The Book of Ecclesiastes How To Live Life Wisdom from God
The Question Eccl. 1:3: “What profit has a man from all his labor in which he toils under the sun?”
A Similar Question Eccl. 2:3: “I searched in my heart… till I might see what was good for the sons of men to do under heaven all the days of their lives.”
A Series Of Answers Wisdom (1:13-18) – “in much wisdom is much grief, and he who increases knowledge increases sorrow.” Mirth and pleasure (2:1-3) – “I said of laughter— ‘Madness!’; and of mirth, ‘What does it accomplish?’”
A Series Of Answers Accomplishments (2:4-10) – (10) “For my heart rejoiced in all my labor; and this was my reward from all my labor.” (11) “Then I looked… and indeed all was vanity and grasping for the wind. There was no profit under the sun.” No Lasting Fulfillment!
The Answer Eccl. 2:11: Then I looked on all the works that my hands had done, and on the labor in which I had toiled; and indeed all was vanity and grasping for the wind. There was no profit under the sun.
No Advantage Over The Wise? 2:15-17: Then I said in my heart, “This also is vanity. For there is no more remembrance of the wise than of the fool forever, since all that now is will be forgotten in the days to come. And how does a wise man die? As the fool!” Therefore I hated life because the work that was done under the sun was distressing to me, for all is vanity and grasping for the wind.
Is the Preacher a Pessimist? “all is vanity and a grasping after wind” Vanity occurs 37 times in the book. Hebrew: “wind, breath” empty, senseless, signifies failure to find lasting fulfillment in one’s achievement.
The Preacher Knows God The word “God” occurs 40 times in the book, emphasizing the presence, interest, and concern of God, the creator and controller of life’s affairs. Eccl. 9:1: For I considered all this in my heart… that the righteous and the wise and their works are in the hand of God.
In the midst of a transitory world of trials, problems and disappointments, all is “in the hand of God”.
Where Is The True Good? (Notice God in this conclusion) 2:24-26: “Nothing is better for a man than that he should eat and drink, and that his soul should enjoy good in his labor. This also, I saw, was from the hand of God. For who can eat, or who can have enjoyment, without Him? For God gives wisdom and knowledge and joy to a man who is pleasing in His sight…”
God provides everything we need to enjoy life. He provides the wisdom and knowledge we need to get the most joy out of life.
The Hand Of God In Life 3:1: “To everything there is a season; a time for every purpose under heaven.” 3:9-11: “What PROFIT has the worker from that in which he labors? I have seen the God- given task with which the sons of men are to be occupied. He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also He has put eternity in their hearts, except that no one can find out the work that God does from beginning to end.
There is PROFIT, And All Things Do Become Beautiful, But We Don’t Know When, Why or How.
We Want To Know How God Is Working In Our Lives But seasons, times and purposes are determined by God. Therefore, in our searching we must accept that we live and labor under a purpose and providence which WE CANNOT KNOW OR CONTROL.
What Then Is There For Man To Do? 3:12-13: “I know that nothing is better for them than to rejoice, and to do good in their lives, and also that every man should eat and drink and enjoy the good of all his labor – it is the gift of God.”
We are to ACCEPT that God is in control of our lives, DO GOOD, REJOICE in our blessings each day, and be content to put our TRUST in Him.
Each day we are to TRUST God’s providence and… 3:14: “I know that whatever God does, it shall be final. Nothing can be added to it, and nothing taken from it. God does it, that men should fear before Him.” Reverence Him Who Is In Control
But What About Sorrow and Wickedness? 3:16: “Moreover I saw under the sun: In the place of judgment, wickedness was there; and in the place of righteousness, iniquity was there.” 3:17: “I said in my heart, ‘God shall judge the righteous and the wicked. For there is a time for every purpose and for every work.’”
But What About Sorrow and Wickedness? 3:18-20: I said in my heart, concerning the condition of the sons of men, God tests them, that they may see that they themselves are like animals... All go to one place. All are from the dust, and all return to dust.
Consider The Work Of God! 7:13-14: For who can make straight what He has made crooked? In the day of prosperity be joyful, but in the day of adversity consider: Surely God has appointed the one as well as the other, so that man can find out nothing that will come after him.
TRUST & REJOICE! 3:22: So I perceived that nothing is better than that a man should rejoice in his own works, for that is his heritage. For who can bring him to see what will happen after him?
How Sad for Man to Worry About Life When God Is In Control! 6:12: “For who knows what is good for man in life, all the days of his vain life which he passes like a shadow? Who can tell a man what will happen after him under the sun?
Don’t Look Back! 7:10: “Do not say, ‘Why were the former days better than these?’ For you do not inquire wisely concerning this.” The past was not ALL great and the future is not ALL dark. And You Are Not Looking For God’s Purposes In The Present!
8:15: “ So I commended enjoyment, because a man has nothing better under the sun than to eat, drink, and be merry; for this will remain with him in his labor all the days of his life which God gives him under the sun.” Rejoice!
Trust God! 8:16-9:1: “When I applied my heart to know wisdom and to see the business that is done on earth, even though one sees no sleep day or night, I saw all the work of God, that a man cannot find out the work that is done under the sun. For I considered all this in my heart, so that I could declare it all: that the righteous and the wise and their works ARE IN THE HAND OF GOD.”
Having seen the providential control of God in the life and destiny of man, the Preacher sets forth his final conclusions about what is good for man to do all the days of his life under the sun…
The Happy Life 9:7 – Go, eat your bread with joy, and drink your wine with a merry heart. 9:8 – Let your garments always be white, and let your head lack no oil. 9:9 – Live joyfully with the wife whom you love all the days of your vain life. 9:10 – Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might.
Rejoice each day, realizing that God gives all that makes it lovely. Trust in God’s providential control and direction of life, for therein one finds the true good and happiness of life under the sun.
Trust Eliminates Worry. Contentment and Peace Takes Its Place. Phil. 4:6-7: “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” Phil. 4:11: “I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content…”
The Final And Eternal Good 12:13-14: 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 will bring every work into judgment, including every secret thing, whether good or evil.
Hear the Gospel (Rom. 10:17) Believe that Jesus is the Son of God (Mk. 16:16) Repent of Your Sins (Acts 17:30) Confess Jesus as Lord (Rom. 10:9-10) Be Baptized for Forgiveness of Sins (Acts 2:38) Live Faithfully until You Die (Rev. 2:10) Will You Become A Christian?
Wealth Offers No Lasting Joy 4:6: “Better a handful with quietness than both hands full, together with toil and grasping for the wind.” Whatever our lot in life, under God’s providence we must learn the lesson of CONTENTMENT and TRUST.
Other Lessons Under The Sun 4:7-13 – Friends or Riches, But Usually Not Both! 4:14-16 – Even If You Get To The Top, You Won’t Stay There. 5:1-7 – Don’t Offer Foolish Sacrifices – Listen To God! 5:8-9 – Most Gain Goes to the Rulers. 5:10-17 – No Peace In Search For Wealth.
Again, What Is Good For Man? 5:18-20: “Here is what I have seen: It is good and fitting for one to eat and drink, and to enjoy the good of all his labor in which he toils under the sun all the days of his life which God gives him; for it is his heritage… For he will not dwell unduly on the days of his life, because God keeps him busy with the joy of his heart.”