Ecclesiastes 1: Bible Study Guide.

21-BSG-1A: WORSHIP GUIDE.

A Worship Guide corresponding with the today’s Bible Reading Plan: Ecclesiastes 1/ Theme: / 21-BSG-1A, (Ecclesiastes 1:1)/ Hymn: Anywhere with Jesus I can safely go! (SDAH 508)

EXPLORATION: Vanity of Vanities — (Gen 9:25; Ec 2:11, 15, 17, 19, 21, 23, 26; 3:19; 4:4, 8, 16; 5:10; 6:11; 11:8, 10; 12:8; Ps 39:5-6, 11; 62:9-10; 144:4; Rom 8:20-21).

REFLECTION: “The word vanity means basically “breath” (see Isa. 57:13) or “vapor” (see Prov. 21:6), like the condensed breath that one breathes on a cold day. It appears to imply here both (1) that which is transitory, and (2) that which is futile. It emphasizes how swiftly earthly things pass away, and how little they offer while one has them (cf. Jas 4:14). This concept is given greater stress by the repeated use of the superlative, vanity of vanities. The phrase, all is vanity, is literally, the all is vanity: that is, the whole thing, the totality of existence is vain. This is to be understood, however, not in reference to the universe, but to all the activities of earthly life, the things “under the sun” of verse 3” [Charles F. Pfeiffer, The Wycliffe Bible Commentary: Old Testament, (Chicago: Moody Press, 1962), Ec 1:2].

DEVOTIONAL IMPLICATION: Beloved, everything this World has to offer is indeed vanity if Christ is not in the heart! There be no hope of Eternal Life apart from the Lord Jesus Christ (John 14:6). The things of earth are passing away — “And the world passes away and disappears, and with it the forbidden cravings (the passionate desires, the lust) of it; but he who does the will of God and carries out His purposes in his life abides (remains) forever.” (1 John 2:17, AMP). There is a kingdom coming in which believers shall inherit something of great value: “an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you” (1 Peter 1:4, NKJV). Beloved, there is a city “whose architect and builder is God” (Heb. 11:10). There, there is no vanity.

THE GOSPEL’S VOICE: This section is written as if God were speaking directly to you—Because He does. What does the Lord say to me this morning? My son, life is “not in vain” if you live according to My will. Listen, I came into the world “that you might have life, and have it more abundantly” (John 10:10). I am inviting you to “Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man” (Ecclesiastes 12:13, ESV). To fear Me means to obey My commandments, revere, worship, and serve Me. It means to turn from your evil ways and turn in submission and awe to the LORD your God. Do you need ‘abundant life today? Then, turn to Me and be saved!

MY DESIRE: By God’s grace, I want to fear God and keep his commandments!

Have A Blessed Day: “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” (Matthew 11:28–29, NKJV)

21-BSG-1B: PRAYER GUIDE.

A Prayer Guide corresponding with the today’s Bible Reading Plan: Ecclesiastes 1/ Theme: Confession and Repentance/ 21-BSG-1B, (Ecclesiastes 1:1)/ Key Text: “For God will bring every work into judgment, including every secret thing, whether good or evil.” (Ecclesiastes 12:14, NKJV)/ Hymn: Lord, I care not for riches [Author: Mary A. Kidder]

Opening Remarks: Is Your Name Written There?The book of Ecclesiastes views life mostly from a Christ-less standpoint especially is this first chapter. This chapter expresses the hopelessness of the soul without Christ. But as our key text points, “God shall bring every work into judgment.” As we come to this Prayer Session, have you ever considered your sins? Do you know that they are registered in the heavenly books? Is it your desire to repent and ask for God’s forgiveness?

