leaders of noble discent. It is a blessing when a nation’s leaders are people of character and discipline. They may enjoy pleasure, but they do it with the goal of improving their serve.

What About You?

  • Are you suffering because of unqualified leaders in your life?
  • If you are a leader, are you more interested in serving and pleasing yourself, or the people God has entrusted to your leadership?

Epilogue (4)

Introduction

Today, we’ll continue our gleaning of some of the random verses in Ecclesiastes by looking at the topic of laziness.

Bible Reading

(Ecc 10:18) By much slothfulness the building decayeth; and through idleness of the hands the house droppeth through.

(Ecc 11:4) He that observeth the wind shall not sow; and he that regardeth the clouds shall not reap.

Laziness

Solomon noted that laziness leaves clues. Decay is inevitible. The diligent person acknowledges that fact and does what is needed to respond to it. The collapsing building is evidence that the sluggard is unwilling to do what is necessary to maintain what he has.

Solomon also notice how the slothful person is distracted. He pays attention to things that are unimportant. He makes excuses. As a result, he doesn’t do what needs to be done when it needs to be done. Solomon made similar observations in Proverbs:

Pro 20:4 The sluggard will not plow by reason of the cold; therefore shall he beg in harvest, and have nothing.

Pro 21:25 The desire of the slothful killeth him; for his hands refuse to labour.

What About You?

  • Do you see evidence in you life that you are slothful?
  • Do you get distracted and end up not doing what needs to be done?

Epilogue (5)

Introduction

Today, we’re going to look at a curious verse that is one of my favorites from the book of Ecclesiastes.

Bible Reading

(Ecc 12:11) The words of the wise are as goads, and as nails fastened by the masters of assemblies, which are given from one shepherd.

The Impact and Source of Wise Words

God used Solomon to write many wise words. In today’s verse, he describes the impact and source of those words.

First, Solomon compared wise words to goads. A goad was a pointed stick, like a cattle prod, use to get livestock moving. Wise words are like that. They motivate people to get moving in the right direction. Like goads, they may also be pointed and painful.

Next, Solomon compared wise words to nails in the hand of a master carpenter. Like goads, nails are pointed, but that’s not the main idea here. Wise words are used to build something useful. They build people up. They help the lives of the listeners to be better.

Finally, Solomon told us where to get these wise words – from one Shepherd. The Lord is our Shepherd, and He is the One we can go to for the wisdom we need.

What About You?

  • Are you asking the Shepherd for wise words?
  • Do your words move people to action and build them up?

Epilogue (6)

Introduction

Today, we’re going to look how to reach your God given goals and how to avoid being sidetracked.

Bible Reading

(Ecc 7:8) Better is the end of a thing than the beginning thereof: and the patient in spirit is better than the proud in spirit. (9) Be not hasty in thy spirit to be angry: for anger resteth in the bosom of fools.

Goals and Distractions

Solomon said that the end is better than the beginning. I don’t think he was being pessimistic here. You could paraphrase his thought this way: “Crossing the finish line is better than crossing the starting line.” When you think about it like that, it makes lots of sense. I think it ties in with what comes next.”

Crossing the finish line takes more than pride. It takes patience. Any work worth doing, any assignment from God, will have built in to it occassions where you’ll want to quit. In fact, all along this journey of the Christian life, you’ll need patience to experience God’s best for your life.

Heb 10:36 For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise.

1Pe 2:20 For what glory is it, if, when ye be buffeted for your faults, ye shall take it patiently? but if, when ye do well, and suffer for it, ye take it patiently, this is acceptable with God.

You’re a fool if you let anger settle into your heart. If you’re a hot head, you’ll be less likely to reach your God given goals.

What About You?

  • Do you have any idea what God’s goals are for your life?
  • Are you moving toward those goals?
  • Or are impatience and anger sidetracking you?