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Posts tagged ‘Ecclesiastes’

Ecclesiastes: Chapter 1

Hey, y’all! If you read my last two posts on Ecclesiastes, we were reviewing the overview of the book and possible author. The overall message of the book: Life stinks…and then you die. The wise man looks at life and finds it vain.
And now, it’s time to take a close look at the first chapter. If you have a Bible, grab it and read along, since I may not list every verse. Besides, the more you study using your Bible, the more comfortable you will become opening it up and the more familiar you will be with your own Bible. Ecclesiastes can be found about halfway through the Bible, after Psalms and Proverbs, in the Poetry section of the Old Testament and yes, it is a book of poetry. The author uses poetic language to discuss what he has observed about life.
We’ve already discussed the first two verses: the writer identifies himself, or hints at who he is, and declares that all is vanity. What a happy message!
Vs 3-“What advantage does a man have in all his work
Which he does under the sun?”
The wise man knows everyone has to work for a living and is not talking about the immediate results, like picking up your paycheck or paying your bills, or even finishing that project you’ve been working on. He is talking about the long term effects of work on your whole life. It is kind of like when we say, “I get up, go to work, come home, eat dinner, go to bed and get up and do it all over again.”
You will see the phrase, “under the sun” many times throughout the book. It pretty much means “on the earth” or “in life”.
Vs 4-“A generation goes and a generation comes,
But the earth remains forever.”
We’ve heard this said before. We live, we die, a new generation comes and replaces us and the world keeps going on, generation after generation.
Verses 5-7 give more examples-the sun, the wind, the rivers keep doing the same thing.
Vs 8-“All things are wearisome;
Man is not able to tell it.
The eye is not satisfied with seeing,
Nor is the ear filled with hearing.”
When you were a kid, do you remember wanting that new toy, the one that everyone had? Then, after you got it, another one came out that was even better? It seems like it still happens. People want that new, most advanced technological device, the one that everyone has; then, after they get it, a better one comes out. Our daughters have even been victims of that.
Well, the writer noticed the same thing. No matter what we have, we always want more.
Vs 9-“That which has been is that which will be,
And that which has been done is that which will be done.
So, there is nothing new under the sun.”
This was a memory verse for me when I was younger and I still remember it. This sentence is summing up the first eight verses.
Vs 10-11-we might think that we discover things or invent things that no one ever has but the more the archeologists find, the more we find out that other generations had the same thing-lighted streets, embalming, medicine, the aging process, etc. The ancient world already knew these things.
Martina McBride has a line in a song, called “Anyway”. “You can pour your soul out singing a song you believe in, that tomorrow they’ll forget you ever sang. Sing it anyway.”
I think that sums up the idea of the verse. I read an article that Sylvester Stallone is doing another Rambo because he is afraid he will be forgotten. It happens to everyone. Celebrities are constantly reinventing themselves so they are not forgotten.
One thing I really want in life is to be remembered for what I write. I also want to stand in front of God on the judgment day and have Him tell me that souls were saved because my writing pricked their hearts. But I have to admit, I struggle with wanting to be great. Why do we want that so bad?
Vs 12-18-The heading in my Bible in front of these verses says-The futility of wisdom.
He says that he set his mind to find out everything he could about life. He says that he found that it is vain. He begins using another phrase, which he uses often-“striving after wind”. It has the same meaning as “vanity”. Remember the first verse, when he said that all is vanity? He is going to keep coming back to that point and he uses, “striving after wind” as a poetic way of saying that things are vain. Can you catch the wind? Have you ever tried? The next time you are outside on a windy day, reach out your hand and try to catch the wind. It will go right through it. I can’t explain how, but you can’t catch the wind. You can’t see it but you know it’s there, which leads me to think that people believe in the wind, even though they can’t see it but they don’t believe in God because they can’t see Him. They don’t have to alter their lives and answer to the wind, like they would God, and I am going to get off this soapbox now.
In verse 14, the wise man says he has seen everything done under the sun and it is vanity and striving after wind. He should know since he has seen everything. In verse 16, he says that he increased in wisdom more than all than were in Jerusalem before him, observing a lot of wisdom and knowledge. He is sort of telling us what he did before writing this book and why he is qualified to write this book. I think he is also saying that since he is qualified, maybe we should listen to him. He is kind of saying, “If you want to know about life and what it really means, follow me and I’ll show you.”
Vs 17-“Ad I set my mind to know wisdom and to know madness and folly; I realized that this also is striving after wind.”
I did want to single this verse out because I want to explain a couple of things that might be fuzzy. “Folly” is a really old word that means foolishness. “Madness” is being used as they say in Britain, “He is mad”, or crazy, not in the sense of being angry.
The wise man is saying that he wanted to know both ends of the spectrum-wisdom on one end and foolishness on the other.
Vs 18-“Because in much wisdom there is much grief, and increasing knowledge results in increasing pain.”
Have you ever felt this way? We have a saying today similar to his statement: “Ignorance is bliss”. Have you ever felt that the more you find out about life, the more miserable you are? Do you ever want to go back to being a kid, when life was much simpler and you didn’t know as much? I know I have. The more wisdom I gain, the more miserable I become and I really struggle with depression, especially since I am a writer and my mind never stops. I wish I could just put it on pause for a few minutes but no can do. Sometimes I get so tired of my own mind. ,you know what I mean?
Well, that’s it for Chapter 1 and as we go along, the wise man will have much wisdom to share with us. It does get happier as the book goes along and the wise man tells us how to deal with life. One advantage we have that he did not, is that he did not have the whole story. Jesus had not come yet and saved us from our sins, and revealed things to us about heaven and spending eternity with Him in heaven. Try to remember that as you read along and I will, too. I might remind you along the way to do so.
In Chapter 2, we will take a look at what all the writer did to achieve his wisdom and all of the things that he had, and what he found out about it.

