Chasing the Wind: Oppression & Friendship. Ecc: 4

June 20th, 2016

Chasing the Wind: Oppression & Friendship

Ecclesiastes 4

Oppression (v. 1-3)

·        Solomon reflects on the oppression he has witnessed in the world

o   Seeing the system as rigged against the poor by those with power

§  Little has changed in 3000 years

·        This reality makes him ponder the value of life

o   Using hyperbolic language (see Job 3; Jer 20:14–18)

o   Though earlier he finds hope in God’s ultimate justice (3:15c-17)


Wealth (v. 4-8)

·        Solomon reflects on how chasing wealth fails to bring satisfaction

o   Especially when it is based in envy and covetousness

·        He then reflects on the two hazards of laziness and over-work

o   The lazy person produces nothing

§  And thus “consumes himself”

o   He who has too much stresses over what he owns

§  And thus his possessions own him

·        He also reflects on working so hard and having no one to share it with

o   Thus prioritizing wealth and work over people


Friendship (v. 9-12)

·        Reflecting on sharing life with (v. 7-8), leads to a reflection on friendship (v. 9-12)

·        Friends can make life better, including:

o   Work (v. 9)

o   Struggles (v. 10)

o   Comfort (v. 11)

§  A traveling or war image

o   Protection (v. 12)

§  Especially when there are three

·        Two friends + God


Position (v. 13-16)

·        Even as king, Solomon realizes the vanity of his position

·        It is better to be in a position of weakness and be teachable

o   Than to be in a position of strength but being inflexible

·        And someday the king will be replaced by someone younger

o   Position is fleeting


So What?

·        Since there are so many aspects to life that do not satisfied

o   We need to focus on what endures

o   Like God-centered friendships

Meditation Verse: Ecclesiastes 4:12

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Chasing the Wind: A Time for Everything. Ecclesiastes 3

June 13th, 2016

Chasing the Wind: A Time for Everything

Ecclesiastes 3

On Time (v. 1-8)

·        Solomon reflects on the ever-changing aspects of life

·        Human life is ruled by time

o   Always moving forward

o   Bringing both good and bad

·        We are not able to fully experience eternity yet


Conclusion about Time (v. 9-14)

·        Our entrapment in time is a reminder of our mortality (v.9)

·        Our fruit of our labor will not last (v. 10)

·        But God makes everything work out for its appropriate season of life (v. 11a)

o   He is the Lord of time

o   And has made us long for a timeless reality with Him (v. 11b)

·        These truths lead to the conclusion that we should learn to enjoy the life that God has given us

o   Even though this life is transitory

§  That means so is pleasure

§  And so is pain

·        Only God is eternal

o   And what He does will be the only things that last

o   Which leads to reverence* for God


On Justice (v. 15-17)

·        Solomon turns his attention to justice and its lack in the world

o   V. 15 may have the idea of God seeking the persecuted

·        Justice is not done in this world

o   But God will assure that it will be done to and for all in eternity


On Death (v. 18-21)

·        Solomon reflects on the mortality of all

o   Both men and beasts

·        Reminder: God has not clearly revealed the idea of resurrection at this time in redemptive history

o   Yet there are hints even in Solomon’s own assurance of eternal justice


Solomon’s Conclusion (v. 22)

·        If life is fleeting

o   We should enjoy the work set before us

·        Yet, Solomon’s perspective is limited

o   He asks who can know what comes after

§  Questioning if there is life after death


So What?

·        Without the hope of resurrection

o   Aspects of this life can seem empty

·        But with the perspective that there is more than this life

o   All of this life can have meaning

o   When our life is lived for God

·        Are we living for God?


Meditation Verse: Ecclesiastes 3:17

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Ecclesiastes 1:12-2:26 Chasing the Wind, Solomon’s Experience

June 6th, 2016

Chasing the Wind: Solomon's Experience

Ecclesiastes 1:12-2:26


The Irony of Wisdom (1:12-18)

      Solomon states that he pursued wisdom

     A task given to all humanity by God

      But he found the job to be a grievous

     Unlike the ancient philosophers who stated that seeking wisdom was the highest calling

      The more wisdom he had, the less meaningful life was seen to be

     Wisdom brings knowledge of problems

     But, also the knowledge that many problems cannot be solved

      Therefore wisdom actually produced vexation for Solomon


Solomon’s Pursuits (v. 2:1-11)

      He chased pleasure (v. 1-3)

      He toiled to build great estates and wealth (v. 4-10)

      And he found temporary enjoyment in these things

      But they did not truly fulfill him (v. 11)


Solomon’s Wisdom (2:12-17)

      So he turned his attention to gaining wisdom

     And found that it was better than folly

      Folly:  Human behavior apart from God

      Wisdom seeks truth/light

     And thus seeks God

     But also finds the truth that the fate of the wise is the same as the foolish: Death!


Solomon’s Legacy (2:18-26)

      He realized that all his hard work would be left to others after his death

-   And they may not act so wisely with it

      So he concluded that enjoying the fruit of one’s labor is wisdom (v. 24-25)

-   A true gift from God

      Thus, pleasing God is what produces lasting joy (v. 26)



So What?

      Are we seeking fulfillment in our relationship with God?

      Or are we, like Solomon did for a time, seeking it in pleasure or toiling for wealth that will not last?


Meditation Verse: Ecc. 2:26

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