“Every man’s work passes in review before God. Opposite each name in the books of heaven is entered, with terrible exactness, every wrong word, every selfish act, every unfulfilled duty, and every secret sin, with every artful dissembling. Heaven-sent warnings or reproofs neglected, wasted moments, unimproved opportunities, the influence exerted for good or for evil, with its far-reaching results, all are chronicled by the recording angel. If your name is registered in the Lamb’s book of life, then all will be well with you. Be ready and anxious to confess your faults and forsake them that your mistakes and sins may go beforehand to judgment and be blotted out.” (The Faith I Live By, p. 210). “Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, Whose sin is covered. Blessed is the man to whom the Lord does not impute iniquity, And in whose spirit there is no deceit.” (Psalm 32:1–2, NKJV)

Values To Build On: Faith, Prayer, Obedience, Confession and Repentance.

Sins To Avoid/ Confess: Failure to acknowledge the emptiness in all of lives (without Jesus Christ –John 10:10); Materialism: striving to ‘gain the whole world” while losing own souls (Mark 8:36); Trusting in what the world has to offer.

Something To Thank God For: God allows the Sun to rise and set (1:5); God allows the Wind to blow in circles (1:6); God created Rivers to run into the sea, yet the sea is not full (1:7); God knows all things: there is nothing new under the sun (1:9); God allowed king Solomon to be king over all Israel in Jerusalem – likewise, He allows us to be in certain positions (1:12).

People To Pray For: Pray for all people (especially the wicked) to be saved and come to a knowledge of the Truth (1 Tim 2:4); Pray for all those preoccupied with the things of this World to be converted and get ready for Christ’s return soon.

Issues To Pray For: Pray for Bible Study Guide on Ecclesiastes (preparation, study, and salvation); Believers’ experience of life; Diligence; God’s knowledge among His people (as the source of human happiness); An understanding that all human accomplishments and wisdom are useless, vain, transitory (apart from the Lord Jesus Christ); The Brevity and Uncertainty of Life (know that our lives are short and that we must be ready always: “Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom” Psa. 90:12).

Today’s Promise: “If My people, who are called by My name, shall humble themselves, pray, seek, crave, and require of necessity My face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven, forgive their sin, and heal their land.” (2 Chronicles 7:14, AMP)

Action Step: Take a moment to pray, confess and repent of the sins listed above. If you have a Prayer Request(s), kindly write it below and someone will pray for it.

PRAYER: Father, we thank You for Your word in Ecclesiastes chapter 1. We thank You for the privilege of reading and hearing these holy Words. Indeed life is vanity without Jesus. Help us to never forget that. Forgive us of the sins listed above, Lord. Teach us depend on You in everything we do. Prepare us for Thy kingdom. As we begin the Book of Ecclesiastes, may Thy Spirit –The Great Preacher – speak to us and show us what we must do to be saved. We thank You LORD, and ask these things, believing and trusting, in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

Ecclesiastes 1: Bible Study Guide.

21-BSG-1C: CHAPTER OVERVIEW.

Characters: God, Solomon/ Key Word: Vanity, (Pr. 1:2)/ Striking Verses: Proverbs 1: 1-2, 3, 5, 8.

KEY WORD STUDY—1. hebel (vanity)—Pr. 1:2; 2:1; 4:4; 6:2, 11; 7:15; 8:14; 9:9 — “vapor” or “breath.” — 2. amal (Labor) —Pr. 1:3; 2:10, 21; 3:13; 4:8; 5:19; 6:7; 10:15— “toil,” or work for material gain (Ps. 127:1; Prov. 16:26).

21-BSG-1D: CHAPTER INTRODUCTION.

“Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world. And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever.” (1 John 2:15–17, NKJV)

The Testimony of an Unsatisfied Soul:

“Ecclesiastes 1. All is vanity! This cry finds an echo in human hearts of every age and clime. God meant man to be happy. “These things,” said our Lord, “I have spoken to you, that your joy may be full.” “The fruit of the Spirit is joy.” Yet the air is laden with complaint and bitterness. Men are asking constantly, “Is life worth living?” The present age is full of unrest and weariness, of war and strife, of unsatisfied yearnings and desires. The mistake is that men seek to solve the mystery of life and to find their happiness apart from God, who has made us for himself.

