Striving After the Wind

Striving After the Wind

Scripture: Ecclesiastes 6:1-12, Jeremiah 6:14
Lesson: 7
Solomon's despair grows as he ponders the futility of seeking riches and of life in general.

A New Revelation DVD and Study Guide by Doug Batchelor

A New Revelation DVD and Study Guide by Doug Batchelor
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Good morning, Happy Sabbath. We're so glad that you're joining us for another "central study hour," coming to you from the Sacramento Central Seventh-day Adventist church here in Sacramento, California. We have a lot of visitors with us here at central this morning.

And of course, those of you who are tuning in from across the country and around the world, like you do every week, we're so glad that you are spending this Sabbath morning with us, listening on the radio, watching live on the internet at saccentral.org, or watching weeks delayed on the various networks. We are so glad that you are part of our Sabbath school family. And you have sent in your song requests. So we're going to sing two of those. The first one, 245, pull out your hymnals and turn with us to , "more about Jesus.

" This is from maravik from roca city in the Philippines, connor from sunderland, northeast england in tyne and wear, and tina from billings, Montana, joanne riley from brooklyn, New York, and millicent rhyme from Orlando, florida who is 95 years old. This song is their request this morning. So we will do the first, second and fourth verse... Thank you so much for sending in your requests. And those of you who haven't done that, I know there's many of you who have favorite songs that you would like to sing with us on an upcoming Sabbath.

So I encourage you to go to our website at saccentral.org and click on music link. Our opening song this morning is jennifer's favorite. And it's no mistaking that you and David are matching this morning, right? It wasn't--well, I guess it was planned. They're part of the pathfinder club here at central. And this is jennifer's favorite song, as well as a whole bunch of other people, and so we're going to sing that this morning.

This comes from perry from auckland, new zealand, Peter from lincoln, Nebraska, mejalo John from the Philippines, jean reynolds from mesa, Arizona, sylvia from northern territory, australia, snow and robin from new south wales, australia, monica, Christ church, barbados, marissa from hong kong, china, joanne riley from brooklyn, New York, kideon from argentina--and I think this is our first request from argentina, so that's very exciting--and then maureen from enfield, london, and s.c. From ellisha, the Philippines, and David jones from new south wales, australia. And this song he wants to request for his wife megan. This is her favorite hymn, 198, all four verses... Father in Heaven, "how can it be" that you died for us? We don't understand it, but we thank you for making that sacrifice, for giving us hope, and for bringing us here together as a Sabbath school and church family.

Those who are joining us here and those who are part of our family, but are all across the world, we pray that you will be with us as we study together this morning, and you will be with our speaker. In Jesus' Name, amen. At this time, our lesson study is going to be brought to us by our senior pastor here at Sacramento central church, Pastor Doug Batchelor. Thank you. And thank you for the music.

I especially enjoy those violins in stereo, amen? Isn't that nice? I wanna welcome everybody. Welcome our class here, Sacramento central. We have a few new people at our class this morning, because a new Amazing Facts college of evangelism session has begun. And I know some of the students are here. I'm just curious, how many of you are part of the new afcoe program? Let me see your hands.

Oh good, we got a pretty good group. They're all on the starboard side of the sanctuary this morning. And we're glad that they are here. It's always nice that central can, at least for part of the time, host the college of evangelism. For our friends who are visiting, the Amazing Facts center of evangelism has evangelism training that goes on in 4-month segments a couple of times a year.

And they usually partner with different churches and get involved in a live evangelistic meeting. So they get hands-on training. But I think we're, which church are we at this time? Lincoln. Lincoln is where the meetings are this time. But before the meetings begin, we get to have 'em here visiting us at central, and visiting with us here at central, we're glad they're here.

Want to welcome our friends, who are part of the extended class. We are continuing a study in the book of Ecclesiastes. We'll get into chapter 6 in just a moment. As always, we have a free offer. The book that we're offering for these next few weeks is a book written by yours truly, called "teach us to pray.

" And I tried to assemble what I thought were some of the most important principles for prayer to the things that inspire me. Also taken some from "the Lord's prayer." And it makes for a good pattern for a prayer life. And we would give this to you. There's a catch though, you've gotta call and ask for it. Call the number on your screen.

Ask for offer number 717. The phone number is -788-3966. And we'll send that to you, just contact the number there and we'll do that. Getting into our study today, we are in lesson number 7, which is actually dealing with chapter number 6 in the book of Ecclesiastes. And the title for the lesson is "striving after the wind," striving after the wind.

