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Ecclesiastes: Introduction

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SIH TOTT ICONWhat Is Your Life If Not Lived For The Lord?

 

INTRODUCTION TO OUR SERIES:

 

During the last portion of his life, King Solomon stopped and reflected on the life lessons he learned.

It is very important to know that Ecclesiastes is not a diary that is written as the events of Solomon’s life takes place.  It was written by an old man whose life has been lived, and had already learned life’s lessons. Ecclesiastes was written as Solomon looked back on his life, and recorded the events he had experienced and the lessons he had learned.  The most important of these lessons was the true purpose of life.

The writing of Ecclesiastes is an act of Solomon’s love for the citizens of Israel (and by extension, all the saints of God).  At the end of his life, he wanted to share his experiences in an attempt to help others avoid the many pitfalls that the fallen world holds for God’s people.    He wanted us to learn life’s meaning through the simple act of reading rather than be forced to   experience the many times of disappointment, sorrow, confusion and desperation that were a major part of his life.

This is why this book was given the title Ecclesiastes, which means “teacher”, “preacher”, or “one who shares knowledge”.  In Ecclesiastes, Solomon, as a loving caring mentor, is sharing his life’s knowledge with us.

This is the story of Ecclesiastes.  This is the reason why we are using Ecclesiastes as the text of this devotional series.  It is so that we can come to understand life’s true purpose, without having to waste our lives in its pursuit.

*********

One additional thought, although Solomon was known as “the wisest man on earth”, he struggled with many coming to understand many spiritual truths in his personal life, including life’s meaning.

How can this be?  How can such a wise man not understand life’s meaning? Why must he live his entire life in search of such a very important truth?  How can anyone be called wise if they do not understand the purpose of our existence on earth?  The context of his “wisdom” title can help us greatly with this….

Solomon’s original request for wisdom was very, very, specific.  He asked for wisdom to judge the people of God…

“Give therefore thy servant an understanding heart to judge thy people, that I may discern between good and bad: for who is able to judge this thy so great a people?”  (1Ki 3:9)

 

The Lord blessed Solomon with that specific type of wisdom, allowing him to be a righteous, discerning judge and King of Israel…

“And God gave Solomon wisdom and understanding exceeding much, and largeness of heart, even as the sand that is on the sea shore.  And Solomon’s wisdom excelled the wisdom of all the children of the east country, and all the wisdom of Egypt….  And there came of all people to hear the wisdom of Solomon, from all kings of the earth, which had heard of his wisdom.”  (1Ki 4:29-30, 34)

 

However, in his personal life Solomon was, in many ways, ignorantly foolish in the spiritual things of God…

“But king Solomon loved many strange women, together with the daughter of Pharaoh, women of the Moabites, Ammonites, Edomites, Zidonians, and Hittites; Of the nations concerning which the LORD said unto the children of Israel, Ye shall not go in to them, neither shall they come in unto you: for surely they will turn away your heart after their gods: Solomon clave unto these in love.  

And he had seven hundred wives, princesses, and three hundred concubines: and his wives turned away his heart.  For it came to pass, when Solomon was old, that his wives turned away his heart after other gods: and his heart was not perfect with the LORD his God, as was the heart of David his father.  For Solomon went after Ashtoreth the goddess of the Zidonians, and after Milcom the abomination of the Ammonites. 

And Solomon did evil in the sight of the LORD, and went not fully after the LORD, as did David his father. 

Then did Solomon build an high place for Chemosh, the abomination of Moab, in the hill that is before Jerusalem, and for Molech, the abomination of the children of Ammon.  And likewise did he for all his strange wives, which burnt incense and sacrificed unto their gods. 

And the LORD was angry with Solomon, because his heart was turned from the LORD God of Israel, which had appeared unto him twice,  And had commanded him concerning this thing, that he should not go after other gods: but he kept not that which the LORD commanded.”  (1Ki 11:1-10)

 

These principles can help us to understand why Solomon, in many ways the wisest man to ever live, is found wasting his life to discover life’s true purpose and meaning.

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THE OUTLINE OF OUR STUDY:

 

  1. The Background To Solomon’s Search
    1. Chapter 1
      1. Life Without The Lord (vs 1-3)
      2. Nothing New Under The Sun (vs 4-11)
      3. Solomon’s Pursuit (vs 12-18)
  2. The Search Begins (Solomon’s Conclusions From A Human Perspective)
    1. Chapter 2
      1. The Vanity Of Worldly Pleasures (vs 1-3)
      2. The Vanity Of Human Labors (vs 4-11)
      3. The Vanity Of Worldly Wisdom (vs 12-17)
      4. The Vanity Of Responsible (frugal & wise) Living – 1 (vs 18-23)
      5. The Vanity Of Responsible (frugal & wise) Living -2 (vs 24-26)
    2. Chapter 3
      1. A Time For Every Circumstance Of Life (vs 1-15)
      2. No Difference Between A Man And Animal (vs 16-22)
    3. Chapter 4
      1. It Is Better To Be Dead Than Alive (vs 1-3)
      2. No Difference Between The Wise And The Fool (vs 4-16)
    4. Chapter 5
      1. The Vanity Of Vows (vs 1-7)
      2. The Vanity Of Riches (vs 8-17)
      3. Enjoyment In This Life Is God’s Portion To Man – 1 (vs 18-20)
    5. Chapter 6
      1. Enjoyment In This Life Is God’s Portion To Man – 2 (vs 1-2)
      2. Life Is Filled With Times of Desire and Unfulfillment (vs 3-10)
      3. There Is No Lasting Good In This Life (vs 11-12)
    6. Chapter 7
      1. Choose Humility Over Pride (vs 1-10)
      2. The Proofs Of The Value Of Godly Wisdom (vs 11-23)
      3. The Search For Godly Wisdom (vs 24-29)
    7. Chapter 8
      1. Submit To Higher Authority (vs 1-5)
      2. Man Does Not Control Their Life Nor Their Destiny (vs 6-15)
      3. Man Cannot Understand the Workings Of God (vs 16-17)
    8. Chapter 9
      1. The Righteous and The Wicked Share Life’s Events In Common (vs 1-3)
      2. Life Is Better Than Death (vs 4-12)
      3. The Excellence And Rejection Of Godly Wisdom (vs 13-18)
    9. Chapter 10
      1. The Dangers Of Foolishness (vs 1-15)
      2. Ruling Well (vs 16-17)
      3. The Dangers Of Slothfulness (vs 18)
      4. The Value Of Money (vs 19)
      5. The Need For Willful Submission To Higher Authorities (vs 20)
    10. Chapter 11
      1. Sowing Our Seed For Others Benefit (vs 1-6)
      2. The Inevitability Of The Dark Days Of Life (vs 7-8)
      3. Instructions To Youth To Enjoy Life (vs 9-10)
    11. Chapter 12
      1. Instructions To Youth To Serve Lord While Young (vs 1-7)
      2. All Is Vanity (vs 8)
  3. The Conclusion Drawn From The Search
      1. The Importance Of The Preacher’s Teachings (vs 9 -12)
      2. The Whole Of Man – The Lessons To Be Learned (vs 13-14)

 

Folks, as we being our study tomorrow, may the Lord help us to come to a clear understanding of the meaning of life and the necessity of fulfilling His purposes for us…

1Ti 6:12  “Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses.”

 

 

 

 

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