Bible Pathway - July 28, 2011

 

Read Ecclesiastes 1

Highlights:

Today we consider the things in life that do not satisfy. Key words are man, labour, and vanity. We see the theme that, apart from God, all is vanity (Eccl. 1:2); seeking after satisfaction in building things, indulging in pleasures, or gaining material riches, but none of these satisfies the human spirit. Sounds pretty hopeless, but read on; there is a wonderful answer!

Solomon's adventure in search of satisfaction apart from God ended in moral and spiritual disaster. Materially speaking, he boasted: So I was great, and increased more than all that were before me (Eccl. 2:9). But he also had to confess: Vanity of vanities, saith the Preacher (referring to himself) . . . all is vanity. What profit hath a man of all his labour which he taketh under the sun (1:2-3)? The wisest man on earth tried to substitute man's limited knowledge for the limitless wisdom of God in order to gain satisfaction. Although Solomon was successful in many things, he missed God's best for himself, as well as for his kingdom, because of his emphasis on pleasing self.

Solomon assumed that his vast material wealth was great, not realizing that spiritually he was a beggar. Worldly greatness is deceptive in that men imagine that they will eventually reach satisfaction. But their empty souls always desire more.

The pleasure-seeking Solomon began life with high hopes: I the Preacher was king over Israel in Jerusalem. And I gave my heart to seek and search out by wisdom concerning all things that are done under heaven. . . . I . . . have gotten more wisdom than all they that have been before me. . . . in much wisdom is much grief (1:12-13,16,18). I said in mine heart . . . I will prove thee with mirth, therefore enjoy pleasure . . . laughter. . . . wine. . . . great works . . . And whatsoever mine eyes desired. . . . behold, all was vanity and vexation of spirit (2:1-11). Life's fair promise became a dismal delusion. Nothing satisfied Solomon and eventually he said: Therefore I hated life . . . for all is vanity and vexation of spirit (2:17). As king of a great nation, he had anticipated unlimited delights. Solomon is a witness to the fact that no one can be satisfied with mere worldly pleasure and attainments. Those things can never fill the void in our hearts that is reserved for the One Person to whom we owe our supreme devotion — the Lord Jesus Christ.

We were not created to become satisfied with "things" but to become the person He desires us to be and to accomplish His purpose for our lives. This is not merely a "decision" we make in a moment but one that determines a lifetime and eternity. Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. . . . the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever (I John 2:15,17).

Thought for Today:

Labour not to be rich: cease from thine own wisdom. . . . for riches . . . fly away. . . . Apply thine heart unto instruction, and thine ears to the words of knowledge (Prov. 23:4-5,12).

Christ Revealed:

As God, the true Source of wisdom, and knowledge, and joy — the One who truly satisfies (Eccl. 2:26). We have the mind of Christ which is wisdom, knowledge, and joy (I Cor. 2:16; see also Luke 21:15; John 15:11; Rom. 15:14).

Word Studies:

1:13 sore travail, grievous task; 1:17 madness and folly, the ways of the foolish; vexation of spirit, very unsatisfying; grasping after the wind; 2:21 in equity, with skill; portion, inheritance.

Prayer Needs:

Pray for Country: Russia (146.5 million) northeastern Europe and northern Asia • Major language: Russian • Religious freedom • 55% Russian Orthodox; 9% Muslim; 1% Protestant (Baptist, Pentecostal); .8% Shamanist/Animist; .6% Buddhist; .5% Roman Catholic; .5% New Religions (e.g., Hare Krishna); .4% Jewish; .1% Old Believers; 32.1% Agnostics/Atheists/Others • Prayer Suggestion: Let your faith in the Word of God overrule all fears (Ps. 18:30).

Optional Reading:

Hebrews 5

Memory Verse for the Week:

Psalms 34:4
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