A Look At The Possible Author Of Ecclesiastes

I have started a series of posts on Ecclesiastes to get a deeper look at the book but I wanted to talk about the writer, or supposed writer. If the writer was Solomon and you are not familiar with his story, I’ll go over it.
I have listed some quotes from verses of the story:
1 Kings 3:5-“In Gibeon the Lord appeared to Solomon in a dream at night; and God said, “Ask what you wish me to give you.”
Vs 7-“And now, O Lord my God, Thou hast made thy servant king in place of my father David, yet I am but a little child; I do not know how to go out or come in.”
Vs 8-“And Thy servant is in the midst of Thy people which thou hast chosen, a great people who cannot be numbered or counted for multitude.”
Vs 9-“So give Thy servant an understanding heart to judge Thy people to discern between good and evil. For who is able to judge this great people of Thine?”
In other words, God was pleased with Solomon’s good behavior (earlier in the book, it says that he loved God like his father, David), soon after he became king and came to him in a dream, offering him whatever he wanted. Solomon asked for wisdom. We know he was young but we dont know how old he was-not old enough to have gained wisdom. Back to the verses:
Vs 10-“And it was pleasing in the sight of the Lord that Solomon had asked this thing.”
Vs 11-“And God said to him, ‘Because you have asked this thing and have not asked for yourself long life, nor have you asked riches for yourself, nor have you asked for the life of your enemies, but have asked for yourself discernment to understand justice,”
Vs12-“behold, I have done according to your words. Behold, I have given you a wise and discerning heart, so that there has been no one like you before you, nor shall one like you arise after you.”
Vs 13-“And I have also given you what you have not asked, both riches and honor, so that there will not be any among the kings like you all your days.”
Vs 14-“And if you walk in My ways, keeping My statutes and commandments, as your father, David walked, then I will prolong your days.’ ”
God was pleased with Solomon’s request, taking note that he did not ask for revenge or wealth. In addition, God gives him wealth and a long life. This can show us that if we ask for the right things, not selfish things, God will reward us. He will give us what we ask, if it is His will, plus more, sometimes. I’m not saying every time. Have you ever been going along in your life and something good happens that you wanted but did not ask for? How had you been behaving, lately? We’re you trying to follow God’s commands? I we live like we should, God blesses us, not just materially, but helps our stress, takes care of a problem, steers us in the right way in a confusing time, or in a time where we need to make a decision fast. God blesses us in so many ways, I cannot even list them right now.
Anyway, back on the subject, Solomon was given great wisdom and wealth, which he uses to his advantage, to find out everything he possibly can about life.
Whether or not the author of Ecclesiastes is Solomon, he had a lot of wisdom and had tried everything in life, only to find it vain. How many celebrities can say the same thing, having tried just as many things, and how many ended up putting a gun to their head because they had no hope of heaven. They did not have God in their lives. We can learn from the wise man and from the hopelessness of these celebrities.

Ecclesiastes Shows Us Reality-Overview

In class on Sunday morning, we’ve been studying the book of Ecclesiastes. It used to be my favorite book, because of the poetry in it-things like, “Dead flies make a perfumer’s oil stink,” and phrases like, “under the sun”, and “striving after the wind”.
I don’t know what it is, maybe because Stephanie has gone to college but I’ve been in a real depression. The kind that makes your body hurt and makes you sick, and Ecclesiastes hit home with me. It even made things worse. The thing is, you have to get to the end of the book to see the positive ending.
The whole message of the book: Life stinks and then you die. Pretty encouraging, isn’t it? It sounds familiar, doesn’t it? We say that in today’s world. Who would have thought it was in the Bible, too?
The message at the end of the book, life stinks, but enjoy it anyway because what you do in this life matters. God is in control of the whole thing, no matter how crazy it may be and He is working in everybody’s lives. If we just hang on, there is something better at the end, in another place.
The writer of the book is believed to be Solomon. Personally, I can’t imagine it being anybody else, since he says he is the king of Israel and the son of David. He also talks about wisdom that he has and how he was richer than any king in the world.
Solomon was David’s son and was king of Israel. In his youth, God came to him and was pleased with his behavior and attitude and offered him anything he wanted but we’ll talk more about that in the next post. Anyway, what God ends up giving him is wisdom and more riches than any king who came before or after him. So, this does sound like Solomon to me, but since he doesn’t say, “I, Solomon”, we cannot say for sure.
Our preacher, Phillip, said that if you can get somebody in the Bible at all, just to get them to look at one thing, show them the book of Ecclesiastes, and they’ll end up saying, “Yeah, I know exactly what he’s talking about.”

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