This book was written and incorporated in the Bible to show that man’s quest for happiness is vain, so long as it is apart from God. Solomon had unbounded opportunities for pursuing his quest. Youth, wealth, wisdom, royalty, human love were his, but when all were mixed in the golden cup of his life, he turned from the draught unsatisfied and sad. Listen to the sigh of the sated voluptuary: Vanity of vanities! Let us turn from these bitter experiences to 1 John 2:15–17.” [F. B. Meyer, Through the Bible Day by Day: A Devotional Commentary, (Philadelphia: American Sunday-School Union, 1914–1918), 3:199].

21-BSG-1E: TEACHING OUTLINE.

Verifying the Author (Eccl. 1:1)

  • His Pedagogy: Teacher/ “Preacher” (1:1a).
  • His Parent: David through Bathsheba (1:1b)
  • His Position: King in Jerusalem (1:1).

The Vanity of Life (Eccl. 1:3-4).

  • The Profit in Vanity: Is life worth living? (1:3).
  • The Passing in Vanity (1:4)

The Perpetuity in Vanity (Eccl. 1:5–7)

  • The Practice of the Sun (1:5).
  • The Path of the Wind (1:6).
  • The Pattern of the Rivers (1:7).

The Product of Vanity (Eccl. 1:8–11)

  • Nothing satisfies (1:8).
  • Nothing different (1:9-10).
  • Nothing remembered (1:11).

The Vexation of Spirit (Eccl. 1:12–18)

  • The Vexation in the Writer (1:12)
  • The Vexation in the Work (1:13)
  • The Vexation in the Witness (1:14)
  • The Vexation in the Wanting (1:15)
  • The Vexation in the Wisdom (1:16-17)
  • The Vexation in the Weeping (1:18)

21-BSG-1I: PARALLEL PASSAGES.

OLD TESTAMENT QUOTATIONS AND ALLUSIONS IN THE NEW TESTAMENT

Objective: To investigate Old Testament Quotations and Allusions in the New Testament and explore lessons, themes, devotional implication, or Biblical perspective for daily life.

Eccl 1:2// Rom 8:20.

“Vapor of vapors and futility of futilities, says the Preacher. Vapor of vapors and futility of futilities! All is vanity (emptiness, falsity, and vainglory).” (Ecclesiastes 1:2, AMP) “For the creation (nature) was subjected to frailty (to futility, condemned to frustration), not because of some intentional fault on its part, but by the will of Him who so subjected it—[yet] with the hope” (Romans 8:20, AMP)

  • Everything (that people do) is meaningless and worthless (Prov. 1:3); Everything (that people assert) rests on illusion or error (Prov. 1:10); Everything (generation/ people) is transitory (Prov. 1:4).

Ecclesiastes 1:3// Mark 8:35–36.

“What profit has a man from all his labor in which he toils under the sun?” (Ecclesiastes 1:3, NKJV) This is a worthy question. Jesus expressed a similar thought in Mark 8 — “For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel’s will save it. For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul?” (Mark 8:35–36, NKJV)

  • “The Christian life is a paradox: to attempt to save your life means only to lose it. The Greek word for “life” is psuche referring to the soul, the part of the person that includes the personality with all its dreams, hopes, and goals. A person who “saves” his or her life in order to satisfy desires and goals apart from God ultimately “loses” life. Not only does that person lose the eternal life offered only to those who believe and accept Christ as Savior, but he or she loses the fullness of life promised to those who believe.
  • By contrast, those who willingly “lose” their lives for the sake of Christ and of the gospel (that is, God’s kingdom) actually “save” them. To lose one’s life for Christ’s sake refers to a person refusing to renounce Christ, even if the punishment were death. To lose one’s life for the gospel’s sake implies that the person is on trial for preaching and circulating the Christian message.
  • To be willing to put personal desires and life itself into God’s hands means to understand that nothing that we can gain on our own in our earthly lives can compare to what we gain with Christ. Jesus wants us tochoose to follow him rather than to lead a life of sin and self-satisfaction. He wants us to stop trying to control our own destiny and to let him direct us. This makes good sense because, as the Creator, Christ knows better than we do what real life is about. He asks for submission, not self-hatred; he asks us only to lose our self-centered determination to be in charge.” [Bruce B. Barton, Mark, Life Application Bible Commentary, (Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, 1994), 240].