We have a memory verse. The memory verse is from Ecclesiastes 6:7, and it's taken from the new king James version. Are you ready to say this with me? "All the labor of man is for his mouth, yet the soul is not satisfied." Now, as I've been doing the last few weeks, it's always frustrating to me that there's so much material in the assigned lesson that I like to at least read through the passage, it's only 12 verses, so can I do that? Let's read through it. And I'll read; you can follow along. Ecclesiastes 6:1, "there is an evil that I have seen under the sun, and it is common among men: a man to whom God has given riches and wealth and honor, so that he lacks nothing for himself of all he desires; yet God does not give him power to eat of it, but a foreigner consumes it.

This is vanity, and it is an evil affliction. If a man begets a hundred children and lives many years, so that the days of his years are many, but his soul is not satisfied with goodness, or in deed he has no burial, I say that a stillborn child is better than he. For it comes in vanity and departs in darkness, and its name is covered with darkness. Though it has not seen the sun or known anything, this has more rest than that man, even if he lives a thousand years twice over, but has not seen goodness. Do not all go to one place? All the labor of man is for his mouth, and yet the soul is not satisfied.

For what more has the wise man than the fool? What does the poor man have, who knows how to walk before the living? Better is the sight of the eyes than the wandering of desire. This also is vanity and grasping for the wind. Whatever one is, he has been named already, for it is known that he is man; and he cannot contend with him who is mightier than he. Since there are many things that increase vanity, how is man the better? For who knows what is the good for man in life, all the days of his vain life which he passes like a shadow? Who can tell a man what will happen after him under the sun?" [Whistles] deep. Let me say something in defense of Solomon.

I've been--i like to do my homework when I do the Sabbath school study. Sometimes I think I do better homework than other times. But in reviewing both the corresponding verses in the Bible, but especially some of the commentators, I'm surprised sometimes that there are actually some commentators out there that say, "well," I'm paraphrasing, "don't take what Solomon says too seriously. It may not be inspired, 'cause he was depressed." There's almost that allusion or that reference there insinuating that, "well, you know, after all he's just griping. He's depressed.

" Matter of fact, if you doubt me--i won't ask for a show of hands--how many of you have heard of the scofield Bible? Have you heard of the scofield Bible? If you look in the scofield Bible under the notes of Ecclesiastes, periodically you'll find where scofield said, "don't take this literally. Solomon was depressed." Or something to that effect. Well, I think that's pretty dangerous, because basically that's saying that there is part of Scripture that is not inspired. And what if you take that approach for other parts of the Bible? "It's not really Scripture because, well, we think he didn't mean it. I mean he was depressed.

" Now sometimes the Bible will record statements that reflect--i mean there are places in the Bible where the enemies of Christ said that he was a glutton and a wine bibber. They also called him a demoniac and a samaritan. I mean it's recording accusations, but you know they're not true. It's just recording what someone accused. But in the Psalms and in these books of poetry, it's giving the wisdom of life and these observations of life.

These are inspired statements. Now having said that, what Solomon is doing is keep in mind the vantage point he is writing from. What do most people think brings satisfaction in life? I'm talking about not in the church, but in the world, if you go out there and you say, "what's gonna make you happy?" What will they say? Everyone said money first. Okay. What else? Fame, position; they're sort of the same.

Popularity, success, fame, prestige, fame and fortune, we often summarize it in fame and fortune, 'cause that sort of encompasses everything. And if you have your doubts about what really the world thinks brings happiness, just stand in line and allow your eyes to wander over the magazines that are at the supermarket. I confess; I do it. One thing I've noticed--now I'm wandering a little bit with my thoughts--how many of the magazines have a woman on the cover? There just something about, you know, God made women beautiful. And so many of the magazines will, not just the glamour magazines, all different kinds of magazines, it will have a beautiful woman on the cover.

And people buy it. They realize that's one of the most powerfully-selling things. And sometimes she's not just a beautiful woman, sometimes it's very sexually suggestive. They know that sells too. But the magazines are often filled with images of, and stories about, the rich and the famous.

There's a lot of tv programs that talk about the rich and the famous. Maybe you could get this job, or you could be fired. Maybe you'll win the million dollars. And there's a number of programs where you win big bucks if you can guess. Because people, so many people think, "if I just had more money, I'd be happy.

" Or if, and because there's a certain amount of power that comes with money. People feel like their lives are out of control. "If I had more money, I could have more control." They feel powerless. Or they feel lonely. "If I had more friends, if I was more popular, if I was more successful, people would like me.

" Some people know that you can buy your friends. "So if I had more money, I'd have more friends." Now who in the Bible had more money and fame than Solomon? Not too many. One of the richest Kings who ever lived, Bible says, "everything was made in gold in his palace." Silver was not counted for anything, because it was like stones. That's the economy during the time of Solomon. People were bringing camel loads of gold.

