What is NOT Good for Us?
26 April 2020 AM – Ecclesiastes 6 – Ecc20 – Scott Childs
Welcome: Welcome to our Sunday morning online church service.
Introduction: Children often lack the wisdom to discern what is good for them. Given the choice, they will choose to eat sweets rather than veggies, to stay ignorant rather than go to school, to play rather than to work, and to be selfish rather than to share. Unfortunately, many adults are just big kids. They too lack the wisdom to know what is good for them in life. This problem has existed since the day Adam and Eve fell into sin. Ecclesiastes 6:12 puts it this way (read).
Transition: In this chapter, Solomon identifies four disappointing situations that are not good for us.
The first disappointing situation …
1. It is not good to be rich if you cannot enjoy it (v.1-2)
a. Solomon calls this situation evil (v.1).
1) It is an evil in life under the sun (i.e., on earth).
2) It is an evil that is common among men.
b. The rich man cannot enjoy his riches (v.2).
1) God has given him riches, wealth and honour.
2) Being rich, he lacks nothing for which his soul desires.
3) From a human perspective, this man has it made in the shade. He has it all.
4) However, from God’s perspective, he is missing the key ingredient – God’s gift of enjoyment. God has not given him the power to eat (i.e., enjoy) what he has accumulated. Instead, he may lose it or leave it behind in death and a stranger will eat (i.e., enjoys) all that he has gathered.
5) Thus, he has it all, yet he is miserable. His prosperity is very disappointing.
6) It sounds like the problem of our modern world. One commentator pointed out that people say, “‘I’m bored.’ He has computer, a room full of video games, TV, and Internet. But he doesn’t have anything to do. Boredom has been called a major spiritual problem, one that is particularly characteristic of our time. Boredom is often the motivation for adultery and divorce, abuse of alcohol or drugs, and even suicide. When pleasure becomes one’s top priority, the result, ironically, is boredom”. (Dunagan, edited)
7) If you are not enjoying all that God has given you, be content and beg God to give you the gift of enjoyment.
The second disappointing situation …
2. It is not good to have many children and a long life if you have no happiness and love (v.3-5)
a. A large family and long life should be good.
1) Solomon depicts a man who has a hundred children (hyperbole). God tells us in (Psalms 127:3-5) “Lo, children are an heritage of the LORD: and the fruit of the womb is his reward. As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are children of the youth. Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them: they shall not be ashamed, but they shall speak with the enemies in the gate.”
2) Solomon depicts a man who lives many years, to a good old age. Long life is also held in great honour.
b. These are vanity without happiness and love.
1) The blessings of family and long life are worthless if your soul is not filled with good. To be filled with good implies happiness or fulfilment in life. No one wants to go through life unhappy, unfulfilled and miserable.
2) Another lack that makes life empty is to have no burial. The idea here is not so much about where his body will lay to rest. It is about being buried with no honour and respect because no one in his big family loved him.
a) “To be deprived of burial was considered by the Jews one of the greatest dishonors that could be inflicted on a human being” (Manners and Customs, Freeman, p. 227)
b) When wicked Queen Jezebel was eaten by dogs that was a great dishonour.
c) Note how Goliath mocked David, (1 Samuel 17:44) “And the Philistine said to David, Come to me, and I will give thy flesh unto the fowls of the air, and to the beasts of the field.”
3) Solomon concludes that an untimely birth (i.e., a miscarriage) would be better. The babe was unknown. He never saw the sun. He has more rest than the unloved old man.
The third disappointing situation …
3. It is not good to live a long life if you never find good that fulfils (v.6-8)
a. Most everyone desires a long life
1) Here is God’s prescription for a long live. (Exodus 20:12) “Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee.”
2) Solomon illustrates with a man who lived for 2,000 years (hyperbole). That is more than twice the length of any life recorded in the Bible. That is a long life!
b. A long miserable life is useless.
1) In all the years of this ancient old man, he never saw good. He was unable to discover what is good for man in this life. He was unhappy, miserable, and unfulfilled.
2) Here is a man who labours for hundreds of years to satisfy the hunger of his soul, and yet he never got full (v.7). Why? One man answered it this way, “The moment I start worshipping anything other than God, I have just forfeited contentment and happiness.”
3) A longer life is not the solution to finding the key to fulfilment in life. Time is not a magic key. No amount of time will enable those who leave God out of their lives to find true fulfilment.
The fourth disappointing situation …
4. It is not good to chase dreams that never come true (v.9-11)
a. Life is full of dreamers
1) There is nothing wrong with being a dreamer. Inventers are dreamers. Finding a better way to do things is very rewarding.
2) However, if your desires or dreams wander here and there looking for a way to find fulfilment in life without including God, you will never see your dreams come true. Such hopes are vanity (v.9).
3) God created man for His pleasure. (Revelation 4:11) “Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.” Therefore, we can only be happy when we submit to Him.
b. Dreamers cannot change God’s rules.
1) From the beginning of creation, men have tried to change God’s rules, yet none has succeeded. God is mightier than them all (v.10).
2) Solomon has identified many of man’s efforts (e.g. earthly wisdom, knowledge, wealth, riches, pleasures, power) that all end in vanity. Not one of these is able to make man the better.
3) Those who refuse to live life God’s way never find true fulfilment in life. God’s way to live is to be content and to praise Him for the portion He has given you. (1 Timothy 6:6-8) “But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and raiment let us be therewith content.”
Conclusion: We began with verse 12 and we will end with the same verse (read). The answer to both those questions is “only God knows”. Only God knows what is good for you and only God knows what your future holds. Read again the main points.
Are you living God’s way? Are you content with what He has given you? Are you seeking His gift of enjoyment? Are you submitting to God’s will for your life rather than chasing after dreams? If you are a Christian, God wants you to live life according to Romans 12:1-2. “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”
If you are not sure you are a Christian, please contact me and let me show you how you can become one.