Eternal Vision Provides Meaning
The struggle for meaning is as old as humankind. Where meaning comes from in our lives, how our lives can have eternal meaning is what this Scripture is revealing. Eternal life gives us ‘Eternal Perspective’. This is where we discover meaning and purpose: in the person and work of Jesus The Christ.
15 I have seen everything in this meaningless life, including the death of good young people and the long life of wicked people. 16 So don’t be too good or too wise! Why destroy yourself? 17 On the other hand, don’t be too wicked either. Don’t be a fool! Why die before your time? 18 Pay attention to these instructions, for anyone who fears God will avoid both extremes.
- Extremes are meaningless to pursue or default to
- A wise & healthy life begins with the fear of God and is expressed in balance
19 One wise person is stronger than ten leading citizens of a town! 20 Not a single person on earth is always good and never sins. 21 Don’t eavesdrop on others—you may hear your servant curse you. 22 For you know how often you yourself have cursed others.
- Wisdom is better than position (Western Culture often values the opposite)
- Wisdom leads to a real assessment of yourself (Romans 12:3)
For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you.
- Don’t go in search of what you should not be exposed to
- Recognize the capacity of others to sin based on YOUR capacity to sin
23 I have always tried my best to let wisdom guide my thoughts and actions. I said to myself, “I am determined to be wise.” But it didn’t work. 24 Wisdom is always distant and difficult to find. 25 I searched everywhere, determined to find wisdom and to understand the reason for things. I was determined to prove to myself that wickedness is stupid and that foolishness is madness.
- You can’t make yourself wise, you can only cooperate with God doing it
- True wisdom, God’s wisdom, is totally beyond us. It is His alone to give
- Using our mental faculties to understand the mind of God will always fall short
- You get stuck in a humanist / temporal perspective
26 I discovered that a seductive woman is a trap more bitter than death. Her passion is a snare, and her soft hands are chains. Those who are pleasing to God will escape her, but sinners will be caught in her snare.
- The ‘Seductive Woman’ is often used as a metaphor for passions of the flesh
- Illegitimate pleasures are traps, snatching us away from God’s will & fellowship
- Not desiring to please God, doing ‘what we know to be sin’… it enslaves us!
- ‘Sinners’ = Ongoing Unrepentant Rebellion (Living only for this life)
27 “This is my conclusion,” says the Teacher. “I discovered this after looking at the matter from every possible angle. 28 Though I have searched repeatedly, I have not found what I was looking for. Only one out of a thousand men is virtuous, but not one woman! 29 But I did find this: God created people to be virtuous, but they have each turned to follow their own downward path.”
- ‘The Qoheleth’ concludes, from HIS observations: Serious lack of virtue!
- Men only .1% better than women (one in a thousand vs zero in a thousand)
- The search for virtue in fallen mankind is like chasing the wind… Hevel
- We are made in HIS image but sin; ‘Unrepentant Rebellion’ destroys our virtue
- This is all meaningless with solely temporal perspective,
How wonderful to be wise, to analyze and interpret things. Wisdom lights up a person’s face, softening its harshness.
- When we can interpret life from God’s / Eternal point of view it limits frustration
- Eternal perspective gives joy & contentment; relieves stress, confusion & anger
2 Obey the king since you vowed to God that you would. 3 Don’t try to avoid doing your duty, and don’t stand with those who plot evil, for the king can do whatever he wants. 4 His command is backed by great power. No one can resist or question it. 5 Those who obey him will not be punished.
- Obedience to the authority God has placed us under is the ultimate expression of Wisdom (Eternal Perspective)
- God’s sovereignty is enacted though earthly authorities: God’s power thru them
- Obedience to who you are placed under is obedience to God
- The promise of obedience
- Every knee will eventually bow… all will be made to obey, we get to choose to!!
Those who are wise will find a time and a way to do what is right, 6 for there is a time and a way for everything, even when a person is in trouble. 7 Indeed, how can people avoid what they don’t know is going to happen? 8 None of us can hold back our spirit from departing. None of us has the power to prevent the day of our death. There is no escaping that obligation, that dark battle. And in the face of death, wickedness will certainly not rescue the wicked.
- Prioritizing what God prioritizes no matter the circumstances
- Today is the time to obey…you don’t know what is going to happen tomorrow
- We have no control over our mortality, this life is finite
- It is scary business, totally unavoidable
ways of manipulating circumstances in life are of no help
- It is implied that SOMETHING (SomeONE) can rescue…just not wickedness
9 I have thought deeply about all that goes on here under the sun, where people have the power to hurt each other. 10 I have seen wicked people buried with honor. Yet they were the very ones who frequented the Temple and are now praised in the same city where they committed their crimes! This, too, is meaningless.
- Hurting others while exerting power over them = Oppression
- Being powerful enough to control public image of you
- Powerful enough to fabricate a religious persona when you are a criminal
- The injustice is depressing you have nothing but a temporal perspective
11 When a crime is not punished quickly, people feel it is safe to do wrong. 12 But even though a person sins a hundred times and still lives a long time, I know that those who fear God will be better off. 13 The wicked will not prosper, for they do not fear God. Their days will never grow long like the evening shadows.
- The rule of law, applied equally as humanly possible, is important to humanity
- A wicked 70, 80 years VS ETERNITY with God in Perfection & Glory?
- What is forming your days? Here and now or Eternity?
- He is not speaking of earthy prosperity but rather eternal prosperity (Heaven)
14 And this is not all that is meaningless in our world. In this life, good people are often treated as though they were wicked, and wicked people are often treated as though they were good. This is so meaningless!
- More meaninglessness, really?
- ‘In this life’ There is not perfect justice…not possible in our fallen world
- People can be misjudged & people can misjudge…
15 So I recommend having fun, because there is nothing better for people in this world than to eat, drink, and enjoy life. That way they will experience some happiness along with all the hard work God gives them under the sun.
- ‘Under The Sun’ …If all you care about is THIS life under the sun…
- Unless you find some other purpose to live this life for: ‘Party Up!’
- Your meaningless enjoyment will be your ‘some happiness’
16 In my search for wisdom and in my observation of people’s burdens here on earth, I discovered that there is ceaseless activity, day and night. 17 I realized that no one can discover everything God is doing under the sun. Not even the wisest people discover everything, no matter what they claim.
- Activity to relieve burden doesn’t work, ‘No rest for the wicked’
- It is not about ‘figuring out’ God,
- It’s about surrendering you life to Christ and the Gospel
- The are things beyond our discovery
What are habits / lifestyle choices that help you have more eternal perspective?
How can you get others to participate in your self-evaluation?
What authority Structures have you been placed under? How is your obedience?
Who do you know that has obvious meaning and purpose in their life? Why?