Matter of fact, the only other time you'll find the number 666 in the Bible, besides Revelation, is during the reign of Solomon. The pinnacle of man, in 1 year talents of gold came to him. And so here he is now at the end of his life, and he's wandered from the Lord. And evidently he comes to his senses before the end of his life. And he realizes the vanity of what he's done.

And he has had riches. He has had the ability to satisfy every desire. And he realizes that it's "grasping after wind." Have you known people, or heard about, maybe you don't know any, read about people who are common, everyday working people, and they hit the lottery. And they get millions of dollars. And they go pursuing what they think is gonna now bring them happiness.

Maybe it's they move to vegas. And they do not deprive themselves of the best of food and alcohol and entertainment of all sorts. And how do they feel after about a month of living like that? First of all, broke. A lot of 'em--it's amazing how many, you track the history of a lot of these people that win the lottery, and have you heard the stories? First of all, there's often strife in the family and divorce that comes right after, because they're fighting over control of the money. Secondly, often they're broke and in debt more than when they won, because they get used to living a lifestyle they can't sustain after all the money's gone.

And they run up these credit cards. And they make these kooky investments. And they're broke. It's so sad. And some of 'em have all the money and they're spending it for every pleasure and they're embellishing their homes.

And they got all this. And they say, "empty." Some have even committed suicide. So with that happy backdrop, what Solomon is doing is he is reflecting on the futility of life for this life. You know in the beginning, in the Garden of Eden, after cain killed abel, he went and he raised a whole race of people that were called The Sons of men. And they built a city in the world.

And they decided they might live a thousand years, but this is gonna be all they've got. And then you had another race of men called--they were the children of seth--they were called The Sons of God. Two distinct generations. The Sons of God realized this life is not it. This life is a waiting room.

Picture for a second this immense waiting room. And you got all these people that are in this waiting room. And there are a couple of doors that you could get called through. And some people are in the waiting room. And for them, the one door it's just total darkness and obscurity, and they don't know what it is.

And they figure they better just enjoy their time in the waiting room. And there's donuts in the waiting room, and there's things to play with, there's things to read. So they try to make the most out of the waiting room. But then there's another group in there, and they realize there's healing on the other side of another door. There's a doctor there, and there's life eternal.

Some are looking at going into surgery and they don't know if they're ever gonna wake up. And you got these people in the waiting room. Some are living for the waiting room. How pathetic. And others are spending their time in the waiting room preparing for what's beyond the door for life.

Some people are in this life--how many times you've ever heard people say, even in the church--now don't, I haven't forgot about the lesson. That's why I read it to you, so at least I could say I got the verses--even in the church, I run into people all the time, they say, "well you know, you only live once, so you wanna make sure and have a happy life." Is that really our goal as Christians, to make sure we're happy in this life? I don't find that in the Bible. Now Solomon does talk about, you know, there's nothing better for man than to eat and drink and enjoy the blessings that God gives him. I do think God wants us to enjoy our blessings, but that's not our purpose. Our purpose is to prepare for eternity, to serve God, to make the most of trying to capitalize our gifts to reach others for eternity.

But so many people, even in the church, live like this is it. This is not it. Now there's an operative word that you're gonna find appearing, you know I always look in the various chapters. What is sort of the central word? One of the central words you'll find in Ecclesiastes 6 is the word, man. Man.

What is the duty of man? It occurs ten times in these twelve verses. "If a man lives his life and he does not discover good," he often talks about that, "then his life is futile." Well, we'll get to that in some of our verses. Let's start with verse 1 again. And then we'll take it in more detail. Matter of fact, I'm gonna read verses 1 and 2.

"There is an evil that I have seen under the sun, and it is common among men." You'll see this appear several times in the Bible. "A man to whom God has given riches and wealth and honor, so that he lacks nothing for himself of all he desires; yet God does not give him the power to eat of it, but a foreigner consumes it. This is a vanity, and an evil affliction." Do you know of anybody who has been granted all kinds of blessings, but they're not granted the power to enjoy them? Someone else gets it. It's maybe left to their posterity, or even in their life they don't enjoy it. I want to give you some verses.

Just let's do a microphone check. Pancho has one, and tim has one. Okay. Here are the verses. They're not in Ecclesiastes.

Kings 5:1, hold your hand up when you find that if you're willing to read it. Kings 15:5, two different verses: 2 Kings 5:1, 2 Kings :5. Okay, what do you have, mike? Alright, let's give him a microphone. Who has the other one? Roy, you're gonna do, what do you got, 2 Kings 15? You got 15, okay. Let's do 5 first, mike.

2 Kings 5:1, "now naaman, captain of the host of the King of syria, was a great man with his master, and honorable, because by him the Lord had given deliverance unto syria: he was also a mighty man in valor, but he was a leper." Alright, park right there for a second. I like the way this story of naaman begins, because it basically sets it up by saying he was this and this and this and this, but mighty man. God had used him, honorable man, obviously a wealthy man. He's the general for the army. He's got everything going for him, everything any man would want.

