August 21, 2016 Speaker: Steven Sherman
Topic: General Verse: Ecclesiastes 1:1–1:18
Key Theological, Ethical, and Wisdom Themes
- God first: The Lord is ultimately in charge of life under the sun. His ways are beyond our finding out and clearly are mysterious* (ch. 5, 8).
- No one can comprehend what goes on under the sun; God has made it this way. Even if the wise claim they can discover its meaning, and claim they know it, they cannot really comprehend it (ch. 8).
- Everything God does will endure forever (ch. 3).
- God created mankind upright, but they have gone in search of many schemes (ch. 7).
- The hearts of people are full of evil and there is madness in their hearts while they live (ch. 9).
- There is no one on earth who is righteous; no one who does what is right and never sins (ch. 7).
- Wickedness will not release those who practice it (ch. 8).
- Words from the mouth of the wise are gracious but fools are consumed by their own lips (ch. 10).
- Much of what we observe happening in life is evil, seemingly chance, and/or meaningless (ch. 8, 9).
- Oppression is everywhere; don’t be surprised at oppression and justice and rights denied because of political power structures and the profits officials and kings gain from what they take (ch. 5).
- The wealthy constantly are preoccupied with seeking to gain more wealth; whoever loves money never has enough; whoever loves wealth is never satisfied; this is meaningless (ch. 5).
- We all await and will experience the same fate: death; everyone comes naked from their mother’s womb and so departs “naked” taking nothing from their toil with them (ch. 5).
- Some things happen in our lives that are unexplainable, wrong, and seemingly random (ch. 9).
- No one knows when their hour will come; people are trapped by evil times that fall unexpectedly upon them (ch. 9).
- No one has power over the time of their death (ch. 8).
- Since no one knows the future, who can tell someone else what is to come? (ch. 8).
- Fear/reverence for God is essential; it will go better with those who fear God, who are reverent before him, than for the wicked who do not fear God (ch. 8).
- Always be clothed in white [purity], and always anoint your head with oil [holiness] (ch. 9).
- Enjoy life with your wife [spouse], whom you love, all the days of this (apparently) meaningless life that God has given you under the sun (ch. 9).
- God gives wisdom and knowledge and happiness to the one who pleases him (ch. 2).
- Life, work, play, and rest are gifts from God to be enjoyed thoroughly (ch. 3, 5).
- Do your work with all your mind (ch. 9).
- This is a good: for a person to eat, drink, and find satisfaction in their toilsome labor during the few good years God has given them. It’s the best one can do and is from the hand of God; without him one cannot eat or find enjoyment (ch. 5).
- It’s better to share with others and work with others than to toil or gain alone; two are better than one and may receive a good return for their labor and mutual help and care (ch. 4).
- God has set eternity in the human heart (ch. 3).
- There is a time/season for everything, and God has made everything beautiful in its time (ch. 3).
- Wisdom is a good thing; it benefits, shelters, and preserves those who have it; it is better than foolishness, although even wisdom (sometimes, at least) can be meaningless; it also is better than weapons of war (ch. 2, 9).
- Having more knowledge can mean having more grief (ch. 1).
- Avoid excesses / overindulgences of either wisdom or foolishness (ch. 7).
- The words of the wise are important and like firmly embedded nails, given by one Shepherd (ch. 11).
- The man who pleases God will escape the woman who is a snare (ch. 7).
- Enjoy whatever life stage you are in, for this is the gift of God for you right now (ch. 11).
- Guard your steps and your mouth when going to the house of God; go near and listen rather than offer the sacrifice of fools; don’t be hasty in your heart to utter anything before God, for God is in heaven and you are on the earth, so let your words be few (ch. 5).
- Much dreaming and many words are meaningless; therefore, fear God (ch. 5).
- The bottom line: fear and revere God, and keep his commandments; this is the call/duty of everyone. For God will bring every deed into judgment, including every hidden thing, whether it is good or evil (ch. 12).