Solomon was right in his cynicism–unless……unless there is a God who created us and cares about us

Ecclesiastes 8-10 | Still Searching After All These Years

Published on Oct 9, 2012

Calvary Chapel Spring Valley | Sunday Evening | October 7, 2012 | Pastor Derek Neider

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Ecclesiastes 11-12 | Solomon Finds His Way

Published on Oct 30, 2012

Calvary Chapel Spring Valley | Sunday Evening | October 28, 2012 | Pastor Derek Neider

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I have written on the Book of Ecclesiastes and the subject of the meaning of our lives on several occasions on this blog. In this series on Ecclesiastes I hope to show how secular humanist man can not hope to find a lasting meaning to his life in a closed system without bringing God back into the picture. This is the same exact case with Solomon in the Book of Ecclesiastes.

Why Faith Really Matters (Ecclesiastes 1-4)

Imagine a tightrope walker about to take the first precarious step across a thin wire suspended between two skyscrapers.  But just as he’s about to begin an assistant cautions, “I think you’d better wait.  We haven’t yet secured the cable at the other end……… and we really need to double-check the security lock at this end too……… but you can go ahead if you want – enjoy yourself!”

No entertainer, no matter how skilled, would be foolish enough to take even one step on that tentative wire.  Yet that’s a picture of what’s being asked of the youth of America today.  They’re consistently taught in educational institutions, “We don’t know what happens to you when you die and we’re not certain where you came from…. but make the most of your life!”   With no certainty about their destiny and no meaningful sense of identity is it any wonder that many are indifferent or cynical about life?  Any wonder why there’s an increase in teen smoking, body piercing, drug abuse, school violence, sexual promiscuity, and tragic suicides?  If we’re just evolutionary accidents who are here for a few brief years and then it’s over we might as well just cash in on the moment.  “Whatever!”

That was King Solomon’s conclusion when he wrote the book of Ecclesiastes hundreds of years ago.  He examined life from the humanistic perspective and it all seemed meaningless to him – as futile as chasing the wind.  We live a few years, work hard to achieve, enjoy some pleasure and then we vanish – so what’s the use?

Several factors made Solomon cynical about life: the failure of any one man to make a lasting impression (1:11), the injustice of the oppressed, (3:16 & 4:1-3), and the inner discontentment with life as it is (4:7-8).  But the primary source of Solomon’s despair was the certainty of death. “Like the fool, the wise man too must die!  So I hated life, because the work that is done under the sun was grievous to me. All of it is meaningless, a chasing after the wind.  I hated all the things I had toiled for under the sun, because I must leave them to the one who comes after me.” (2:16- 18)

“As one dies, so dies the other. All have the same breath; man has no advantage over the animal. Everything is meaningless.  All go to the same place; all come from dust, and to dust all return.  Who knows if the spirit of man rises upward and if the spirit of the animal goes down into the earth?” (3:19 – 21)

Let’s be honest, Solomon was right in his cynicism–unless……unless there is a God who created us and cares about us….unless the spirit of man does rise upward and there is life after death….unless there is a judgment day when all things will be made right.  Wow! Does that possibility ever change things!

Do you see how important a spiritual belief system is? Faith is not just something for superstitious, religious people who, “need that sort of thing”  Faith is a huge issue for everyone.  If the Biblical account about God and eternity is true then every day has significance.  If it’s not, life is totally meaningless and we all might as well stand in line for the high windows and get it over with because, “God has set eternity in the hearts of men”. (3:11)

Just as a goldfish in a small bowl keeps bumping up against the glass instinctively longing for a wider body of water, so the human heart craves something beyond this life.  There is an undeniable, inner longing to live beyond the grave and until that need is satisfied the soul is discontented and troubled.  But when that desire is confidently fulfilled there is an inner peace that passes understanding.  There’s a familiar saying that wraps up the theme of Ecclesiastes, ‘Life without God is a hopeless end; but with God it’s an endless hope”.  That’s a BIG difference!

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