Victory Series Bible Study Week 10: Meaningless Living
This week we continue our study with the focus being on the ultimate effect of humanity's fall from grace: meaningless life. Our verse of focus is Ecclesiastes 1: 1-18:
"1 The words of the Preacher, the son of David, king in Jerusalem.
2 Vanity of vanities, saith the Preacher, vanity of vanities; all is vanity.
3 What profit hath a man of all his labour which he taketh under the sun?
4 One generation passeth away, and another generation cometh: but the earth abideth for ever.
5 The sun also ariseth, and the sun goeth down, and hasteth to his place where he arose.
6 The wind goeth toward the south, and turneth about unto the north; it whirleth about continually, and the wind returneth again according to his circuits.
7 All the rivers run into the sea; yet the sea is not full; unto the place from whence the rivers come, thither they return again.
8 All things are full of labour; man cannot utter it: the eye is not satisfied with seeing, nor the ear filled with hearing.
9 The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun.
10 Is there any thing whereof it may be said, See, this is new? it hath been already of old time, which was before us.
11 There is no remembrance of former things; neither shall there be any remembrance of things that are to come with those that shall come after.
12 I the Preacher was king over Israel in Jerusalem.
13 And I gave my heart to seek and search out by wisdom concerning all things that are done under heaven: this sore travail hath God given to the sons of man to be exercised therewith.
14 I have seen all the works that are done under the sun; and, behold, all is vanity and vexation of spirit.
15 That which is crooked cannot be made straight: and that which is wanting cannot be numbered.
16 I communed with mine own heart, saying, Lo, I am come to great estate, and have gotten more wisdom than all they that have been before me in Jerusalem: yea, my heart had great experience of wisdom and knowledge.
17 And I gave my heart to know wisdom, and to know madness and folly: I perceived that this also is vexation of spirit.
18 For in much wisdom is much grief: and he that increaseth knowledge increaseth sorrow."
Being that the The Fall left man separated from God (spiritual death), Adam and his descendants were forced to provide for their own needs outside of the Garden of Eden. This meant that man was bereft of his original purpose for being: an intimate relationship with God. Essentially, man no longer had a purpose and was left scrambling for a new one.
Look to Soloman (the author of the above passage), under whom Israel experienced a Golden Age. At the height of his power and wisdom, there was nothing he could not have. And yet he still finds no contentment. He states that he has seen "all the works under the sun" and the best appraisal he can give is to declare it to be a "vexation of spirit" (Ecclesiastes 1: 14). Even mighty Soloman struggled with the void left following The Fall.
Most of us today struggle with some sort of identity problem. We view ourselves as mothers, fathers. We identify ourselves by our professions or the social groups to which we claim membership. But what happens if we are unable to have children, or we lose our children? What happens if we can no longer work at our chosen professions? What happens if we lose our social groups? The result is a return of the void, of the meaninglessness of our lives. It returns so quickly because it never left in the first place. We merely ignored it, and now we no longer can.
We all have a deeper longing that our kids and our professions and all the other aspects of earthly life can't fulfill. To paraphrase another author, we have a "God-shaped hole" in our beings. Only through having and maintaining a relationship with God can we ever truly overcome the sense of meaninglessness that lies on the outskirts of our lives. The path to God is through Christ.
"20 For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope, 21 Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God." (Romans 8: 20-21)
Questions for consideration over the coming week:
-Do you think the average person feels good about him or herself? Why or why not?
-Can the natural person find his or her identity and self-worth on their own? Why or why not?
-Are there any insignificant children of God? Explain.
-Who are you and what do you think of yourself?
Next week we move on to discuss the redemption of humanity through Jesus Christ. Pay close attention to the answers you give for the above questions and remember them for the coming weeks. I hope everyone has a fantastic week, Stay strong, gents!