Chapter two of Ecclesiastes is more relevant than tonight’s news. It is scarier than any Halloween horror flick. Here Solomon paints a dark picture of a man on a quest.
A man searching and seeking.
A man always looking but never finding.
This week we will walk with Solomon as he lays out the four primary paths people travel down to find meaning and fulfillment. It is as if he has returned from a life-long pursuit of a meaningful life. A pursuit that took him all the way down the paths of incredible accomplishments and the pursuit of lasting pleasure.
But this chapter is not an invitation–it is a warning. A warning from someone who traveled the path all the way to the end: You won’t find what you are looking for down this road.
What are the paths?
Path 1: The Intellectual Quest. The first quest takes him into the classroom. Will being at the top of Solomon’s class and attaining wisdom and knowledge bring him fulfillment? Is meaning found in academic achievement?
Path 2: The Social Quest. The second quest takes him into the frat house. If significance isn’t found in the classroom, then is it that he needs to get out and experience life? Surely the key to “the good life” is to party hard. Are laughter and liquor the path to life?
Path 3: The Occupational Quest. Next Solomon moves from the frat house to the boardroom. He dedicates himself to monumental achievements. He builds, he acquires, he accomplishes…more than nearly any man in history. But, in the end, is he satisfied?
Path 4: The Sensual Quest. His last attempt at finding life is in the pursuit of pleasure. Here he leaves no desire unsatisfied and no impulse ungratified.
And what do we see? In the end, each path leads to vanity. Each path is a chasing after the wind.
He still hasn’t found what he is looking for.
He has everything…except joy.
He has experienced everything…except peace.
He can buy anything…except happiness.
He has it all…especially despair.
The chapter is not an invitation but a warning:
You won’t find true joy down these roads.
Hear and heed.
Learning to live in light of the end
Life under the Sun
- The Search we are on
- Stage 1: The Intelectual Quest (1:16-18)
- Stage 2: The Social Quest (:2-1-3)
- Stage 3: The Occupational Quest (2:4-9)
- Stage 4: The Sensual Quest (2:10-11)
- The Shadow we can’t shake (2:12-23)
- They fail to bring lasting satisfaction
- They fail to bring lasting recognition
- They fail to make a lasting contribution
Life under the Son
- He flips the script.
- He sets the table.