Perspective and Enjoyment
Topic: Exposition Scripture: Ecclesiastes 9:1–9:12
Death Focuses Perspective (verses 1-6)
Love or Hate?
Everyone is in God’s hands. The question is whether God’s hand is for us or against us? - Philip Ryken
The Same Happens to All
While atheists routinely speak of the problem of evil, they usually don’t raise the problem of goodness. But if evil provides evidence against God, then shouldn’t goodness count as evidence for him? And wouldn't that be evidence against atheism? From a non-theistic viewpoint, what is evil? Isn’t it just nature at work? In a strictly natural, physical world, shouldn’t everything be neither good nor evil? Good and evil imply an “ought” and an “ought not” that nature is incapable of producing.
Randy Alcorn, If God is Good Why Do We Hurt, Chapter 13, The Unbeliever’s Problem of Goodness
The Living Have Hope
Living Dogs and Dead Lions - Dogs were looked down upon in the ancient near east...and Lions, well they are awesome.
How and Why we Party (verses 7--10)
This is one of six enjoyment passages found in the book – we have seen four already:
- Chapter 2:24-26 – Enjoying his gifts comes from the hand of God
- Chapter 3:12,13 – God’s gift
- Chapter 5:18 – It is God that gives Joy
- Chapter 8:15 – I commend Joy. Eat and drink and be joyful in the days God has given
I want you to hear how much the JOY passages – amidst the vanities – have everything to do with GOD.
So he begins with these IMPERATIVES – he is going to urge us now and tell us what to do!!!
Go! Eat! Drink! Principles for Partying - Verse 8 is clear that celebration and partying is in view here – WHITE clothing signified celebration clothing…oil/perfume.
- Together with Jesus – all to the glory of God…all in the name of Jesus
- Together with Your Sisters and Brothers – yes, we got each other’s backs, how much have you had to drink? Are you OK?
- Together with Purpose – Celebrate something when you party – it is so silly today how we have made “partying” simply to mean getting drunk, high or naked. Celebration does not equal sin though much of today’s partying is simply occasioning for SIN
- Together at Special Times – get dressed up some time, weddings, birthdays, days of feasting
Enjoy! - Enjoying the wife you love
- Be a friend – not simply have a good friend in your wife, be a good friend
- Listen well to your wife – hear her, don’t just allow noise in your ears - hear and listen…don’t give answers all the time
- Serve your wife – in ways she appreciates it…Doing dishes, get her out for tea/coffee, putting laundry in the dryer – be around to be helpful. ASK HER – What is helpful to you? How can I serve you?
- Spend time together – Date her, Vacation with her – just her, having Identity as a couple – not simply around your kids
- Laugh together
- Share your heart and burdens with her – LET her IN – Let her LOVE YOU
- Make lots of love – enjoy, drink deeply, etc.
Do Something! How to work
- Working as for Jesus – he is your key employer – Colossians 3:23 – whatever you do, do with all your heart, as working for the Lord and not for men…
- Your Main Purpose – honoring and glorifying God with your life, sharing with others fruit of your labors – 1 Cor 10:31 – all to the glory of God.
- But this job sucks – in saying that we are MISSING THE POINT
- You only have one LIFE – the time you have now to work, invest, do something…IS GONE once you are in the grave
Uncertainty Focuses Perspective (verses 11, 12)
Our perspective BEFORE accidents and tragedies befall us will dictate how we respond TO them...
A Few Concluding Thoughts on Death
The Preacher on Life and Death
Jesus on Life and Death
John 11:23–27 (ESV) — 23 Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.” 24 Martha said to him, “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection on the last day.” 25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, 26 and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?” 27 She said to him, “Yes, Lord; I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, who is coming into the world.”
Our view of God and Eternity will give us clarity amidst life’s emptiness. He gives us hope to be seized by joy among death and vanity.
Community Meditation Questions
- Why are moments of sudden tragedy opportunities to evaluate and shape our perspective on our lives?
- Is God for us or against us? The preacher was not so sure. Read Romans 8:26-39 and discuss how Jesus is the exclamation point answer to the question as to whether God’s is for us or against us.
- During our time on the earth the Preacher exhorts us with several imperatives/commands to enjoy life and God’s good gifts. Discuss the various principles offered in the message relating to the following areas of life: 1) Partying 2) Enjoying your Wife 3) Doing something with your life
- If death is coming and tomorrow is uncertain shouldn’t we enjoy life with God now? If death is coming and tomorrow is uncertain, shouldn’t we trust our lives to Jesus now? Why are you putting off this commitment?