Ecclesiastes 7:15-29. Chasing the Wind. The Search for Virtue.

July 25th, 2016

Chasing the Wind: The Search for Virtue

Ecclesiastes 7:15-29

A Warning Against Religion (v. 15-18)

·         Solomon reflects on the trappings of religion

o   Religion: A system of beliefs and actions that are thought to make oneself more pleasing to God

·         His use of the term ‘righteous’ here refers to a self-righteousness based in our actions

o   Rather than in a right-standing granted by God by grace

o   Thus its pursuit should be avoided

·         Likewise, some wickedness is inevitable in life

o   But it should never be pursued

·         Instead, one should learn to fear God

o   Hold Him in awe and respect

o   Which leads to true righteousness


Coping with Evil (v. 19-22)

·         Since evil cannot be completely avoided in the world

o   One must learn to cope with it

o   Which we do through wisdom (v. 19)

·         Wisdom allows us to be honest about the state of humanity

o   We are all sinful (v. 20)

·         It also allows us to be honest about our own failings & fragile egos (v. 21-22)

o   We need to learn to deal with people as they are

o   Not as we wish they would be


The Search for Virtue (v. 23-29)

·         Again Solomon reflects on the Fall of humanity into sin (see Ecc. 1:17-18)

o   His examination produces the result that humans are scheming and deceptive

·         Recalling the Fall, he points out the curse of Eve (v. 26; see Gen. 3:16 & parallel in Gen. 4:7c)

·         Which is a pattern that has continued in strife in marriage

o   Solomon is not solely faulting women for this conflict*

o   He is blaming human sinfulness

·         We were created righteous

o   But we find ways to sin and hurt each other (v. 29)

§  A succinct description of the ‘total depravity’ of humans


So What?

·         Are we seeking to be righteous on our own; or relying on God’s grace in Jesus for our right-standing with Him?

·         Are we scheming and deceiving those we are called to love the most; or are we seeking better ways to love them as Christ loves us?

Meditation Verse: Ecclesiastes 7:20

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Ecclesiastes 7, Chasing the Wind, What is Better

July 18th, 2016

Chasing the Wind: What is Better

Ecclesiastes 7:1-14

Death & Rebuke (V. 1-6)

·        Solomon reflects on the importance of understanding our mortality (v. 1-4)

o   Wisdom is gained by confronting life as it is

§  More insight is gained through suffering than pleasure

·        Likewise, wisdom is gained from good correction (v. 5-7)

o   Rather than from empty platitudes


Patience (v. 7-10)

·        Solomon reflects on the wisdom of patience

·        Patience means:

o   Not taking short-cuts (. 7)

§  Like oppression & bribery

o   Having a long-term view of things (v. 8)

§  Thinking through the outcome from the onset

o   Being slow to anger (v. 9)

§  Having a command over our emotions

o   Not being stuck in the past (. 10)

§  Because it may blind us to God’s work in the present


Wisdom & Wealth (v. 11-14)

·        Wealth is of benefit, but is fleeting (v. 11)

o   Vanishing during hard times

·        Wisdom is of greater benefit (v. 12)

o   Because it shelters us in times of trouble

o   It actually increases during hardships

·        Wisdom produces the knowledge that God is in control (v. 13-14)

o   Thus, prosperity has a purpose

o   And hardships are for a reason

§  God uses both to teach us lessons

§  Often, how to rely on Him


So What?

·        Do we seek wisdom?

o   God often teaches us through suffering and hardship

·        Can we see His hand in the storms and trials?

o   As well as through the blessings of life


Meditation Verse: Ecclesiastes 7:3

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Ecclesiastes 6: Chasing the Wind, Seeking Contentment.

July 11th, 2016

Chasing the Wind: Seeking Contentment

Ecclesiastes 6

Goods vs. Good (v. 1-6)

·        Solomon reflects on possessions and wealth

·        We might amass goods, but they may not lead us to goodness

·        This is even true when it comes to things normally seen as biblical blessings

o   Like children and long life

·        What good are these things if we cannot enjoy them?


Wisdom & Insight (V. 7-9)

·        Solomon confesses that human appetites drives our actions (v. 7)

o   And yet is never satisfied

·        These appetites include our desire for wealth, pleasure, security, wisdom, etc.

·        We think of some of these as advantageous

o   But Solomon assures that even wisdom has limited benefits (v. 8)

·        We are better off being content with what we have them constantly chasing more of any of these things (v. 9)


Seeking a Name (v. 10-12)

·        Everything has already been named (Gen. 2:20)

o   Including “Man”

§  Adam = Dust

·        Yet we strive to make a name for ourselves

o   See Gen. 6:4, “men of renown” = “men of a name”

·        By doing so, we contend with the Creator (v. 10-11; see Gen. 3:5)

o   Who alone knows what is best and what is to come (v. 12)


So What?

·        Are we content with what God has given us?

o   Or do we fight Him?

o   Wanting more but feeling empty by it

Meditation Verse: Ecclesiastes 6:12

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