7th August 2020

Live Under The Son 

“All this I saw, as I applied my mind to everything done under the sun.”
Ecclesiastes 8:9 (NIV) 

When you read through the book of Ecclesiastes it can be quite depressing. The author calls himself ‘the teacher’ (Ecclesiastes 1:1) or ‘the preacher’ (NKJV), and what he lays forth is all doom and gloom: “’Meaningless! Meaningless!’ says the Teacher. ‘Utterly meaningless! Everything is meaningless.’”  (verse 2). The Hebrew word hevel that is rendered meaningless is used over 50 times in the book and has the meaning, ‘vapour’, ‘breath’, ‘vain’, ‘useless’ or ‘worthless’. As he reflects on life he sees it passes so quickly that anything we aim to do is just a waste of time.

We might want to get a good education and be wise, but…“I applied myself to the understanding of wisdom…but I learned that this, too, is a chasing after the wind. For with much wisdom comes much sorrow; the more knowledge, the more grief” (verses17-18).

We might want to enjoy the pleasures of life, but…“I said to myself, ‘Come now, I will test you with pleasure to find out what is good.’ But that also proved to be meaningless” (Ecclesiastes 2:1).

We might work hard at our jobs, but…“I hated all the things I had toiled for under the sun, because I must leave them to the one who comes after me” (verse 18).

The injustice of life hits our author hard: “In this meaningless life of mine I have seen both of these: the righteous perishing in their righteousness, and the wicked living long in their wickedness” (Ecclesiastes 7:15). As a result he came to hate life (Ecclesiastes 2:17). Why was this? Another phrase that is used repeatedly by our teacher/preacher is ‘under the sun’. He had tried everything under the sun, and was able to say, “I have seen all the things that are done under the sun; all of them are meaningless, a chasing after the wind” (Ecclesiastes 1:14). This phrase, ‘under the sun’, is really the key to the problem. When we live our lives purely from a physical point of view then it is all hevel. If everything we live for is material, earthly, ‘under the sun’, then we too will end up despairing of life.

What’s the solution? It’s given for us right at the end of the book: “The words of the wise prod us to live well. They’re like nails hammered home, holding life together. They are given by God, the one Shepherd…The last and final word is this: Fear God. Do what he tells you. And that’s it” (Ecclesiastes 12:11, 13-14 MSG).

Jesus Christ identified himself as The One True Shepherd (John 10) and on the Mount of Transfiguration a voice pronounced, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased. Listen to him!”  (Matthew 17:5). The secret to life is living in obedience to God by listening to and following Jesus. This is what gives life meaning and purpose and ensures it is not all hevel. So let’s heed the conclusion of our teacher and the voice on the mountain by applying ourselves to live under the Son.

Prayer
Father, please help us not to approach life from a purely physical view point but rather to be dedicated to following Jesus.
Amen

Study by Barry Robinson

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About the Author:
Barry Robinson is an Elder and part of the National Ministry Team directing Grace Communion International in the UK and Ireland. He is also a pastoral worker in the South of England, particularly the Camberwell and North London congregations of Grace Communion International.

Local Congregation:
Grace Communion International Camberwell
The Salvation Army Hall
105 Lomond Grove
Camberwell
LONDON
SE5 7HN

Meeting Time:
Saturday 11 am

Local Congregational Contact:
Barry Robinson
Email:  camberwell@gracecom.church

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