He's rich, he's famous, he's revered, he's feared, respected, but--does that change everything? He was a leper. Was he a happy man? Why? What does leprosy a type of in the Bible? Sin. And if you've got everything the world has to offer, and you are on death row, and that's where naaman was. Leprosy was a terminal, slow, debilitating disease. To have all that a man could possibly want: to be wealthy, to be recognized, to be famous, to be respected, to be someone even God could use it says, the Lord used him to give deliverance, but he was a leper.

That basically cancels out everything else, doesn't it? All the good things are cancelled out. It's like what Solomon describes. "I've seen the vanity in life: a man who has every earthly blessing, but he can't enjoy it," because of what? Sin. "What profit is it," Jesus says, "if you gain the whole world and lose your soul?" And I think this is something that Solomon is alluding to. What profit is it? Solomon understood profit.

Alright, let's do the next verse. Roy, you got--what do I say? Kings 15:5. "And the Lord smote the King, so that he was a leper unto the day of his death, and dwelt in a house of isolation. And jotham the King's son was over the house, judging the people of the land." Alright, now this is the story of king uzziah, who was basically a good king. Most of what's recorded about him was a good king.

David was a good king, but he had one major backsliding, well two if you count numbering Israel. King uzzah was a good king, but he went through an episode of pride where he went into the temple to burn incense. He was not supposed to do it. The priest said, "this is not for you, king uzzah. It will not be for your glory.

Get out of here. This is for the priests." And he became angry. He thought, "I'm the King," and he kind of had a tantrum in the temple. And suddenly, leprosy broke out on his head. And he was a leper to the day of his death.

And here he is king, rich, famous, successful, all his building projects flourished, peace on every side. And you know what? He had to live in an isolated house. The rest of his life he was quarantined and shunned because of this disease called leprosy. What profit is it if you gain the whole world and you just basically have to leave it all behind you, and you don't have the real inheritance that lasts? This is what he's talking about in the first verses here. It says, "a foreigner consumes it.

" You don't have a legacy you can take with you. What is the only thing we can take with us? Eternal life, a converted character. Alright, and he says, furthermore in this verse, "a man to whom God has given riches." I'm still in verse 1. I want to talk about that for a second. A man to whom God has given riches.

Somebody look up for me Deuteronomy 8:18, Deuteronomy :18. When you find it, hold your hand up. Someone else find Proverbs :22. Proverbs 10:22. Where do we get the ability to get riches? Do I see? Which one you got, birdie? Deuteronomy 8:18.

Okay, go ahead. "But remember the Lord your God: for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth, and so confirms his covenant which he swore to your forefathers, as it is today." You know I remember reading about--oh man, my mind just went blank. What was the name of that wealthy man that, not carnegie? Rock--huh? Rockefeller, yes. John rockefeller, thank you very much. I don't hear very well, too many years with a chainsaw.

But John rockefeller, early in his life, he was a very devout Christian, a very conservative Christian. And he knew, he told his wife, he says, "I have a sensation that I am gonna be incredibly wealthy. God has given me the ability and the desire to accumulate wealth. And I want to use it for him." Early in his life he knew that. And you know he just began to buy and to sell and to trade.

And pretty soon he owned, he had a monopoly on the oil in North America, standard oil company, about the time oil really became popular. And when he was 50 years old, he had more money--matter of fact, a pastor friend of his came to him and he said, "you better start giving away your money, or it is going to crush you like an avalanche. You're making it too fast." And he became convicted. He needed to do something. At that time, he had terrible ulcers, his hair had fallen out from his stress.

He got alopecia, and he lost all his hair for the rest of his life. He wore a toupee. Mine's natural in case you're wondering. But he was just sick. And the doctors didn't expect him to live a year.

He couldn't eat anything but milk, because of the ulcers and the stress. And he wasn't sleeping at night. And he started taking the advice of the pastor and giving his wealth away. And he set up his foundations. And you know, all of the sudden, he started feeling better.

He started smiling again. He lived into his 90s, because--but he knew God had given him the ability to get wealth, he kept making money. But it was destroying him. He couldn't enjoy it until he realized the true wealth is in heaven and you've gotta give it away. Proverbs 10:22, did somebody find that one? Got a hand right here.

Hold your hand up, so the microphone can find you. Proverbs 10:22. "The blessing of the Lord, makes one rich, and he adds no sorrow with it." Not only is it the ability to gain wealth, but some people have the ability to gain wealth, but they couldn't enjoy it. And I know I've said more than I should probably say about my Dear Father, but everyone who knew my dad said, "boy, he just has the ability," I mean born dirt poor, depression typical story, pulled himself up by his bootstraps, died multimillionaire, but he was miserable. He just didn't enjoy it.

