|The Book of
A brief outline of Ecclesiastes
I. The vanity of human wisdom (1:1-2:26)
II. The disappointing experiences of life (3:1-5:20)
III. The vanity of wealth and honor (6:1-8:17)
IV. Dependence on God to deal with the injustices of life (9:1-12:8)
V. Life in the light of eternity (12:9-14)
One of the more difficult things to grasp for most people is the meaning of life. How
does one find fulfillment and completion in this life?
Most people agree with Solomon, everything is vain. No matter what you try,
something is missing. From this viewpoint, Solomon seeks what truly has meaning.
Knowledge is power. Education will provide all the answers to your problems.
Yet, six out of ten college graduates get jobs outside of their field of study. The
more you learn, the more you don’t know. No matter what you learn of this world,
something is missing.
Solomon is the most knowledgeable and wisest of men, yet it does not provide
fulfillment and satisfaction.
If only I had … The majority of Americans believe they would be happy and
satisfied if they only made 10% more. It doesn’t matter how much they make, just
10% more… Stocks, bonds, real estate, cars, boats, money, … these are seen
as the answer to all the problems of life by many.
Yet, Solomon was blessed with more wealth than any other, and all that it left him
Power is addictive. Political power is surely to provide happiness and
contentment. The frustrations of dealing with the bureaucratic maze make you
think if only I had the power and ability to avoid it.
Solomon had unrivaled power. He was king. His word was law. Yet, something
Epicureanism says that fulfillment is to be found in pleasures of the flesh.
When hungry, if only I could eat unrestrained … When denied, surely
unrestrained sexual conduct would bring the greatest pleasure … When in
pain or misery, if only I could have another drink or something to make me
high … The physical pleasures of life would make everything all right.
Everything would be good then.
Solomon was in a position to endulge his pleasures. With 700 wives and 300
concubines, with wealth and power to purchase and demand anything and
everything, no pleasure would or could be denied him. Yet, something was
Life has meaning only when one serves God. Man is a physical being, and a
spiritual being. The things of this world satisfy the flesh, but they leave the
spirit empty. That is what Jesus told the Devil when tempted in the wilderness.
But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but
by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God. (Matthew 4:4 KJV)
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. (Ecclesiastes 12:13-14 KJV)
Ecclesiastes is never quoted in the New Testament.