Ecclesiastes 1:1—6:12(two days for the price of one because I did not get ‘er done yesterday)
New month and new book! We started Ecclesiastes yesterday. This book is going to prove to us how meaningless human effort is. It was written by king Solomon; I am thinking toward the end of his life?
Picture this: The setting is ancient Israel. The wisest man on earth and king of Israel calls all the leaders of the surrounding nations around, and the people of his country. The invitation says, “The wisest man on earth is going to bestow great wisdom on you in a one-day intensive workshop and will answer all your questions about life on earth and how to be happy.” You are STOKED! You have heard great things about this wise king. You make sure you hit the nail salon, hair salon, lash salon and fancy kaftan boutique so you are looking on point. You have your household packed up with all the fanfare and opulence a woman of your stature demands, and you set off to find out what the secret of a happy life is.
You have made it to the great hall where the Teacher is going to address everyone. You are so excited. You are imagining what the secret is. Is it money? Is it rank? Is it work? You have all those things and are excited to know which one it is so you can really throw your effort into that aspect of life and be happy finally!
Here he is! He is walking up to the platform. Your heart is racing. You are finally going to be happy! You are finally going to know what this life is all for! You can hear a pin drop in the room, and you know everyone is waiting for this secret just like you are. The anticipation is palpable…….
And at last he opens his mouth and says, “Everything is meaningless, completely meaningless!” Everyone gasps and is asking what he said. In your mind you think, “He did not just say that, I did not come all this way for that.” Disappointment sets in as you realize you have hung so many hopes on what you were going to find out from this teacher. You are kind of dazed as he goes on.
Have you ever been in a situation like this? Have you put your hope in something or someone and just knew that this time, this time, it was the thing that would fix your discontentment? Well guess what? Solomon has been there too. In the unfolding of the next chapters he is going to reveal to us the proof behind his thesis. He is the wisest man on earth so we should listen.
His thesis is: 1: 3—What do people get for all their hard work under the sun? He asked himself this question and then he set out to answer it. Ecclesiastes is his report on human work under the sun. As you read this walk through it in real time with him as he placed hope on human effort again and again only to be disappointed. And because I don’t like to sit too long in disappointment, I will tell you that in the end, he will tell us where to hang our hope and not be disappointed.
2 Corinthians 6: 14—7:7
Do you remember how God told the Israelites to separate themselves from the surrounding nations because their idol worship would suck them in to sin? Paul is telling us believers basically the same thing here. He is telling the church that they have to separate themselves from these false teachers who are unbelievers. He is telling them to stop dabbling in all this extraneous stuff and stick to the things the apostles are telling them.
And then I love how Paul pours out his heart to them and says, “Please open your hearts to us.” His desire to have them live holy lives is so they can enjoy the presence of God unhindered by idol worship. And yes, idol worship is just as present now as it was in Paul’s day. We have to stick to the Word of God.