July 24, 2007
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Following Scripture Verses
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- The words of the Preacher, the son of David, king in Jerusalem.
- Vanity of vanities, saith the Preacher, vanity of vanities; all is vanity.
- What profit hath a man of all his labour which he taketh under the sun?
- One generation passeth away, and another generation cometh: but the earth abideth for ever.
- The sun also ariseth, and the sun goeth down, and hasteth to his place where he arose.
- The wind goeth toward the south, and turneth about unto the north; it whirleth about continually, and the wind returneth again according to his circuits.
- All the rivers run into the sea; yet the sea is not full; unto the place from whence the rivers come, thither they return again.
- All things are full of labour; man cannot utter it: the eye is not satisfied with seeing, nor the ear filled with hearing.
- The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun.
- Is there any thing whereof it may be said, See, this is new? it hath been already of old time, which was before us.
- There is no remembrance of former things; neither shall there be any remembrance of things that are to come with those that shall come after.
- 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: this sore travail hath God given to the sons of man to be exercised therewith.
- I have seen all the works that are done under the sun; and, behold, all is vanity and vexation of spirit.
- That which is crooked cannot be made straight: and that which is wanting cannot be numbered.
- I communed with mine own heart, saying, Lo, I am come to great estate, and have gotten more wisdom than all they that have been before me in Jerusalem: yea, my heart had great experience of wisdom and knowledge.
- And I gave my heart to know wisdom, and to know madness and folly: I perceived that this also is vexation of spirit.
- For in much wisdom is much grief: and he that increaseth knowledge increaseth sorrow.
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- I said in mine heart, Go to now, I will prove thee with mirth, therefore enjoy pleasure: and, behold, this also is vanity.
- I said of laughter, It is mad: and of mirth, What doeth it?
- I sought in mine heart to give myself unto wine, yet acquainting mine heart with wisdom; and to lay hold on folly, till I might see what was that good for the sons of men, which they should do under the heaven all the days of their life.
- I made me great works; I builded me houses; I planted me vineyards:
- I made me gardens and orchards, and I planted trees in them of all kind of fruits:
- I made me pools of water, to water therewith the wood that bringeth forth trees:
- I got me servants and maidens, and had servants born in my house; also I had great possessions of great and small cattle above all that were in Jerusalem before me:
- I gathered me also silver and gold, and the peculiar treasure of kings and of the provinces: I gat me men singers and women singers, and the delights of the sons of men, as musical instruments, and that of all sorts.
- So I was great, and increased more than all that were before me in Jerusalem: also my wisdom remained with me.
- And whatsoever mine eyes desired I kept not from them, I withheld not my heart from any joy; for my heart rejoiced in all my labour: and this was my portion of all my labour.
- Then I looked on all the works that my hands had wrought, and on the labour that I had laboured to do: and, behold, all was vanity and vexation of spirit, and there was no profit under the sun.
- And I turned myself to behold wisdom, and madness, and folly: for what can the man do that cometh after the king? even that which hath been already done.
- Then I saw that wisdom excelleth folly, as far as light excelleth darkness.
- The wise man's eyes are in his head; but the fool walketh in darkness: and I myself perceived also that one event happeneth to them all.
- Then said I in my heart, As it happeneth to the fool, so it happeneth even to me; and why was I then more wise? Then I said in my heart, that this also is vanity.
- For there is no remembrance of the wise more than of the fool for ever; seeing that which now is in the days to come shall all be forgotten. And how dieth the wise man? as the fool.
- Therefore I hated life; because the work that is wrought under the sun is grievous unto me: for all is vanity and vexation of spirit.
- Yea, I hated all my labour which I had taken under the sun: because I should leave it unto the man that shall be after me.
- And who knoweth whether he shall be a wise man or a fool? yet shall he have rule over all my labour wherein I have laboured, and wherein I have shewed myself wise under the sun. This is also vanity.
- Therefore I went about to cause my heart to despair of all the labour which I took under the sun.
- For there is a man whose labour is in wisdom, and in knowledge, and in equity; yet to a man that hath not laboured therein shall he leave it for his portion. This also is vanity and a great evil.
- For what hath man of all his labour, and of the vexation of his heart, wherein he hath laboured under the sun?
- For all his days are sorrows, and his travail grief; yea, his heart taketh not rest in the night. This is also vanity.
- There is nothing better for a man, than that he should eat and drink, and that he should make his soul enjoy good in his labour. This also I saw, that it was from the hand of God.
- For who can eat, or who else can hasten hereunto, more than I?
- For God giveth to a man that is good in his sight wisdom, and knowledge, and joy: but to the sinner he giveth travail, to gather and to heap up, that he may give to him that is good before God. This also is vanity and vexation of spirit.
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- To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:
- A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;
- A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;
- A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
- A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
- A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
- A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
- A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.
- What profit hath he that worketh in that wherein he laboureth?
- I have seen the travail, which God hath given to the sons of men to be exercised in it.
- He hath made every thing beautiful in his time: also he hath set the world in their heart, so that no man can find out the work that God maketh from the beginning to the end.
- I know that there is no good in them, but for a man to rejoice, and to do good in his life.
- And also that every man should eat and drink, and enjoy the good of all his labour, it is the gift of God.
- I know that, whatsoever God doeth, it shall be for ever: nothing can be put to it, nor any thing taken from it: and God doeth it, that men should fear before him.
- That which hath been is now; and that which is to be hath already been; and God requireth that which is past.
- And moreover I saw under the sun the place of judgment, that wickedness was there; and the place of righteousness, that iniquity was there.