And workaholic, have you ever seen some of these workaholics that say, "you know, I've arrived. I finally have enough money now, I'm gonna enjoy it?" No, they just gotta keep working and working and working. And they just, they always have that fire in the belly, or whatever it is. And it's a sad thing when you see that. God gives people, some people the ability to get wealth.

Now it's a gift. God gives some people the gift of music. You can use the gift for God. Or you can use it selfishly. Unfortunately, most in the world use their gifts selfishly.

Isn't that true? I believe God gave the Jewish nation, a higher percentage of those people, the ability to accumulate wealth. I think it was something that he gave them as a nation. I just read it to you here from Deuteronomy. Some of them use it for good purposes. And I don't want to overgeneralize.

I can do it, because I'm Jewish, but have you noticed how many of the people in the fields of economy are Jewish? They're tremendous economists. They understand how to get wealth. But is that where happiness comes from? And among my family, a tremendous priority is put upon, a direct line is drawn between, "are you happy?" And "how much money do you have?" It is frequently an association that is made. "How much do you have?" And "are you happy?" And is that really what happiness comes from? Solomon addresses this a little later on. Let's continue here.

It's "the blessing of the Lord," it says, that "adds no sorrow with it." It is really a blessing when someone has the wealth and then knows how to enjoy it. Now job had a period in his life of tremendous suffering. But when you look at the -plus years that job lived, we don't know exactly how long he lived, but he lived long time after his suffering. And maybe it was 2 months of his trial when you add it all up. Did job have great wealth? But for the majority of his life, did God give him the ability to enjoy it? Yeah, he did.

God blessed him and he blessed Isaac and he blessed Abraham. Jacob had his troubles. But that's 'cause he got too many wives. Number 3, verse 3, "if a man begets a hundred children and lives many years, so the days of the years are many, but his soul is not satisfied with goodness, nor indeed he has no burial, I say that a stillborn child is better than he, for it comes in vanity and it departs in darkness, and its name is covered with darkness. Though it is not seen the sun or known anything, this has more rest than that man.

" Alright, I want to park. When I first read this, I tell ya, I had to pull the commentaries out. And I'm so thankful for some of these great, giants of the Bible, like adam clarke, and gill, and jamieson, faucett, and brown, and adam clark in particular. I was trying to say, "what is this talking to me?" He says, "this is describing a miser." It's a man who has every earthly blessing, but because he's so stingy, he doesn't enjoy anything. And he does not even pay for a memorial at his death.

So when he's gone, he's totally forgotten. And a stillborn child--now keep in mind, in Israel, I know we have a little different custom in our culture, a lady might have, a family might have a miscarried child. I've done a few funerals for a miscarried child, or a child that died shortly after birth, or during birth. But in the Jewish economy, they did not register or name a child until it was circumcised. Remember when Jesus was 8 days old; they would take him to them temple.

The name was registered there when they were circumcised. And I'm not sure, someone will have to tell me if the custom was the same for girls as boys. But I know at least the boys, that's how they did it. So here is a stillborn child, his name is never registered. It just it comes and goes in obscurity is what Solomon is talking about.

This man who's so cheap, he's got all the things of life. He's got money. He's got a big family. But he withholds it all, because he doesn't want to enjoy any of it. Have you known anybody like that? Have you heard stories about people who die and their mattress is full of a million dollars and they live like paupers? I heard, it was an amazing fact, now I'm doing this from memory.

It just came to me. You might look it up, hetty howland green, was called the witch of wall street, one of the wealthiest ladies, many millions of dollars. She was the stingiest lady alive. Her son--she learned how to make money. She had a gift for making money.

Father was a stockbroker, and she learned how to buy and sell and trade stocks. And she had millions of dollars. She lived in a hovel. She would not put coal in the fire, because she thought it was too expensive. Nearly killed herself climbing behind a desk one time to get a stamp that had dropped worth $.

02. Her son broke his leg. She pushed him in a wagon up and down the streets of New York city to find a free clinic rather than pay. And she spent so long trying to find a free clinic to mend her son's leg that gangrene set in. That's because she wouldn't even take him to the hospital, they're too expensive, until about 3 or 4 days after he broke it.

Had his leg amputated, 'cause his mother was so cheap. Millions of dollars! Solomon is saying a stillborn child is better than that. This is kind of the picture that he's painting. "For it comes and departs in darkness, and its name is covered with darkness. It has not seen the sun.

