Seeking Answers A Study in Ecclesiastes Lesson 13 – Seeking Fulfillment…Finding Regret – Part 1: “All is Vanity” from Experience Ecclesiastes 1:12 – 2:26 Brian K. Davis January 15, 2012
Life Under the Sun - “All is Vanity” • New Testament paints secular life in I John 2:15-17 - 15 Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world. 17 And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever. • These three are the most common delusion of life under the sun. Solomon deals with each of these seductive powers in two broad themes in the book of Ecclesiastes – Wisdom and Pleasure • What the LORD reveals of Human Wisdom – Psalm 94:11 - The LORD knows the thoughts of man, That they are futile. • Even so, Solomon’s quest was “to seek and search out by wisdom concerning all that is done under heaven” (Ecclesiastes 1:13); restated similarly in Ecclesiastes 2:3 – “…till I might see what was good for the sons of men to do under heaven all the days of their lives.”
The “Heart” of the Matter Consider the Approach of Solomon in Ecclesiastes 1:12-2:26 – He is diligent in his quest: 13 And I set my heart to seek and search out by wisdom concerning all that is done under heaven; this burdensome task God has given to the sons of man, by which they may be exercised. 16 I communed with my heart, saying, Look, I have attained greatness, and have gained more wisdom than all who were before me in Jerusalem. My heart has understood great wisdom and knowledge.” 17 And I set my heart to know wisdom and to know madness and folly. I perceived that this also is grasping for the wind. 1 I said in my heart, “Come now, I will test you with mirth; therefore enjoy pleasure”; but surely, this also was vanity. 3 I searched in my heart how to gratify my flesh with wine, while guiding my heart with wisdom, and how to lay hold on folly, till I might see what was good for the sons of men to do under heaven all the days of their lives. 10 Whatever my eyes desired I did not keep from them. I did not withhold my heart from any pleasure, For my heart rejoiced in all my labor; And this was my reward from all my labor. 15 So I said in my heart, “As it happens to the fool, It also happens to me, And why was I then more wise?” Then I said in my heart, “This also is vanity.” 20 Therefore I turned my heart and despaired of all the labor in which I had toiled under the sun. 22 For what has man for all his labor, and for the striving of his heart with which he has toiled under the sun? 23 For all his days are sorrowful, and his work burdensome; even in the night his heart takes no rest. This also is vanity. He references his or man’s “heart” 14 times in 10 of the 32 verses. Proverbs 4:23 - Keep your heart with all diligence, For out of it spring the issues of life.
Vanity of Vanities! All is Vanity! • Solomon’s heart lead search (i.e. his experience) leads to three major truths about life: • The Problems in Life Are Unavoidable (Ecclesiastes 1:13) • It is an unhappy business that God has given to the children of man to be busy with (ESV). • Worldly Remedy: Alcohol, other drugs, stimulants or depressants • Remedy 1: Corinthians 10:13 No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it. • Remedy 2: Galatians 6:1-2 - 1Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted. 2Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.
…all is vanity and grasping for the wind • The Problems of Life Are Frustrating (Ecclesiastes 1:14) • I have seen everything that is done under the sun, and behold, all is vanityand a striving after wind (ESV). • Worldly Remedy: more Alcohol, more drugs, stimulants or depressants – when those fail - Suicide • Remedy 1: Ephesians 4:26-27 –26 “Be angry, and do not sin”:do not let the sun go down on your wrath, 27 nor give place to the devil. • Remedy 2: James 1:2-5 - 2 My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, 3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. 4 But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing. 5 If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him. • Consider the words of David in Psalm 37
…in much wisdom there is much grief • The search for human wisdom leads to folly (Ecclesiastes 1:15-18) • For in much wisdom is much vexation, and he who increases knowledge increases sorrow (ESV). • Worldly Remedy: Evolution, Idols, Agnostic, Atheist, etc. • Remedy: 1 Corinthians 1:21-25 - 21 For since, in the wisdom of God, the world through wisdom did not know God, it pleased God through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe. 22 For Jews request a sign, and Greeks seek after wisdom; 23 but we preach Christ crucified, to the Jews a stumbling block and to the Greeksfoolishness, 24 but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. 25 Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men. • Apart from God the world through its wisdom cannot and will not come to know God nor the true meaning of life! Solomon will continue to proof this point that will lead him to the conclusion we find in the end of this book!