Gen 3:17–19// Gen 5:29// Eccl 1:2// Rom 8:20

“Then to Adam He said, “Because you have heeded the voice of your wife, and have eaten from the tree of which I commanded you, saying, ‘You shall not eat of it’: “Cursed is the ground for your sake; In toil you shall eat of it all the days of your life. Both thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you, And you shall eat the herb of the field. In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread, till you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; for dust you are, And to dust you shall return.” (Genesis 3:17–19, NKJV)

“And he called his name Noah, saying, “This one will comfort us concerning our work and the toil of our hands, because of the ground which the Lord has cursed.” (Genesis 5:29, NKJV)

  • “When Adam sinned, God decreed that all of creation would be subjected to frustration; that is, to futility, change, and decay. Creation is frustrated because it is unable to attain the purposes for which it was made. When Solomon was seeking for wisdom and meaning within the limits of the world, his conclusion was “Everything is meaningless” (Ecclesiastes 1:2 NIV). The word translated “meaningless” in the Greek Old Testament is the same word that Paul uses here for frustration. The original sense of perfect order in the world was marred by sin; therefore, fallen people had to live in a fallen world. This was not by its own choice because it was God’s doing and part of his plan of salvation.” [Bruce B. Barton, David Veerman, and Neil S. Wilson, Romans, Life Application Bible Commentary, (Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, 1992), 160].

Ecclesiastes 1:9-11// Luke 17:26-30

“That which has been is what will be, That which is done is what will be done, And there is nothing new under the sun. Is there anything of which it may be said, “See, this is new”? It has already been in ancient times before us. There is no remembrance of former things, Nor will there be any remembrance of things that are to come By those who will come after.” (Ecclesiastes 1:9–11, NKJV)

  • In Ecclesiastes 1:9–11 the Teacher gives another implication of the description of the world in vv. 3–8a:“What has been will be again.” Nothing is new, and nothing gains eternal fame. “This passage is not a contradiction to the gospel but a call for it. The world is in bondage; and humanity is unable to explain, find satisfaction in, or alter it. Only the Word, who came into the world from above, can open the way of understanding and escape (John 8:23, 31–32). He has done a new thing: he has created a new covenant, given the new birth, new life, and a new commandment (Jer 31:31–34). He gives a new name that will last forever. Everything else is old and passing away.” [Duane A. Garrett, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Songs, The New American Commentary, (Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1993), 14:288].

“And as it was in the days of Noah, so it will be also in the days of the Son of Man: They ate, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all. Likewise as it was also in the days of Lot: They ate, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they built; but on the day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven and destroyed them all. Even so will it be in the day when the Son of Man is revealed.” (Luke 17:26–30, NKJV)

  • “The people of Sodom, wicked as they were, went about their daily business. Then, the morning Lot left Sodom, the city was destroyed. The destruction came so suddenly that only Lot and his family escaped. Angels came and spared Lot and his family from the fire and burning sulfur.
  • In the time between Christ’s first and second comings, some may be lulled into complacency by the fact that life continues with its normal activities. Many today see life moving ahead with no interruptions. But Jesus made it clear that judgment would come, unexpectedly, without warning, in the middle of what would begin as a routine day.” [Bruce B. Barton, David Veerman, Linda Chaffee Taylor, and Grant R. Osborne, Luke, Life Application Bible Commentary, (Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, 1997), 405–406].

