Introduction: This is a Book of man reasoning about life. It is the “best” man can do with the knowledge that there is a Holy God and that God will bring everything into judgment.

Solomon had turned away from God and had become apostate. I Kings 11:1-8, Solomon worshipped idols and lived an adulterous life.

Solomon wrote his Proverbs in the prime of his life when he was serving God. Here, he has grown old. He speaks feelingly and was, by the grace of God, recovered from his back sliding’s. In this Book, Solomon writes his experiences and the wisdom which the multitudes of years teaches.

Human writer: Solomon    Author: The Holy Spirit of God

The word “Ecclesiastes” means “The Preacher.”  The scope of this Book is to show that it is a great mistake to do what we want to do, rather than what God wills for our life. Solomon shows the vanity of those things in which mankind commonly looks for happiness and prescribes remedies.

We often find the word “”Vanity” in this Book. The root word for this in the Hebrew, it means: “to be vain; to lead astray.” Here, it refers, in Ecclesiastes, to “emptiness; something transitory and unsatisfactory.”  Human wisdom and earthly gain are really nothing in themselves.  In the flesh of man, they only lead to dissatisfaction and emptiness.

Brief outline of this Book

We will see the progression of how the “Preacher” sought for the chief good

  1. Solomon Tells How He Sought Chief Good By Personal Experiment – chaps. 1-2
  2. All is vanity: 1:2 – there are at least 10 vanities in Ecclesiastes
  3. 2:15-16: the vanity of human wisdom
  4. 2:19-21: the vanity of human labor
  5. 2:26: the vanity of human purpose
  6. 4:4: the vanity of human envy
  7. 4:7: the vanity of  human greed
  8. 4:16: the vanity of human fame
  9. 5:10: the vanity of earthly wealth
  10. 6:9: the vanity of human coveting
  11. 7:6 : the vanity of human frivolity
  12. 8:10 and 14: the vanity of human recognition
  13. Solomon sought good by natural wisdom: 1:12-18
  14. The search for man’s pleasure: 2:1-11
  15. it all turned out to be vexation of the spirit = “emptiness” to his soul: vs 11
  16. he did not profit from it: vs 11
  17. The question: 1:3; What is the profit of natural labors?
  18. he compares wisdom and folly: 2:12 – 23
  19. his conclusion: 2:24-26; Vs 24; “it was from the hand of God.”

Solomon’s Quest By Personal Observation Of The World And Of Human Affairs: chaps 3-5

  1. We live in a world of change: chap 3
  2. there are several events of time and conditions of life: 3:1-8
  3. they are all vastly different from each other and we continually pass and re-pass from one to another
  4. some of these changes are purely the act of God while others depend more on the will of man
  5. Human society is disfigured by injustices, inequalities, enigmas and superficial things                                    chap. 4:1,4,15,16: this is vanity
  6. Advice: chap. 5

Vs1-7: councils us to mainstream a sincere observance of religion

Vs 10-12: teaches us what NOT to focus on

III. The Quest By Personal Morality: Chapters 6-8

  1. Material things cannot satisfy the soul
  2. A man may have riches, wealth and honor, but he cannot enjoy it unless God permits him to  do so: 6:2
  3. more and more, the preacher is drawn to see the necessity of God: 7:13,14,18; 8:15-17

IV. His Quest Reviewed And Concluded: chaps 9-12

  1. Looking back over the way he has come, the preacher now says: 9:1
  2. He faces us with the facts: 9:2
  3. 9:3-12: he re-affirms that the true good is not to be found in pleasure or the absorption’s of this                 present life
  4. true good is not found in human wisdom: vs 13-18, even though wisdom is superior to folly
  5. True good is not found in expedient behavior; 10:1 because of the inevitable end; 11:8

Conclusion: What’s the answer? Could it be going with faith in God and life beyond? 11:9-10                                   and 12:1-7. In 11:8, he comes right back to where he was when he began. It’s the thought of that final judgment and that life beyond which gives the grand significance to life. He winds up, therefore, to his weighty, wise and inspired conclusion: 12:13-14

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