Ecclesiastes: Only in God do we find fulfillment

Ecclesiastes 4-6 | Solomon’s Dissatisfaction

Published on Sep 24, 2012

Calvary Chapel Spring Valley | Sunday Evening | September 23, 2012 | Pastor Derek Neider

___________________

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. Three thousand years ago, Solomon took a look at life “under the sun” in his book of Ecclesiastes. Christian scholar Ravi Zacharias has noted, “The key to understanding the Book of Ecclesiastes is the term ‘under the sun.’ What that literally means is you lock God out of a closed system, and you are left with only this world of time plus chance plus matter.”

Let me show you some inescapable conclusions if you choose to live without God in the picture. Solomon came to these same conclusions when he looked at life “under the sun.”

  1. Death is the great equalizer (Eccl 3:20, “All go to the same place; all come from dust, and to dust all return.”)
  2. Chance and time have determined the past, and they will determine the future.  (Ecclesiastes 9:11-13)
  3. Power reigns in this life, and the scales are not balanced(Eccl 4:1)
  4. Nothing in life gives true satisfaction without God including knowledge (1:16-18), ladies and liquor (2:1-3, 8, 10, 11), and great building projects (2:4-6, 18-20).

You can only find a lasting meaning to your life by looking above the sun and bring God back into the picture.

We, Icarus

rubensfall-of-icarus-1637-grangerI assigned Ecclesiastes 1 to my Christian Learning Center class for homework. We’re discussing the four fundamental questions that every worldview must answer (Origin, Meaning, Morality, Destiny – thank you, Ravi Zacharias), and I thought Ecclesiastes would be a great place for us to begin on the Meaning question. They read it, and as we discussed it this morning, one of my students pointed out the last verse:

For with wisdom is much sorrow;
as knowledge increases, grief increases.

The student pointed out that when we’re young, we get to see the world through a limited lens, and thus we’re shielded from some of the great tragedy this is human existence. To wit, she pointed out that when her grandmother died, she didn’t know enough about death to really be sad; so when her family made a trip up to Canada for the funeral, she was super excited about getting to travel and see her cousins. That sounds crude, but from a kid’s perspective, it makes perfect sense: when you don’t know what you don’t know, not knowing it doesn’t bother you.

But once you know…it changes everything.

I think Solomon’s point with the statement wasn’t so much an appeal to ignorance (which would’ve been ironic) but an understanding of the burden of knowledge. The more you know, the more you realize that knowledge alone doesn’t solve anything; it’s what you do with that knowledge that really matters. Knowledge = Responsibility. But in our modern world, we can see that even those actions aren’t enough – we know what causes many of our societies gravest ills, and yet we still fall into them time and time again. Education helps to a degree, but education isn’t enough. Behavioral modification works to a degree, but as anyone who’s studied the recidivism rates amongst addicts and certain classes of criminals can tell you, changing behavior isn’t always enough. Brilliant minds have suggested countless improvements to the human species, but the one thing they’ve never been able to change is the depravity of the human heart. Knowledge, action, human effort never has and never will release us from the sin that saturates our souls.

We’re sort of doomed to being Icarus.

That is, we would be if not for something else, something beyond knowledge to which we can appeal. Or, more accurately, to Whom we can appeal. Solomon knew this. Being the wisest man in the world does proffer some benefit. At the end of Ecclesiastes, after taking his reader on a walk through the sheer insufficiency of human effort to satisfy the human soul, Solomon comes back to the One that gives this life its meaning, the One through whom we “all live and move and have our being.”

In the end, Solomon says:

When all has been heard, my son, be warned: there is no end to the making of many books, and much study wearies the body. When all has been heard, the conclusion of the matter is: fear God and keep His commands, because this is for all humanity. For God will bring every act to judgment, including every hidden thing, whether good or evil.

