Where the world comes to study the Bible

General

Ecclesiastes (See Vanity, Folly)

Where is Meaning'

1. Not in Wisdom

2. Not in Withdrawal

3. Not in Weeping

4. Not in Wine

5. Not in Wind

6. Not in Works

7. Not in Words

8. Not in Worship without Obedience

9. Not in Wickedness

10. Not in Weapons of War

11. Not in Writing

12. But Walk Uprightly

Conclusion:

1. Fear God

2. Keep His Commandments

Source unknown

Outline

  • 1:1-6:9 Can’t change the past.
  • 6:10-11 Don’t know the future.
  • Therefore, enjoy life one day at a time.

Dallas Cowboy

Duane Thomas played football for the Dallas Cowboys, and went to the Super Bowl in 1972 with them. After they won, he was asked by a reporter, “How does it feel to win the big one?” “If it’s such a big game, why do they play another again next year?”

Vanity of the World

God gives His mercies to be spent;
Your hoard will do your soul no good;
Gold is a blessing only lent,
Repaid by giving others food.

The world’s esteem is but a bribe,
To buy their peace you sell your own;
The slave of a vainglorious tribe,
Who hate you while they make you known.

The joy that vain amusements give,
Oh! sad conclusion that it brings!
The honey of a crowded hive,
Defended by a thousand stings.

‘Tis thus the world rewards the fools
That live upon her treacherous smiles:
She leads them blindfold by her rules,
And ruins all whom she beguiles.

God knows the thousands who go down
From pleasure into endless woe;
And with a long despairing groan
Blaspheme their Maker as they go.

Oh fearful thought! be timely wise;
Delight but in a Saviour’s charms,
And God shall take you to the skies,
Embraced in everlasting arms.

Olney Hymns, William Cowper, from Cowper’s Poems, Sheldon & Company, New York

The Athiest

Bertrand Russell was born into a Christian home and taught to believe in God, but he rejected his training and became an outspoken atheist. His daughter, Katherine Tait, said of him, “Somewhere at the bottom of his heart, in the depths of his soul, there was an empty space that once had been filled by God, and he never found anything else to put in it.”

Source unknown

John Adam’s Family

Even that first famous Adams generation (children of 2nd president John Adams, 1735-1826) had more than its share of black sheep. John and Abigail’s eldest child, Abigail, married a wastrel and at her death left her children to their care. Son Charles married the sister of his spendthrift brother-in-law, dissipated family funds, died of alcoholism and left his widow to the care of his parents. Son Thomas Boylston also became an alcoholic, again bequeathing his children to the care of the family. Though John Quincy (1767-1848) turned out well, he and his unhappy wife Louisa hardly went unscathed. Their first son was an alcoholic and committed suicide at the age of 31. Their next son was expelled from college, failed in business and died of an alcohol-related illness. Only their youngest son, Charles Francis (1807-86), reacted against the family pattern by his exemplary sobriety, his prudence in business and fervent dedication to his wife and children. He spent years writing the biography and editing the words of his grandfather John Adams.

But he concluded, “The history of my family is not a pleasant one to remember. It is one of great triumphs in the world but of deep groans within, one of extraordinary brilliancy and deep corroding mortification.”

Charles Francis Adams, grandson of 2nd President John Adams, son of 6th president John Quincy Adams, in U.S. News and World Report, Dec. 12, 1988

The Happiest People on Earth

An English newspaper asked its readers this question: “Who are the happiest people on earth?” These were the four prize-winning answers:

  • A craftsman or artist whistling over a job well done.
  • A little child building sand castles.
  • A mother, after a busy day, bathing her baby.
  • A doctor who has finished a difficult and dangerous operation and saved a human life.

No millionaires among these, one notices. No kings, queens, or tycoons. Wealth and position, no matter how the world strives for them, are not the things most people—in their wisdom, we might add—consider the essential quality of happiness.

Bits and Pieces, August, 1989

Ecclesiastes (Futility)

Resource

  • Our Savior God, J. M. Boice, p. 734

Ecclesiastes (Vanity of Conquest, Vanity of Life)

Temporary Success

Temporary success may often crown the efforts of the godless, but even their greatest achievements cannot bring complete satisfaction. That was Solomon’s theme when he said, “...the expectation of the wicked shall perish.” If unrepentant sinners should view their most brilliant accomplishments in the light of eternity, they would find them to be as lasting and as valuable as bursting bubbles.

The 119th-century Bible scholar G. S. Bowes pointed out the ultimate futility of ambition that isn’t accompanied by dedication to God. Citing four powerful world rulers of the past, he wrote: “Alexander the Great was not satisfied, even when he had completely subdued the nations. He wept because there were no more worlds to conquer, and he died at an early age in a state of debauchery. Hannibal, who filled three bushels with the gold rings taken from the knights he had slaughtered, committed suicide by swallowing poison. Few noted his passing, and he left this earth completely unmourned. Julius Caesar, ‘staining his garments in the blood of one million of his foes,’ conquered 800 cities, only to be stabbed by his best friends at the scene of his greatest triumph. Napoleon, the feared conqueror, after being the scourge of Europe, spent his last years, in banishment.” No wonder Solomon warned of the poor prospects for anyone who strives to succeed without relying on God. - H.G.B.

Our Daily Bread, January 31

Resource

  • Loving God, inside front cover - Shirley McClaine, B. Pascal

World’s Largest Castle

A town in Florida wanted to increase tourism—spent $80,000 for two men and many volunteers to build the world’s largest sand castle. Hundreds of hours of labor, dump trucks full of sand, bulldozers, and finally all was destroyed: 1985.