Eccl 1:11// 1 John 2:17

“There is no remembrance of former things, nor will there be any remembrance of later things yet to be among those who come after.” (Ecclesiastes 1:11, ESV) “And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.” (1 John 2:17, ESV)

  • In Loving Memory? (Eccl 1:11) “The world remembers notable people—but most of us will be soon forgotten. The Bible, however, gives a different picture—no one is forgotten. Every person, along with every remembered thought and deed, will one day stand before God (2 Tim. 4:1). Those who have entered into a living relationship with him through his Son, Jesus Christ, will know that their names are written in the book of life (Rev. 21:27), and engraved upon the palms of his hand (Isa. 49:16). Those who have rejected him will face his judgement in condemnation (Rom. 3:19)—but no one will be forgotten!” [Jim Winter, Opening up Ecclesiastes, Opening Up Commentary, (Leominster: Day One Publications, 2005), 21].

21-BSG-1J: QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS.

SEEING WHAT’S THERE.

[1] What is the general subject of Ecclesiastes? The philosophy of life. The book shows how a life not centered on God is purposeless and meaningless

[2] Who wrote the book of Ecclesiastes? (1:1) Solomon. “The writer says that he was “the son of David, king in Jerusalem” (1:1, 12, 16), words that have led many to assume that the writer was Solomon. Evidence in the book itself points to Solomon: (1) the author had “more wisdom than all who were before” him (1:16; see 1 Kin. 3:12); (2) he gathered for himself “silver and gold and the special treasures of kings” (2:8; see 1 Kin. 10:11–23); (3) he “acquired male and female servants” in great numbers (2:7; see 1 Kin. 9:20–23); (4) he engaged in extensive building projects (2:4–6; see 1 Kin. 9:1–19); (5) he developed a great understanding of plants, birds, and natural phenomena (2:4–7; see 1 Kin. 4:33); (6) he declared, “there is not a just man on earth who does good and does not sin” (7:20; see 1 Kin. 8:46); and (7) “he pondered and sought out and set in order many proverbs” (12:9; see 1 Kin. 4:32).” (NKJV Study Bible).

CAPTURE THE ESSENCE:

[3] What is the content of Ecclesiastes 1? The doctrine of the vanity of man, and the impossibility of finding satisfaction without God. Ecclesiastes is “an essay in apologetics — It defends the life of faith in a generous God by pointing to the grimness of the alternative.” (Eaton)

[4] Look for the word ‘vanity’ and note the way in which the Preacher uses it in his book.

  • The vanity of vanity.
  • Vanity in relation to time.
  • Vanity in relation to value.
  • Vanity in relation to eternity.
  • Absolute vanity.

[5] What did Solomon say that everything was? (1:2) All is vanity under the sun. “Vanity,” in Ecclesiastes, and usually in Scripture, means, not foolish pride, but the emptiness in final result of all life apart from God. It is to be born, to toil, to suffer, to experience some transitory joy, which is as nothing in view of eternity, to leave it all, and to die. See Rom. 8:20–22 [C. I. Scofield, Ed., The Scofield Reference Bible: The Holy Bible Containing the Old and New Testaments, (New York; London; Toronto; Melbourne; Bombay: Oxford University Press, 1917), 696].

[6] What is the meaning of the word ‘Ecclesiastes?’ The Preacher. Preacher (Heb. qoheleth) means “one who addresses an assembly” as Eccl. 12:9 reflects.

[7] Who was this Preacher? (1:1) He is identified as the son of King David. Solomon reigned as king over all Israel from the capital city of Jerusalem. He was the son of David through Bathsheba.

[8] In what city was the preacher (author of Ecclesiastes) king? (1:12) Jerusalem.

