By Mike Dawson
Pastor Emeritus, First Baptist Church, Columbia
Focal Passage: Ecclesiastes 1:12-15; 2:18-26
Remember your (or your child’s) first chocolate ‘Easter’ bunny? Maybe it was huge, and you could hardly wait to enjoy its chocolaty sweetness. So you took a big bite into one of those long ears, only to find the bunny rabbit was — hollow. Many people around us have been disappointed like that. That’s why the book of Ecclesiastes, although written nearly 3,000 years ago by King Solomon, is so relevant; it speaks of an emptiness, hollowness and void which multitudes these days are feeling.
The Old Testament contains three main divisions: the Historical books (Genesis through Esther), the Poetical books (Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Solomon), and Prophetical books (Isaiah through Malachi). Our study this quarter involves two of the five Poetical books; we completed Job last week; we begin today in Ecclesiastes.
‘Ecclesiastes’ refers to someone who speaks to the assembly (ecclesia) — ‘a preacher’ or ‘a philosopher.’ Dr. J. Vernon McGee says that he prefers ‘philosopher’ because it’s less likely to be misunderstood. Solomon had come to a different point in his life than when he wrote Proverbs. Earlier he wrote under the Spirit, now he’s writing “under the sun” — a phrase he puts in his book 29 times. He had used his God-given (heavenly) wisdom at first, now he’s using man-made (earthly) wisdom. Solomon was walking with God in Proverbs; here in Ecclesiastes he has walked away from God. Yes, one of the wisest of men has become one of the biggest fools! [Read more…]