Ecclesiastes: Enjoy Life & Fear God
It seems clear that the Author is King Solomon,
he narrates large portions of the book as the narrator who is named, “The Teacher”.
-What is Ecclesiastes about?
-goes to show what life is like “under the sun”
-We can choose futility, or choose to live for eternity
-Are we chasing the wind, or are do we Fear God and enjoy this world that He has made?
The Genre of this book is “Wisdom Literature”.
written with the people of the royal courts in mind.
future rulers & leaders studied these writings to help them rule and lead well.
Ecclesiastes 1-2 Action Steps
Worldly accomplishments and pleasure are futile, like chasing the wind.
Evaluate your priorities?
Are you chasing the wind or are you living for eternity?
Did you ever find a time in your life when you assumed that you were in charge, and left God out of the equation?
It was your will and your ways.
STORY - Who is in Control?
Elise in the Home Depot shopping cart with a wheel.
Does life every feel like that to you?
You are at the wheel, but when you turn it life doesn’t obey.
Ecclesiastes 3 starts off with a poem.
As I read the poem ask yourself this question; Who is in control of that decision?
Explaining some of the phrases
-a time to live and a time to die
-these belong to God, and so does everything in between.
a time to plant, and a time to uproot
try planting your garden in February, doesn’t work.
But who is in charge of the seasons?
Time to kill and to heal
Time to tear down and build
These phrases all have to do with establishing or destroying.
You could apply it to war room strategy.
You could apply it to construction.
Buildings a re built for a purpose, time passes, and then they come down.
Its time to move on.
Time to weep and a time to laugh.
Time to mourn and a time to dance
We all know straight away that this is true.
And if you do the joyful dancing where the sad mourning should be, things seem out of sorts.
A time to throw stones and a time to gather stones.
What does that mean?
You don’t hear that phrase very often.
The interpretation that I think makes the most sense has to do with war strategy.
Sometimes it makes sense to put stones all throughout the fields so that others cannot use them for crops.
And then of course, the battle is over, the land is claimed, and the stones need to be removed.
I’m going to stop there at going line by line through the poem, because I want to focus on what is the point of the poem.
What is the point of this poem?
Is it so that we will learn to understand and discern the times that we are in?
Is it so that we will learn that there are certain rhythms to life, and that we should work with the natural order rather than against it?
Yes, I think that it is fair to learn that lesson from this poem, but I don’t think that understanding the times is the main reason for the poem.
Here is what the main point of the poem is.
God is in control.
God is overall.
God is God, and we are not.
There are so many things that happen in our lives that are going to happen whether we like it or not.
We get sick, and there is nothing that you could have done to avoid it.
Wars come and go, young people get drafted and there is nothing that they can do.
We have timelines set up.
We work towards goals, we have hopes and dreams.
But sometimes things shift.
Sometimes nothing goes how we hoped, or how we had planned.
How then should we respond?
Did you notice how one line cancels the other out.
A time to be born, and a time to die.
A time to plant and a time to uproot.
One cancels the other.
And so in one sense you could say, the big result of everything is nothing, it is futility.
All of our efforts will one day be cancelled out, its just a chasing after the wind.
Is that the point, that everything is futile?
Maybe we should just quit.
Dissolve into fatalism.
It doesn’t matter what I do, because God’s in charge anyways, and His ways will be done.
Just be lazy in your work, lazy in your faith, lazy in your commitments.
What does it matter, you can’t control time?
You could some up the question like this...
“If God is in control, what is my responsibility?”
Or maybe you would ask the question this way, “If God is in control, does it really matter what I do?”
What am I working so hard for?
Lets see what the Teacher says about that in Ecclesiastes 3:9-15
If God is in control, what is my responsibility?
First, and of most importance.
Stand in Awe.
We don’t normally stand still.
As a culture, we are not very good at Sabbath, stopping our work so that we have time and space to worship God.
We fill our days from dawn till dusk with tasks.
But try this out this week, start each day with this phrase:
God works so that people will be in awe of Him.
As you go through your day, look for God’s work.
Think about how this world is sustained.
And when you take a step back to see what God is accomplishing, stand in awe.
Appreciate his work.
Praise him for his control.
The second thing that we can do is to
God is in control, he is overall.
And he has created us to live on his earth, in view of his work, and carrying forward with our responsibilities and commitments.
So let us rejoice and enjoy this good life that God has given to us.
We can trust him.
Maybe nothing is working out how you thought that it should.
Maybe it’s becoming painfully obvious that you have far less control than you thought.