" And you know he also talks about here, and I don't want to take this too far, but...wait actually I've got this written here, and I can't improve on, "the miscarried child," I think barnes wrote this, "the miscarried child 'comes in with vanity,' crushes expectation, 'departs in darkness,' never opened its eyes upon the light, 'and its name is covered with darkness.' It has no place in the family register or in the Chronicles of Israel. This that 'has neither seen the sun, nor known anything' is preferable to the miser who has his coffers and his granaries well furnished should he have lived a thousand years and had a hundred children." Yet he possesses and experiences no good, because "what profit is it if you gain the whole world and lose your soul?" Or what I really meant to quote was where Jesus said, "a man's life does not consist in the abundance of things he possesses." How many of you remember the story about the rich fool? Jesus tells a parable about this man. And God blesses his crops, so that his barns are full and he doesn't know what to do. He can't fit all his crops in his barn. And he says, "this is what I'll do.

I'll tear down my small barns. I'll build bigger barns. And then I'll say to my soul, 'eat and drink and be merry, soul, you've got many goods laid up for many years.'" And then God said, "you fool, this night is your soul required of thee. Then who shall those things be for which you provided?" I mean he just was hoarding things. Does he get to enjoy it? No.

And so Solomon here is talking about the vanity of that life. Now in verse 6, it says, "even if he lives a thousand years twice over, but has not seen goodness. Do not all go to one place?" Alright, think about this for a second. Who was the longest, who was the oldest man that ever lived? Methuselah. I love when people say that, because really it's inaccurate.

Methuselah is the oldest man who ever died. His son Enoch is really the oldest man who ever lived. Isn't that correct? But methuselah lived 969 years. You notice that everybody that lived before the flood, most of them, their lives were almost uniformly--i mean right now the average life they say is 3 score and 10. Ah, because of improvements in medicine and science, we're pushing 80.

I think in japan it has the highest life expectancy in the world. They're up to 80 now. North America, women of course live longer, but we're still: men 74, 75: women 78, 80. Still 3 score and 10 is the average. Correct? I've sometimes thought, "man, I wish I could have lived back then when they lived a thousand years.

" Have you ever thought that? But you realize, they died too. And God basically shortened man's life because, forgive me for paraphrasing, he figured, "look, if you can't get it together in 70 years who you're going to serve, you can't get it together in a thousand. And if you should live a thousand years twice, what profit is it? So that thousand years was the life span of the pre-flood generation. If you should live twice that, what good is it? If you don't have God, what profit is it? Keep going here. I'm in verse 7, "all the labor of man is for his mouth, and yet the soul is not satisfied.

" Alright, somebody please look up for me...here we go, Matthew 6:25-26, Matthew 6:25-26. While you're looking that up, I see a couple hands here. Okay, go ahead. You can go ahead and read that. "'Therefore I say to you, do not be anxious for your life, what you shall eat or what you shall drink; nor for your body, what you shall put on.

Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? Behold the birds of the air, for they sow not nor they do not reap nor gather into barns; yet your Heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much better than they?'" Very good, leo. So it's saying in verse 7, "all the labor of men is for his mouth, and yet his soul is not satisfied." Can you ever permanently satiate your appetite? Not if you're healthy. 'Cause if you're living, you're gonna burn it up and you're gonna get hungry again. Sort of reminds me of when my kids would say, "why do I gotta take a bath? I'm just gonna get dirty again.

" Or "why do we gotta wash the dishes? They're just gonna dirty again." And we'll say, "alright. Well you get to eat off the one that is just recycled. We're gonna wash ours." But life is full of labor. And it reminds me of Ecclesiastes 1:8. It's very similar.

"All things are full of labor; man cannot utter it. The eye is not satisfied with seeing, nor is the ear filled with hearing." I remember for my birthday one of my kids gave me a mug. And it said, it showed this one of those bob larson cartoons. And it showed this kid in school, this chubby kid with glasses on. He's got his hand raised.

He said, "teacher, can I be excused? My brain's gonna explode?" His mind was too full of what he was learning. Have you ever had that feeling before? You're trying to learn. You're taking in so much. You just think, "I need a break to digest this. My brain's gonna explode.

" But that typically doesn't happen with our seeing or with our hearing. You know one of my challenges is I typically prepare the slides for the sermons you see. And I've got these big libraries of Bible pictures and things. And I pick from 'em and try and make 'em relevant. And I gotta discipline myself, because I get so distracted looking at all the pictures.

I think, "doug, you gotta be studying. Stop stargazing and looking at all these pictures." The eyes never filled with seeing. It's like there's an appetite. The ears are never filled with hearing. You know it's interesting, I said this oh, I guess a year or so ago, and I'm just assuming you remember everything I've said here, when we did a talk on music.

But until thomas edison, if you wanted to hear music, you only had a couple of choices. For the first 6,000 years of man's history, if you wanted to hear music, you needed to listen to somebody sing or you needed to sing. You needed to go down to the local country store and hope that there was someone there sitting on the bench that could play a fiddle, or that could strum a guitar, or play a saw or something. And people used to make their own music. And then you'd listen to it.

