A Study on Ecclesiastes - Part IBro. David Chancellor
4/30/2006 11:00 AM
The words of the Preacher, the son of David, king of Jerusalem. Vanity of vanities, saith the Preacher, vanity of vanities; all is vanity. What profit hath a man of all his labour which he taketh under the sun? One generation passeth away, and another generation cometh: but the earth abideth for ever. The sun also ariseth, and the sun goeth down, and hasteth to his place where he arose. The wind goeth toward the south, and turneth about unto the north; it whirleth about continually, and the wind returneth again according to his circuits. All the rivers run into the sea; yet the sea is not full; unto the place from whence the rivers come, thither they return again. All things are full of labour: man cannot utter it: the eye is not satisfied with seeing, nor the ear filled with hearing. The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun. Is there any thing whereof it may be said, See, this is new? it hath been already of old time, which was before us. There is no remembrance of former things: neither shall there be any remembrance of things that are to come with those that shall come after.
This book was written to try to convey something to mankind. The writer doesn’t appear to be too impressed with life. “Vanity of vanities, all is vanity.” If you live wrong, this is what you’ll end up with. He pictures life as being circular. Youth has big ideas, but winds up finding out that they’re a lot like Mom or Dad.
“There’s nothing new under the sun.” Even with all the changes in material things, humanity still hasn’t changed. This is why life is so circular. Technology does not eliminate the problems of life. God put things together in such a way that we can’t figure it all out. He did it that way so that we’d have to trust him to work things out for us. Work can be enjoyable, but it is not in and of itself the means of our enjoyment. Not every problem that looks like something you’ve seen before is able to be solved in the same way. We have to realize that we need God.
I the Preacher was king over Israel in Jerusalem. And I gave my heart to seek and search out by wisdom concerning all things that are done under heaven: this sore travail hath God given to the sons of man to be exercised therewith. I have seen all the works that are done under the sun; and, behold, all is vanity and vexation of spirit. That which is crooked cannot be made straight: and that which is wanting cannot be numbered. I communed with mine own heart, saying, Lo, I am come to great estate, and have gotten more wisdom than all they that have been before me in Jerusalem: yea, my heart had great experience of wisdom and knowledge. And I gave my heart to know wisdom, and to know madness and folly: I perceived that this also is vexation of spirit. For in much wisdom is much grief: and he that increaseth knowledge increaseth sorrow.
What can you change? You can’t change your heart by yourself. Of ourselves, there is nothing in the world that we can change. It takes God for you to change. If our lives would turn out well, we need God. The only way things can change and be what they ought to be is through God making the change.
“For in much wisdom is much grief: and he that increaseth knowledge increaseth sorrow.” People look to solve problems through education. Education won’t solve all the problems, but neither are we persuaded that ignorance is bliss. Wisdom can increase your grief. Wisdom is no guarantee that you will be successful or happy; you’ll still get to work. The understanding that helps us to know and walk with God keeps us happy.
This wisdom have I seen also under the sun, and it seemed great unto me: There was a little city, and few men within it; and there came a great king against it, and besieged it, and built great bulwarks around it. Now there was found in it a poor wise man, and he by his wisdom delivered the city; yet no man remembered that same poor man. Then said I, Wisdom is better than strength: nevertheless the poor man’s wisdom is despised, and his words are not heard. The words of wise men are heard in quiet more than the cry of him that ruleth among fools. Wisdom is better than weapons of war: but one sinner destroyeth much good.
You may do something to benefit others, but still not be remembered. Greatness is not in how well you’re remembered. Focus on doing good every day of your life and letting the love of God shine through your life. “Wisdom is better than weapons of war: but one sinner destroyeth much good.” Because of man’s sin, there is a lot of heartache. Even “just one sin” can destroy much good. Actions have consequences. That’s why even ONE sin can cause so much trouble. Even the saved have to deal with the consequences of the sins of others.
Rejoice, O young man, in thy youth; and let thy heart cheer thee in the days of thy youth, and walk in the ways of thine heart, and in the sight of thine eyes: but know thou, that for all these things God will bring thee into judgment. Therefore remove sorrow from thy heart, and put away evil from thy flesh: for childhood and youth are vanity.
Youth can look forward to the open road ahead, but the youth need to stop and consider which road to take. Remember that choices have consequences. Find out what God has to say about it all. God has a purpose for you; find it and live it out. If you’ll do this, you won’t get to the end of life bitter. You can be happy if you have lived your life in harmony with God’s plan.
Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man. For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil.
Our walk with God is what really matters. This is where happiness is found. The people that are happy are those who have found and followed God.