[9] What did he give his heart to learning? (1:17) Wisdom

[10] What five cycles are described? (3-10, 3:15)

  • One generation passes away, and another generation comes.
  • The sun also rises, and the sun goes down.
  • The wind goes toward the south, and turns about to the north. 
  • All the rivers run into the sea; yet the sea is not full.
  • The thing that has been, it is that which shall be

[11] What is not satisfied? (8) The Eye or Ear.

[12] Why does history repeat itself? (11) Because there is no remembrance of former things

[13] What did Solomon seek and search out? (13-17) Wisdom

[14] What does worldly wisdom and knowledge bring? (18) Grief

21-BSG-1K: DISCUSSION QUESTIONS.

TO THINK ABOUT AND DISCUSS:

  1. “Vanity of vanities.” Is life meaningless? (1:2) The Preacher begins his sermon with his first conclusion (though not his ultimate conclusion). Looking at life all around, he judges it to be vanity – nothing, useless, meaningless. Have you ever came to appoint in your life when everything was useless and meaningless? How did you go about that experience? How can you help someone who is going through tough times and they have totally lost Hope?
  • Life and Work under the sun. Is there really no point to life? (1:3) “What profit has a man from all his labor in which he toils under the sun?” (Ecclesiastes 1:3, NKJV)
  • “All things are full of labor; Man cannot express it. The eye is not satisfied with seeing, Nor the ear filled with hearing.” (Ecclesiastes 1:8, NKJV) Despite all man’s working (labor), seeing, and hearing, he is still not satisfied.Whay is that?
  • “That which has been is what will be, That which is done is what will be done, And there is nothing new under the sun.” (Ecclesiastes 1:9, NKJV) Despite all man’s work and progress, life seems monotonously the same.

FOR FURTHER STUDY:

  1. Is life meaningless? (1:2)
  2. Is there really no point to life? (1:6–8)
  3. Why did the Teacher say nothing is new? (1:9–10)
  4. Has God put a burden on us? (1:13–14)
  5. What does a chasing after the wind mean? (1:14, 17)
  6. What does it mean to say something is crooked and cannot be straightened? (1:15)
  7. Why does wisdom cause sorrow? (1:18)

FOR SELF-EXAMINATION:

  1. List your priorities. What are the things that take up most of your time? Which are the most valuable? Are you allocating the right amount of time to each one according to its value?
  • Solomon consider all things as abstract from God, and apart from Him, all worldly employments and enjoyments, are vanity of vanities! How does this reality help you to be humble and totally dependent on Jehovah? 

FOR LIFE TODAY:

How does the message of this chapter relate to us today? There may be nothing new under the sun (Ecclesiastes 1:9); but thankfully the followers of Jesus – those born again by God’s Spirit – don’t live under the sun in that sense. Their life is filled with new things. They have:

  • A new name (Isaiah 62:2, Revelation 2:17)
  • A new community (Ephesians 2:14)
  • A new help from angels (Psalm 91:11)
  • A new commandment (John 13:34)
  • A new covenant (Jeremiah 31:33, Matthew 26:28)
  • A new and living way to heaven (Hebrews 10:20)
  • A new purity (1 Corinthians 5:7)
  • A new nature (Ephesians 4:24)
  • A new creation in Jesus Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17)
  • All things become new! (2 Corinthians 5:17, Revelation 21:5)

“There is no remembrance of former things, Nor will there be any remembrance of things that are to come By those who will come after.” (Ecclesiastes 1:11, NKJV) The futility of life seems to extend in both directions, both into the past and into the future. Man works hard, yet it never seems to make a lasting difference and all is simply forgotten! “How many memorable matters were never recorded! How many ancient records long since perished!” (Trapp) This will be the case of things present and future, that they will be buried in oblivion, and lie unknown to posterity that shall come afterwards. Think of the great kings/ kingdoms in the Bible—Pharaoh, Belshazzar, etc. Their memory is no more. They are all gone! It’s history. Can you be humble?