And then you'd go home. You might whistle on your way home. But if you wanted music, you had to make it. It had to be produced by you or your friends or your family. People sang a lot more back then.

But now, people go all day long, they walk around with these headphones on, driving their bicycles into telephone poles, because they can't hear. And just you've seen the folks jogging around the block. And everybody's listening to music all the time, in their car, and in the work it's going, and in their homes. And the ear is never full of hearing. The mouth is not satisfied with eating.

People used to make a trip to the supermarket once a month back in the days when we were a more rural community. They'd get the staples and they'd grow everything else. I don't want to ask for a show of hands how many of you stop at the Market four times a week. Some of you maybe just get bored and when you're hungry. Don't ever go to the supermarket when you're hungry.

You'll always buy much more than you need. The mouth is not filled with eating. Let's move on here, number 8, "for what has the wise man more than the fool?" Now what he means by that is does the wise man still have to eat just like the fool has to eat? Does the wise man get hungry again just like the fool gets hungry? He said, "even the King is fed from the field." Now Solomon's great love in life was wisdom. He sought out wisdom. He loved wisdom.

And then at the end of his life, he says, "you know what? All of my basic needs are the same as the needs of the fool. And I'm gonna die like the fool dies. I'll probably have a better tombstone." But he's trying to say, "what really matters?" Okay now, having said that, is there a difference in the Bible between who is wise and who is foolish? What is wisdom biblically? I'm not gonna tell ya. The fear of the Lord. Who said that? Solomon and David.

"The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom." And so if a person goes through life, those who fear the Lord they may die; the fool may die. But is the reward different? And then he goes on and he adds to that. "What does the poor man have, who knows how to walk before the living?" Now you notice he's not calling the poor man the fool? This is a poor man who knows how to walk before the living. That means he is a wise, poor man. But does he have an advantage? So he's comparing the wise man, the foolish man, the poor man.

There's some things that all humans have in common, don't we? Do we all get hungry? All get sick. We all die. Eyes aren't full of seeing. Ears are not full of hearing. And so he is asking a lot of rhetorical questions, not because he doesn't believe there's answers for these things.

If you ever want to know what Ecclesiastes is all about, and I know I'm jumping ahead here, go to the end of the book. If you want to understand a parable of Jesus, it's usually the last line of what he says in his parable. If you want to understand the book of Ecclesiastes, you go to the last verse. You know what the last verse is of Ecclesiastes? "Hear the conclusion of the whole matter: fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man. For God will bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good or evil.

" And so he's asking through this book. He's not discouraged. These things are inspired. He's saying, "when you boil it all down, what really matters?" Solomon's saying, "I found that it's not riches." We're not even saved by intellect. Are there a lot of very brilliant people out there that are very evil? I mean there's some very, some of the greatest minds--they're finding right now that America is deficient in experts in science and technology.

Most of them now are coming out of china. And do you know it's an atheistic country? A lot of brilliance, a lot of wisdom, lot of engineering, lot of science. It could be a lot of evil, a lot of lostness, a lot of emptiness, a lot of suicide too. And so iq and knowledge is not always synonymous with happiness and purpose. So he's asking a lot of these questions.

Alright, where did I leave off here? Number, I finished number 8, number 9, "better is the sight of the eyes than the wandering of desire. This also is vanity and the grasping of the wind." Let me give you a lose translation of that. Benjamin franklin, "a bird in the hand is better than two in the bush." Better to have something that you can actually see is there in front of you, you've got it, it's there, than the wandering of desire. Thinking, "one of these days, I'm hoping to have," such and such, and never satisfied because you have not realized what you want, what the true happiness comes from. Keep moving here.

"This also is vanity and the grasping of the wind." So many people are unhappy because they don't ever know how to enjoy what they've got. Have you met people before that they're always on the verge of the next greatest scheme. They don't really ever enjoy what they've got. "But there's something in the works right now. I've got a connection.

I've got a plan. I've made this investment." And it's always something beyond there, the wandering of desire. And their lives are spent in vanity. You and I know people, they spend their whole lives chasing bubbles. They're chasing illusions.

And they never really get it. That's why he says, "better the sight of the eyes," knowing that you've got what you've got there. The other is vanity. Number 10, "whatever one is, he has been named already, for it is known that he is man; and cannot contend with him who is mightier than he." Now let me read this to you with incorporating the Hebrew. This is how it would come out.

