Ecc 1:4-3:22 - Life is Meaningless?

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Scofield suggested that the Qoheleth tried to prove from Ecclesiastes 3:4-3:22 his theme that everything is meaningless (3:1-3).

The Folly of Life: Nobody remembers what happened yesterday. And the things that will happen tomorrow? Nobody'll remember them either. Don't count on being remembered. (1:11, The Message)

The Folly of Wisdom: The greater my wisdom, the greater my grief. To increase knowledge only increases sorrow. (1:18, NLT)

The Folly of Pleasures: Then I took a good look at everything I'd done, looked at all the sweat and hard work. But when I looked, I saw nothing but smoke. Smoke and spitting into the wind. There was nothing to any of it. Nothing. (2:11, The Message)

The Folly of Living: The smart and the stupid both disappear out of sight. In a day or two they're both forgotten. Yes, both the smart and the stupid die, and that's it. (2:16, The Message)

The Folly of Work: So what do you get from a life of hard labor? Pain and grief from dawn to dusk. Never a decent night's rest. Nothing but smoke. (2:22-23, The Message)

The Folly of Everything: But in the end, does it really make a difference what anyone does? (3:9, The Message)

The Conclusion: I've also concluded that whatever God does, that's the way it's going to be, always. No addition, no subtraction. God's done it and that's it. That's so we'll quit asking questions and simply worship in holy fear. (3:14, The Message)

So, why worry?: So I saw that there is nothing better for a man than to enjoy his work, because that is his lot. For who can bring him to see what will happen after him? (3:22, NIV)

To me, this is a very good lesson. Life goes on but without God as the head of our lives, life is meaningless. What is there so meaningful to strive for? Nothing brings lasting contentment.

For life in general, the sun comes up and the sun goes down, whatever that has been said and done is forgotten. What about being wise and knowledgeable? The more we know, the more worried and stressed we become. How about filling our lives with things we like and doing things that we enjoy? The bliss is only but fleeting. After a purchase, the joy only last for awhile and we want something else. As for doing things we enjoy, we can’t be doing it all the time, now can we? So, why not spend our time and effort in our work? The accomplishments and rewards should bring us somewhere. But it is usually pain and grief from dawn to dusk, with never a decent night’s rest. So in the end, does it make a difference what we do? The Qoheleth concludes his first session of thoughts: God is eternal and whatever He does, it is going to be. So, stop worrying, stop asking questions and live in holy reverence to the Lord. Enjoy what we do as an act of worship to God.

And this brings us to what Jesus said:

Matthew 6:25 (ESV)
25 "Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?
26 Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?
27 And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?
28 And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin,
29 yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.
30 But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?
31 Therefore do not be anxious, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?'
32 For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all.
33 But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.
34 "Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.

So go! Enjoy your life, but with your eyes set on Christ.

Picture by Peder Fugl

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4 comment(s)

  1. Meaghan, it's funny. For the last 10 days, I have been considering the concept of vanity or futility described in Romans 8:20. Your last few studies have helped me immensely.

    God has used you many times as an answered prayer for clarification or focus in my studies of God's Word. I am very grateful to you both.

  2. Meaghan,

    I like how you contrasted Jesus' words with Ecclesiastes. Keep your eyes on the source and out of you will flow rivers of living water... John 7:38

    Blessings, Julia

  3. Missy, I am glad that what has been occupying my mind lately has at least been of help to you. Let us continually meditate on His word day and night and grow in our love for Him. God bless!

  4. Julia,
    Good choice of verse -- indeed, living water would flow when we keep our eyes on the Lord.