- I said in mine heart, God shall judge the righteous and the wicked: for there is a time there for every purpose and for every work.
- I said in mine heart concerning the estate of the sons of men, that God might manifest them, and that they might see that they themselves are beasts.
- For that which befalleth the sons of men befalleth beasts; even one thing befalleth them: as the one dieth, so dieth the other; yea, they have all one breath; so that a man hath no preeminence above a beast: for all is vanity.
- All go unto one place; all are of the dust, and all turn to dust again.
- Who knoweth the spirit of man that goeth upward, and the spirit of the beast that goeth downward to the earth?
- Wherefore I perceive that there is nothing better, than that a man should rejoice in his own works; for that is his portion: for who shall bring him to see what shall be after him?
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- So I returned, and considered all the oppressions that are done under the sun: and behold the tears of such as were oppressed, and they had no comforter; and on the side of their oppressors there was power; but they had no comforter.
- Wherefore I praised the dead which are already dead more than the living which are yet alive.
- Yea, better is he than both they, which hath not yet been, who hath not seen the evil work that is done under the sun.
- Again, I considered all travail, and every right work, that for this a man is envied of his neighbour. This is also vanity and vexation of spirit.
- The fool foldeth his hands together, and eateth his own flesh.
- Better is an handful with quietness, than both the hands full with travail and vexation of spirit.
- Then I returned, and I saw vanity under the sun.
- There is one alone, and there is not a second; yea, he hath neither child nor brother: yet is there no end of all his labour; neither is his eye satisfied with riches; neither saith he, For whom do I labour, and bereave my soul of good? This is also vanity, yea, it is a sore travail.
- Two are better than one; because they have a good reward for their labour.
- For if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow: but woe to him that is alone when he falleth; for he hath not another to help him up.
- Again, if two lie together, then they have heat: but how can one be warm alone?
- And if one prevail against him, two shall withstand him; and a threefold cord is not quickly broken.
- Better is a poor and a wise child than an old and foolish king, who will no more be admonished.
- For out of prison he cometh to reign; whereas also he that is born in his kingdom becometh poor.
- I considered all the living which walk under the sun, with the second child that shall stand up in his stead.
- There is no end of all the people, even of all that have been before them: they also that come after shall not rejoice in him. Surely this also is vanity and vexation of spirit.
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Thought for the day:
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The book of Ecclesiastes can seem on the surface to be a very discouraging book. Solomon continually uses expressions like "vanity of vanities, all is vanity" (Ecc. 1:2) to reveal the emptiness that life can have. The end of the book reveals that the pursuit of God and His wisdom is the solution to emptiness (12:13), but in these early chapters Solomon reveals the type of worldly wisdom that produces this void in the soul. In chapter 2 he spells out in great detail the foolishness of attempting to find joy and meaning in material goods. He opens by stating that he determined in his heart that he was going to follow after laughter and pleasure. This, of course, mirrors the philosophy of much of our society today. Life for them is spent in the chase for fun and toys, and the same was true of Solomon. In verse 3 he speaks of giving himself to wine. Of all the items of pleasure that he mentions, this is perhaps the one that is most relevant to the world today. We live in an alcohol-drenched society. Advertisements pummel us with the joys of beer. Refrigerators are stocked with six packs, and the bars are filled until the wee-hours of the morning. Teenager's rites of passage and collegiate fraternity inductions always include alcohol. Yet today, as with Solomon, alcohol can not satisfy. The temporary numbing effect that it produces is gone by morning and replaced with the knowledge that the individual's condition is no better, and probably worse, than it was before his binge.
Solomon did not stop with drink. In verse 4 he had beautiful homes built for himself. The surrounding lands contained vineyards, gardens and orchards. He had ponds dug for beauty and efficiency. He even hired servants to work in the houses for him. Doesn't this sound like a great life? Who wouldn't like to have a bigger home surrounded by beautiful grounds staffed by servants who would take care of your every whim? In our society that is seen as a great symbol of status and success. But Solomon indicates that it did not satisfy him.
He increased in wealth. He acquired cattle (7), so that he had the largest herd of livestock in the area. He made lots of money (8). Not only did he have silver and gold, but he owned precious artifacts from around the world. Other wealthy men gave priceless presents to him to add to his collection. With these funds he was able to purchase the finest in entertainment. He had musicians waiting at his beck and call, prepared to provide him with the most beautiful music performed on the finest instruments of the day (8). How wonderful it would be to have a life like this! Yet these things did not satisfy him.
Verse 9 tells us that Solomon considered himself, and rightly so, to be great. He had more, and got more, than anyone else in the city. He purchased anything and everything that he wanted (10). No item came on the market that Solomon could not have. If it pleased him, it was his. Never did the words, "We can't afford that" cross his lips nor enter his mind. He had it all, and anything that he didn't have he could easily obtain. He had worked hard to put himself in a position to live the life of a wealthy man-about-town, and he had achieved it. However, after all this pursuit of pleasure, and having devoted much of his life to this end, Solomon is forced to write these words,
"Then I looked on all the works that my hands had wrought, and on the labour that I had laboured to do: and, behold, all was vanity and vexation of spirit, and there was no profit under the sun" (11).
It was all a waste. It was empty (vanity) and troubling (vexation) to his soul, and in the whole scheme of things it had no value.
Don't allow materialism to destroy your life. Don't allow the desire for power and pleasure to hinder your ability to serve the Lord. Money, and the things that it can buy, will never satisfy anyone. Following the Lord, having His wisdom, and doing His will are the only things that really matter and have lasting value.
Pastor Mark J Montgomery