PERSONAL IMPLICATIONS: What response do you think this chapter should inspires us to do? Take time to reflect on the implications of Ecclesiastes 1 for your own life today. Consider what you have learned that might lead you to praise God, repent of sin, and trust in His gracious promises. What can you share on the personal implications for your walk with the Lord? How can your experience help others as well?

21-BSG-1Y: NIGHT DEVOTION.

A Night Though corresponding with the today’s Bible Reading Plan: Ecclesiastes 1/ Topic: All is Vanity/ 21-BSG-1Y, (Ecclesiastes 1:2-3)/ Key Text: “Vanity of vanities,” says the Preacher; “Vanity of vanities, all is vanity.” What profit has a man from all his labor In which he toils under the sun?” (Ecclesiastes 1:2–3, NKJV)/ Hymn: ‘I’d rather have Jesus than silver or gold.’ [Author: Rhea F. Miller (1922)].

EXPLORATION: God shall bring every act into Judgment – (Eccl. 11:9; 12:14; Ps 96:13; Mt 10:15; 12:36; 25:31-46; Lk 12:1-2; Jn 5:29; Acts 17:30-31; Rom 2:12, 16; 14:10-12; 1 Cor. 4:5; 2 Cor. 5:10; Rev. 20:11-15).

REFLECTION: The Preacher (Solomon) declares that everything is meaningless. He begins reviewing his search for meaning, and his first conclusion is that all is vanity. His Mission: Solomon devoted himself to searching out the purpose of life (1:13). Because of his qualifications –his great wisdom and power– Solomon felt he possessed the necessary credentials to conduct this search (1:16). His Findings: A preliminary investigation quickly revealed some bitter truths about life — [a] Life is futile and meaningless: there is no real purpose (Eccl. 1:2–7, 14, 17); [b] History merely repeats itself: there is no new thing under the Sun (Eccl. 1:9–10); [c] What is wrong cannot be righted: there is no cure (Eccl. 1:15); [d] The dead are quickly forgotten: there is no lasting honor (Eccl. 1:11).

DEVOTIONAL IMPLICATION: Life has no meaning apart from the Lord Jesus Christ. Earthly knowledge and wisdom cannot lead us to satisfaction and ‘Rest,’ but only to discontent and increased labor. The book of Ecclesiastes concludes this way: “All has been heard; the end of the matter is: Fear God [revere and worship Him, knowing that He is] and keep His commandments, for this is the whole of man [the full, original purpose of his creation, the object of God’s providence, the root of character, the foundation of all happiness, the adjustment to all inharmonious circumstances and conditions under the sun] and the whole [duty] for every man.” (Ecclesiastes 12:13, AMP) What does it mean to fear God? It means to revere, worship, and serve the Lord—to turn from evil and turn in awe to the living God. This was the attitude of Abraham (Gen. 22:12), Job (Job 1:1, 8, 9; 2:3), and the Egyptian midwives (Ex. 1:17, 21). It does not involve dread, but instead a proper respect for and obedience to His Commandments (Rev. 14:6-7).

Why should we respect and obey God? Solomon eloquently answers this question for us in his concluding remarks: “For God will bring every act to judgment, everything which is hidden, whether it is good or evil.” (Ecclesiastes 12:14, NASB95) Beloved, God will judge everyone—both the righteous and the wicked. Life cannot be lived with abandon, as if God will not see or remember the deeds of the past. For on the final day, he will call forth all men and women to account for their actions.

Have A Good Night: “Rejoice, O young man, in your youth, And let your heart cheer you in the days of your youth; Walk in the ways of your heart, And in the sight of your eyes; But know that for all these God will bring you into judgment.” (Ecclesiastes 11:9, NKJV)

The Gospel’s Voice/ Bible Study Guide/ Ecclesiastes 1-12/ 21-BSG-1 (Ecclesiastes 1)