We cannot save ourselves. Our brightest minds, our grandest notions, our best ideas are limited in their power to affect the change needed within the human heart. It’s why we see people running from one fad to the next, from one fix to the next – nothing we can do in and of ourselves will ever release us from our condition. And if anyone was in position to know the exhaustive nature of human gifts, it was Solomon. Having seen and thought and tasted it all, he came back to the truth of his childhood:

Sh’ma Yis’ra’eil Adonai Eloheinu Adonai echad.

Hear, Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is One. Only God gives this life meaning. Not money, not power, not sex, not success, not any of the numerous vanities that Solomon and our human race have tried and found wanting. Only in God, only in His Son, Jesus Christ, do we find the fulfillment of our hearts.

Related posts:

The Humanist takes on Solomon and the Book of Ecclesiastes

This from the American Humanist website: This week we’re pleased to publish a new poem “Ecclesiastes” by Frank S. Robinson. Frank S. Robinson is a retired New York State administrative law judge, a rare coin dealer, and author of five books, most recently The Case for Rational Optimism. He is married to the poet Therese […]

Avril Lavigne commits “the fool’s sin” in front of family crowd in Tampa (Avril and the Book of Ecclesiastes Part 1)

Tampa Bay Rays apologize for Avril Lavigne TMZ reported: According to local reports, Avril’s mic didn’t work at the start of her show … and she responded to the cavalcade of boos by yelling obscenities at crowd. Rays rep Rick Vaughn tells TMZ, “The Rays demand profanity-free performances from all of our concert performers and […]

Taking on Ark Times Bloggers on various issues Part U “Do men have a say in the abortion debate?” (includes the film SLAUGHTER OF THE INNOCENTS and editorial cartoon)

I have gone back and forth and back and forth with many liberals on the Arkansas Times Blog on many issues such as abortion, human rights, welfare, poverty, gun control  and issues dealing with popular culture. Here is another exchange I had with them a while back. My username at the Ark Times Blog is Saline […]

2008 article on Woody Allen on the meaning of life

I have spent alot of time talking about Woody Allen films on this blog and looking at his worldview. He has a hopeless, meaningless, nihilistic worldview that believes we are going to turn to dust and there is no afterlife. Even though he has this view he has taken the opportunity to look at the weaknesses of […]

If I see Chris Martin of Coldplay in person what would I say to him? (Part 3)

Chris Martin revealed in his interview with Howard Stern that he was rasied an evangelical Christian but he has left the church. I believe that many words that he puts in his songs today are generated from the deep seated Christian beliefs from his childhood that find their way out in his songs. His belief in […]

Part 4 Adrian Rogers on Proverbs “How To Be The Father Of A Wise Child” (video too)

Picture of Adrian Rogers above from 1970′s while pastor of Bellevue Baptist of Memphis, and president of Southern Baptist Convention. (Little known fact, Rogers was the starting quarterback his senior year of the Palm Beach High School football team that won the state title and a hero to a 7th grader at the same school named […]

If I see Chris Martin of Coldplay in person what would I say to him? (Part 2)

Chris Martin revealed in his interview with Howard Stern that he was rasied an evangelical Christian but he has left the church. I believe that many words that he puts in his songs today are generated from the deep seated Christian beliefs from his childhood that find their way out in his songs. His belief in […]

Taking on Ark Times Bloggers on various issues Part N “A discussion of the Woody Allen Movie CRIMES AND MISDEMEANORS”(includes film DEATH BY SOMEONE’S CHOICE)

I have gone back and forth and back and forth with many liberals on the Arkansas Times Blog on many issues such as abortion, human rights, welfare, poverty, gun control  and issues dealing with popular culture. Here is another exchange I had with them a while back. My username at the Ark Times Blog is Saline […]

Taking on Ark Times Bloggers on various issues Part L “On what basis do you say murder is wrong?”Part 2 (includes the film THE BASIS FOR HUMAN DIGNITY)

I have gone back and forth and back and forth with many liberals on the Arkansas Times Blog on many issues such as abortion, human rights, welfare, poverty, gun control  and issues dealing with popular culture. Here is another exchange I had with them a while back. My username at the Ark Times Blog is Saline […]

