While Solomon’s proverbs extol on optimistic view of how a life filled with wise decisions will be happy and prosperous, Ecclesiastes (the preacher) has seen the good and the bad that happen to all people, often without a clear reason. Ecclesiastes causes us to consider hard questions about seeking God’s presence in all things instead of relying on our own strength and wisdom.
Worship this week – Saturday, 5:00 p.m. in Chapel
Sunday – 8:30 a.m. Traditional Worship
10:00 a.m. Contemporary Worship
Sorrow in Knowledge
July 28, 2013
Key Verses: “Vanity of vanities, says the Teacher, vanity of vanities! All is vanity. What do people gain from all the toil at which they toil under the sun?” Ecclesiastes 1:2-3
Time: 3rd century B.C.
Background: Ecclesiastes is generally attributed to Solomon, son of King David. However, it was likely written by an anonymous author.
This is a book that investigates the meaning of life. The conclusion repeated throughout is that the actions of humanity are “vanity,” which may also translate to mean futile, meaningless, empty, or temporary.
At first reading, this may seem depressing or desperate, but there is a deeper meaning that breathes hope into the midst of despair. The author discovers that the actions of humanity are vain, primarily when those actions are self-seeking. But underneath is a message of hope, that people’s actions are full and meaningful when they are driven by a search for God. When a desire for the presence of God is central, then humanity finds happiness and meaning.
Community: What messages or behaviors do you see in culture that can be deemed vain, futile, or empty? What messages or behaviors are full or meaningful? What makes them different? Where is God in these?
At Home: Which of your actions or behaviors are vain? Change one behavior this week that can lead away from futility and toward meaning. What did you learn about yourself in the process of change?
Read This Week:
Monday: Do Not Worry, Luke 12:22-23
Tuesday: Vanity of Pleasure and Wealth, Ecclesiastes 2:1-17
Wednesday: Human Striving, Ecclesiastes 3:9-22
Thursday: An Earthly Life, Ecclesiastes 4:1-12
Friday: Political Fame, Ecclesiastes 4:13-16
Saturday: A Self-Seeking Life, Ecclesiastes 5:1-20
Next Week: For Everything There is a Season, Ecclesiastes 2:18-3:8