Ecclesiastes: Living with Reality – Part 2

Ecclesiastes: Living with Reality – Part 2

Writings – Ecclesiastes More insight from the “Teacher” Ecc. 3:1-6:12 July 8, 2018

I. From EXPERIENCE (Chap. 1-2) to OBSERVATION. (Chap. 3-6)
A. How the WISDOM books WORK. (Prov., Ecc., Job)
B. WHAT the teacher “SAW”… (3:10,16; 4:1,15; 5:18; 6:1)
C. “…UNDER the SUN.” (3:16; 4:1,3,7,15; 5:13,18; 6:1,12)

You came back…that’s awesome. Ecclesiastes is not for the faint of heart. Last week we saw how it works together with Proverbs and Job to give us a more holistic understanding of wisdom. It was the “Teacher” telling us all that he had done, and what he had learned. This week we move for his experience to his observations.

1. Does your own perspective on life resonate more with Proverbs (there is a way to make things work) or Ecclesiastes (things often don’t make sense)? How does that shape your approach to life?
2. Have you “seen” the same things happening today that the teacher saw 3000 years ago? What specifically and in what ways?
3. Is “under the sun” just a cop out? Is it avoiding the hard questions to just say that there are things we will never understand?

II. Some THEMES that keep RECURRING. (3:1-6:12)
A. The POWER and PEOPLE dilemma. (4:1-4, 13-16; 5:8-9)
B. The INSATIABLE nature of STUFF. (5:10-17; 6:1-7)
C. Our limited PERSPECTIVE and CONTROL. (3:10-11; 5:1-7)
D. DESPITE all this, GOOD still exists. (3:12-14,22; 5:18-20)

Ecclesiastes is not written in a linear fashion, with logical arguments being built to support a presupposition. It weaves and circles back around some central themes and ideas that the Teacher has witnessed in the world around him. They are ideas we have all seen and can identify with – themes that permeate our day to day lives.

4. Which of the recurring themes do you see happening around you?
5. Do you see “the insatiable nature of stuff” in your own life? What about the reality of our own limitations? How do these impact you?
6. How do the statements the Teacher makes about what is “good” hit you? Are they enough?

III. WISDOM from the TEACHER for today. (12:9-11)
A. Our view of WORK and POSSESSIONS. (3:12-14,22; 5:18-20; Mt 6:33)
B. REALIZE the value of RELATIONSHIPS.(4:1-12; I Cor. 12:27)
C. Have CLARITY regarding our LIMITATIONS. (3:11; 5:2; Rom 12:3)
D. Live in HUMBLE REVERENCE of God. (5:1-7; Col. 3:12)

It’s one thing to say, “I see this happening!” It’s quite another to be able to discern how to live with this scenario in a way that is wise and honouring to God. The teacher gives us some hints about how to do this embedded within the observations. As we listen we can see that the Wisdom God offers transcends time and culture.

7. Which of the 4 statements of wisdom from the teacher today seem to be most relevant for you where you are in life right now?
8. How will you seek to apply that wisdom to your life this week?