Taking on Ark Times Bloggers on various issues Part K “On what basis do you say murder is wrong?”Part 1 (includes film ABORTION OF THE HUMAN RACE)

I have gone back and forth and back and forth with many liberals on the Arkansas Times Blog on many issues such as abortion, human rights, welfare, poverty, gun control  and issues dealing with popular culture. Here is another exchange I had with them a while back. My username at the Ark Times Blog is Saline […]

“Woody Wednesday” Another look at Woody Allen’s movie Crimes and Misdemeanors

I have spent alot of time talking about Woody Allen films on this blog and looking at his worldview. He has a hopeless, meaningless, nihilistic worldview that believes we are going to turn to dust and there is no afterlife. Even though he has this view he has taken the opportunity to look at the weaknesses of […]

“Woody Wednesday” A 2010 review of Woody Allen’s Annie Hall

I have spent alot of time talking about Woody Allen films on this blog and looking at his worldview. He has a hopeless, meaningless, nihilistic worldview that believes we are going to turn to dust and there is no afterlife. Even though he has this view he has taken the opportunity to look at the weaknesses of […]

Robert Dick Wilson’s talk “Is the Higher Criticism Scholarly?” (part 6 of transcript)

The Bible and Archaeology (3/5) For many more archaeological evidences in support of the Bible, see Archaeology and the Bible . (There are some great posts on this too at the bottom of this post.) Robert Dick Wilson at the Grove City Bible Conference in 1909. IS THE HIGHER CRITICISM SCHOLARLY?Clearly attested facts showing that thedestructive […]

“Woody Wednesday” In 2009 interview Woody Allen talks about the lack of meaning of life and the allure of younger women

I have spent alot of time talking about Woody Allen films on this blog and looking at his worldview. He has a hopeless, meaningless, nihilistic worldview that believes we are going to turn to dust and there is no afterlife. Even though he has this view he has taken the opportunity to look at the weaknesses of […]

“Woody Wednesday” Woody Allen on the Emptiness of Life by Toby Simmons

I have spent alot of time talking about Woody Allen films on this blog and looking at his worldview. He has a hopeless, meaningless, nihilistic worldview that believes we are going to turn to dust and there is no afterlife. Even though he has this view he has taken the opportunity to look at the weaknesses of […]

12 Questions for Woody Allen (Woody Wednesday)

Above is a clip of 12 questions for Woody Allen. Below is a list of some of his movies. WOODY’S FINEST: Philip French’s favourite five Annie Hall (1977) In his first fully achieved masterwork, a semi-autobiographical comedy in which his ex-lover Diane Keaton and best friend Tony Roberts play versions of themselves, Allen created a […]

“Woody Wednesday” Allen on the meaning of life (part 2)

September 3, 2011 · 5:16 PM ↓ Jump to Comments Woody Allen on the Emptiness of Life In the final scene of Manhattan, Woody Allen’s character, Isaac, is lying on the sofa with a microphone and a tape-recorder, dictating to himself an idea for a short story. It will be about “people in Manhattan,” he says, […]

Video interviews of Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin (Part 4)

As far as I know they have never done an interview together. Therefore, I have included separate interviews that they have done below and I have some links to past posts I have done on them too. Shane Warne – Chris Martin Interview (Part 1) Uploaded by HandyAndy136 on Nov 24, 2010 Originally broadcast on […]

“Woody Wednesday” Allen realizes if God doesn’t exist then all is meaningless

The Bible and Archaeology (1/5) The Bible maintains several characteristics that prove it is from God. One of those is the fact that the Bible is accurate in every one of its details. The field of archaeology brings to light this amazing accuracy. _________________________- I want to make two points today. 1. There is no […]

Milton Friedman’s religious views

John Lofton noted: “DR. FRIEDMAN an evolutionist with ‘values’ of unknown origin but he said they were not ‘accidental.’ “   If anyone takes time to read my blog for any length of time they can not question my respect for the life long work of Milton Friedman. He has advanced the cause of freedom […]

Advertisements
Post a comment or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: