Our #JourneyThroughTheBible takes us into Chapters 8 & 9 of Ecclesiastes today. An analysis of composition and style of Ecclesiastes are of Jewish origin and therefore follow a cyclical logic. We must look for cycles of thought centered on the main point or patterns of thought that return to a main idea.
It is the repetition of phrases that are the clues we must follow. In this pattern of thought, the main points are not found stated but rather they are implied in repetitious overstatement of what is being pondered.
Thus the preacher’s point is not to say all of life is pointless. Rather he keeps reiterating questions at the center of his audience’s ponderings, “Is all of life pointless?” The implied answer is no, but he keeps the repetition going, drawing in more and more conundrums to make the final conclusion that much more profound.
Of “all things done under the sun,” the preacher concedes the appropriate wisdom for living wisely in a fallen world, but the way he constructs his dialogue, it is seen that even wise living in a fallen world does not seem to offer soul satisfying relief. In other words, while living wise and good lives is of great value and will enrich us, goodness as an end in itself is also meaningless apart from God.
There are many who live good lives who do not acknowledge the true God. There are many ways to live a good life and many good standards by which to live. Any person who follows Buddha, Allah, or Ghandi can give you a good standard by which to live, but the end of those teachings is death and therefore living by those standards is meaningless and empty. If we were simply told that straight out, we would be tempted to try and find that out by experience and thereby miss the point. This is one of the hardest things for us humans to understand.
The preacher of Ecclesiastes draws his argument out of the common experience of his audience.
Deep soul-satisfying meaning in life requires more than simply living a good, law abiding life.
Praying for Big Things!