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God makes life make sense!
Reflections on the book of Ecclesiastes

Scripture reading: Ecclesiastes 8

Last week we began to study the book of Ecclesiastes.

For our first lesson in Ecclesiastes, we traced this interesting thread that weaves through the book: Enjoy your life--God's way.

Though Ecclesiastes is built on the thesis that life is meaningless, Solomon repeatedly exhorts us to enjoy the life that God has given us. Despite the obvious tension that exists between these two points, Solomon exhorts us to enjoy our work, food and drink, our spouses if we are married, our youth, and the stuff that God has given us.

Ultimately, True and lasting joy is found in Christ and the forgiveness of sins and peace with God


Today, I want to tackle with you the so called thesis of the book of Ecclesiastes: The assertion that everything in this life is meaningless/empty/vain/purposeless.

Solomon states this in Ecclesiastes 1:2 (READ) and then proceeds to repeat and argue the point for nearly the entire book. (note the high frequency of the phrase "meaningless" from beginning to end)

SOLOMON'S THESIS RAISES SOME QUESTIONS

Is life meaningless or purposeful?

What is the meaning and purpose of life?

How are we to answer someone who says "Life is meaningless" and then proceeds to argue the point?

Is life worth living? Are there worthwhile things for us to do in this life?

What gives life purpose and meaning?

Funny aside:

In the movie "The hitchhikers guide to the galaxy" a super computer is asked to determine the meaning of life. Hundreds of years later the people return to get the answer, to which the computer, called "Deep thought" answers "42". Let me assure you that the answer to the meaning of life is not 42.

READ ECCLESIASTES 8

THOUGHTS ON SOLOMON'S THESIS

1. Solomon's thesis gives voice to a thought that many people have. The key thing is, in pondering the question of the meaning of life, he takes us to God.

2. Some pursuits and things are senseless, vain, and empty

Solomon lists a bunch of things that he regarded as being meaningless

-the pursuit of money, pleasure, power, knowledge, wisdom, things; in and of themselves they are empty
-death, injustice, wicked people getting what the righteous deserve and vice versa, the laughter of fools, empty and long speeches, achievement that springs from envy, the hoarding of goods, peoples efforts and achievements motivated by greed and envy, etc

Note Ecclesiastes 4:4; 8:9-10, 14 which provide some examples

What makes some pursuits and things senseless and empty? God's not in it!

3. Some things that appear to be meaningless, are purposeful

Appearances can be deceptive. The key is perspective! A heavenly perspective (under heaven versus under the sun theme in the book of Ecclesiastes)

Without God, it's meaningless. When God is in the picture, things become meaningful

A repeated phrase through the book of Ecclesiastes is "under the sun". i.e 1:14, etc

This phrase has in view the human perspective, and the the point is this; from a merely human perspective life and it's pursuits can appear to be meaningless.

Note: Our Christian perspective makes this point obvious for other Bible books give us insight into the workings and mind of God. (as it regards suffering, sickness, pain, persecution, etc)

The Greatest example of something appearing meaningles but being purposeful: Jesus' death on the cross***

4. Pursuits that are in themselves meaningless or empty, can be made purposeful

Key: If such things are devoted to God

i.e Pursue achievement and advancement to influence
i.e Work hard for money so can give a lot to the Kingdom

5. Without God, life is empty and meaningless.

Without God we are all just evolutionary genetic accidents. If all we are is products of evolution, we are no better than the animals, we are here today and gone tomorrow. Without God life and all its pursuits is meaningless.

6. Meaning and purpose is found in God. God makes life make sense

While declaring that life is meaningless, Solomon also talks a lot about God in the book of Ecclesiastes. It's almost as if every other thought in Ecclesiastes somehow ties into God.

Solomon's purposeful inclusion of God is what leads us to the conclusion that Solomon understood, despite his statements to the contrary and his inability to pinpoint the answer, that meaning and purpose is found in God.

Solomon's theology God in the book of Ecclesiastes:

God is to be honored, He blesses those who please Him, He is to be revered, He is to be obeyed, We have a duty as it regards Him (Ecclesiastes 12:13) ,He is to be respected, one needs to keep the vows that they make to Him, the wise thing is to turn to God in ones youth, He is to be feared, one needs to understand that they are accountable to God for how they live- for a day of judgment and accounting awaits us all.

7. Our God given purpose is revealed to us in the Scriptures

To discover God's purpose for your life, go to the Scriptures

The Bible tells us all sorts of things:

i. It tells us how we came to be (Genesis 1-2),
ii. It tells us why the world is so messed up (Genesis 3),
iii. It tells us that the solution to the world's sin problem is Jesus and his death on the cross
iv. It tells us WHAT WE ARE HERE FOR AND SUPPOSED TO BE DOING.

Why we are here and what we are supposed to be doing

-we were made by God and for God. (Revelation 4:11)
- We were made by God to relate to Him, walk with him, and enjoy Him (such is the picture of Adam and Eve in the garden)
-In Christ, the call is to join the family and kingdom of God and serve together as one
-Our calling is worship God
-Our calling is to raise our children in the ways of God
-Our calling is to be like Christ. We are to seek to put on and grow in the character of Christ.
-Our calling is to holiness
-Our calling is to be salt and light
-Our calling is to serve others in the name of Christ
-Our calling is to generosity and forgiveness
-Our calling is to take the message of repentance from sin and faith in Christ as Savior and Lord
-Our calling is to lead productive lives


Summary: If you want to know what you are supposed to be doing. Read and study God's word

CONCLUSION

Life is worth living!

God makes life make sense

God makes life purposeful

Live a purpose driven life! Live for God. Put God in whatever you.



Further study: The purpose driven life by Rick Warren


Closing song: Only you or Jesus be the centre or My life is in you Lord