Friday, 4th February 2022
Rev Daniel Xi An Poon
Section One V1-3 Oppression Brings Vanity
What is the life without God? God is always there, but because we our choices and our sins, we may live a life without God. In the first and second chapters of Ecclesiastes, we see vanity of vanities, then in chapter three we start to see God in the mist of the vanities. In this chapter, King Solomon used first person perspective to review his own life.
V1 ‘Then I returned and considered all the oppression that is done under the sun: And look! The tears of the oppressed, but they have no comforter—On the side of their oppressors there is power, but they have no comforter.’ Human beings always seek for comfort, we want to be recognised, be understood, be comforted… but if there is no God in our life, then we will never find comfort in this world. Everything is vanity and only God is our comforter.
V2 ‘Therefore I praised the dead who were already dead, more than the living who are still alive.’ This is another thought we may all have thought about in the past, we feel the world is full of suffering and being dead seems to be a better way than staying alive. When we don’t have God in our lives, we will see ourselves more than God and we will always feel in lack.
Section Two V4-6 Labour Brings Vanity
V4 ‘Again, I saw that for all toil and every skilful work a man is envied by his neighbour. This also is vanity and grasping for the wind.’ We work hard but people still find faults in us and complain about us. At the end of the day, we only want to feed ourselves and our family, all our labour seems to be in vanity. What is it that we seek in our work? Without God, we cannot see the purpose in our work and we will always feel tired and weary.
Section Three V7-12 Loneliness Brings Vanity
V8 ‘There is one alone, without companion: He has neither son nor brother. Yet there is no end to all his labours, nor is his eye satisfied with riches. But he never asks, “For whom do I toil and deprive myself of good?” This also is vanity and a grave misfortune.’ We can easily see the issues of life of other people, and when we see them, we will feel upset. It’s easy to find faults in others and blame on others, but at the end we are just focusing on ourselves, we are just being selfish. We must learn to see others with the eyesight of Jesus Christ. How does Jesus see and what would Jesus do?
V12 ‘Though one may be overpowered by another, two can withstand him. And a threefold cord is not quickly broken.’ All relationships need commitment, do not see any relationship from a selfish angle, we don’t just live better lives when we are in a relationship, we all need to commit. Without commitment, no matter how many friends and family members we have, our lives will still feel empty. Commitment is the key to a relationship, it’s about denying ourselves and benefiting others. Only by following Jesus we can truly learn commitment in a relationship, and we can truly get out of loneliness.
Section Four V13-16 Power Brings Vanity
V14 ‘For he comes out of prison to be king, although he was born poor in his kingdom.’ Joseph was an Israelite among the Egyptians, he had the power and authority, everyone except for Pharaoh had to listen to him. He had the power and wealth, and he lived a successful life. But many years later, after he died, his descendants became the slaves in Egypt. Without God, we can only see vanity in the power and authority. Whereas we must know that all authority comes from God, by the grace of God we can have the power. And when we have this power, we must give thanks and carry our responsibilities with all our hearts and mind.
传道书 4 – 没有神的世界是虚空的
V1 这里的“我”指的是本书第一章1节讲的“传道者”- 所罗门王。“我”之前看到世上都是“虚空”，到第三章的时候开始看到“神”。到了本章，作者又回来看到“我”的角度。就好像原本我们在学房的时候似乎像活在天上一样，但放假回来后又好像一切不一样，变得更加“贴地气”。这个时候，我们就要更加警醒。当我们没有神的时候，我们看到的不是生命树，而是觉得自己被神或权柄对我们的要求“欺压”，自己失去自由、委屈了也没有人来安慰我们。其实这个世界没有人能真正了解我们。