The Book of Ecclesiastes
VEXATION OF SPIRIT
Text: ECCLESIASTES 6
I. WEALTH WITHOUT GOD IS VANITY
II. A LONG LIFE WITHOUT GOD IS VANITY
III. LABOR WITHOUT GOD IS VANITY
I. WEALTH WITHOUT GOD IS VANITY (6:1).
II. A LONG LIFE WITHOUT GOD IS VANITY (6:6).
III. LABOR WITHOUT GOD IS VANITY (6:7-9).
(1) Man must realize that he cannot be satisfied by the temporal and the material (6:7). The more men earn, the more they crave. This is what our Lord meant in Matthew 4:4, when he quoted Deuteronomy 8:3. “It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.”
(2) Man must realize he cannot be satisfied by the mental and the intellectual apart from God any more than the physical (6:8a; cf. 2:15-17).
(3) Man must realize that a man’s life does not consist in the things he possesses (6:8b). Our Lord said in Luke 12:15, “Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man's life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth.”
(4) Man must realize the rationality of enjoying what he has rather than grabbing greedily for more (6:9). There are many familiar sayings, “The grass is always greener on the other side…A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush, etc.” The apostle Paul wrote, “For I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content” (Phil. 4:11).
(5) Man must realize that his lot in life is God-appointed, unalterable, and to be acquiesced to cheerfully – “That which hath been is named already” (6:10a). God is in control. Ephesians 1:11 says God “worketh all things after the counsel of His own will.” Romans 8:28 says, “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose.”
(6) Man must realize that he is but a man, no matter what attainments or position he may achieve – “and it is known that it is man” (6:10b). David wrote, “Put them in fear, O LORD: that the nations may know themselves to be but men” (Psalm 9:20).
(7) Man must realize that as a mere creature he cannot strive with divine Providence (6:10c). It is foolish to fight God.
(8) In light of the utter futility of living in a vain world, man may well inquire what profit and outcome there are for him (6:11). “The longer man argues, the more he multiplies futility, and he gains nothing in the process” (William MacDonald, Enjoying Ecclesiastes).
(9) Man must realize the severe limitations of human wisdom as a guide in living life as it should be lived (6:12a).
(10) Man must realize the uncertainty of all life “under the sun” (6:12b). Only God knows the future, so we must trust Him.
“How impressive throughout Ecclesiastes is the evidence that, while Solomon the prodigal is doing his utmost to prove that life is futile and not worth living, the Holy Spirit is using him to show that these conclusions are the tragic effect of living ‘under the sun’ – ignoring the Lord…yet face to face with the mysteries of life and nature!” (Unger’s Commentary on the OT).