I'm in Ecclesiastes 6:10, "whatever one is, he has been named already," and that's, for one thing, that's saying, "there's nothing new under the sun." And does God know who you are before you're born? What did the Lord say to Jeremiah? "While you were in the womb, I called you." Did God know about John the baptist before he was born, that his life were told? What about the life of Jesus? Have you read the prophecy in Isaiah, is it 50 about cyrus? I may have given you the wrong chapter, but it's close there. Cyrus the King, Isaiah prophecies this king who would rise up from the persians. And it gives great specifics, that he would let the people of Israel go home, what 150 years before he was born. Then another prophet said that there, a prophet from judah said, "a king is going to be born, josiah by name," several hundred years before he was born. This prophet foretold.

We don't even know the prophet's name, but the prophet says, "a king by the name of josiah will be born," and that he would "burn the bones of the false priests on this false altar." Knew him by name. Everything that's done God has named it already. It's really amazing when you think about it. But I want to read on the rest of this verse here. "For it is known that he is man.

" The way that translates is "that he is adam." The word adam means earth. Adam came from the earth. And it's similar to the word edom. You know the edomites were named after esau, his descendents who wanted the red lentils that Jacob was making. Now stay with me, edom means red earth.

And so here adam is made from the earth. And I don't know, evidently it was rich and red back then. But that was the word they used. You ever seen red clay before? Sometimes you can see red earth. Have any of you ever been to "the painted desert" in New Mexico? Any of you ever heard of "the painted desert?" Oh, it's spectacular.

But it's only really spectacular if you see it during sunrise. The sun comes up, going through the atmosphere, and it adds kind of an orange glow. And all these strata of white and orange and gray and all these colors, it's like a rainbow. And you look at the horizon of all these, oh it's the badlands, you know the mesas and all these different colored strata. And they call it "the painted desert.

" It's one of the most beautiful places. It's enchanted when you look at it. Anyway, so why did I say that? Red earth. And so it's talking about adam. It says, "he is just adam.

He is earth. And he cannot contend with him who is mightier than he." Doug's translation: God knows all about our lives. He has formed us. We are the creation. He is the creator.

We are made from dust. "Dust you are, and unto dust you return." Solomon again is taking a look at the big picture that we are in the waiting room. This life has really only got one purpose that we should find good. What is the good that he is challenging us to find? Someone look for me in Mark 10. Go with me in your Bibles to the book of Mark.

Matter of fact, now I'm gonna have to go there real quick because--mark 10:18. Who will read that for me? Got a couple of hands, whoever is closer. He was first back there. You grab somebody quick. Pick someone.

Mark 10, and we want verse 18. "And Jesus said unto him, 'why callest thou me good? There is none good but one, that is, God." Thank you. This for me unlocked this chapter. 'Cause he's talking about if a man's got everything, so that he's got all this good and he doesn't enjoy the good, and there's several references like that in the chapter, who is good? God is good. So when a man has all the good in life, doesn't the Bible say, "every good and perfect gift comes from--?" "From God.

" When he's not enjoying the good, what is he not enjoying? What it's really talking about is if a man lives his life, and he's got every earthly possession, but he doesn't have God in his possession; he doesn't have God in his position; he doesn't have God in his life, in the people, the relationships, if he's got everything and he doesn't have good, he doesn't know how to enjoy God, his life, it would have been better that he were a stillborn child. Because what is the real purpose in life? To find the good. And what is the good in life? "No one is good but God." The good in life is God that he wants us to enjoy. Alright, let's move on. I'm almost done.

Ecclesiastes 6:11, "since there are many things that increase vanity, how is man the better?" He's challenging again with a rhetorical question. There's so many vain things that people pursue in life. If you were to take the average person in the street, 99 out of of them, you asked them, "what are you doing today?" And you would find that most of them are chasing after the wind. They're not pursuing things that have eternal value. The only thing that really matters is what? When Jesus said--people worry about what am I going to eat, what am I going to drink? You're going to get hungry again.

You're going to get thirsty again." What did Jesus say? "Seek ye first the Kingdom of God and his righteousness." This is the only thing that really matters in life. And all the other things will be added to you. All the other good will come, whether you're rich or whether you're poor. Can a poor man enjoy life? Paul said, "I've learned in whatever state I'm in to be content." There's rich men that don't enjoy life. There are poor that are very happy.

Believe me, I just came from india and I saw some of the nicest people. They seemed to enjoy life, even though many of them were very poor, especially the Christians, but if you seek first the Kingdom of God. Now verse 12, I want to get through this. "For who knows what is good for man in life," God is good, "all the days of his vain life which he passes as a shadow? Who can tell a man what will happen after him under the sun? He's saying go after that which is gonna last after you're gone, finding the good in life, which is God. I have run out of time.

One more time, I want to remind our friends, we have a free offer. If you didn't hear us at the beginning of the broadcast, just call and ask for the free book, "teach us to pray." And it's 866-788-3966. Ask for offer number 717. Sorry, we've run out of time. God bless you friends.

We look forward to studying with you again together next Sabbath.

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