Full text of Zac Poonen’s teaching on ‘Book of Ecclesiastes’ which is part of the popular series called Through The Bible.
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Zac Poonen – Bible Teacher
Let’s turn to the Word of God in Ecclesiastes this morning.
Ecclesiastes begins with these words. ‘The words of the Preacher, the son of David, (that is Solomon) king in Jerusalem, ‘Vanity of vanities,’ [or futility of futilities, or… ‘Emptiness of emptiness! Everything is empty.’
It’s quite amazing that a book of Scripture should begin with such words: Emptiness of emptiness, everything is empty. What advantage does a man have in all his work, which he has under the sun?
It’s one of those difficult books in the Bible to understand. And yet, as we read it, we see why God has placed it in Scripture.
You see, Solomon was, humanly speaking, the wisest man that lived as far as human wisdom is concerned. The Lord told him when he asked for wisdom and understanding heart, the Lord said to him, as we considered in 1 Kings 3 and verse 12-13, that he would have wisdom such as no one ever had before him or after him.
And in the years when he had a little fear of God way at the beginning, I think that was the time when he wrote Proverbs. And Proverbs demonstrates divine wisdom. Ecclesiastes demonstrates human wisdom. The wisdom, chapter 1 verse 3, of the man who lives under the sun. That expression, under the sun, comes very often. This man lived under the sun.
Proverbs demonstrates the wisdom of a man who lives above the sun, in the heavenlies, which is where we are called to live.
Then why has God placed the book of Ecclesiastes in the Bible? The Bible describes not only divine wisdom, but also human wisdom. For example, a large portion of the book of Job is the speeches of a number of people who said things that were wrong. God Himself said at the end to them, what you have said about Me was wrong. And yet a large section of the book of Job describes that.
The Bible says in Psalm 14 and verse 1, ‘the fool has said in his heart, there is no God.’ So, even what the fool has said is written in Scripture.
So, the book of Ecclesiastes has been written to show us, however clever you may be, and here is the cleverest and the most intelligent man that lived on the face of the earth, writing, you’ll still miss the way to find God if you depend on human cleverness.
Jesus once said in Matthew 11 and verse 25, He said, ‘I thank You, Father, that You have hidden these things from the clever and the intelligent, but you have revealed them unto babes.’
What do babes have which clever and intelligent people do not have? Jesus Himself said, the greatest in the kingdom of heaven is a child. Humility. It’s very difficult, very, very difficult to find a clever, intelligent person who is humble. Almost every one of them is proud unless they have understood the Lord. It’s not a crime to be intelligent, but it’s wrong to be proud of our intelligence.
What do babes have? All newborn babies, they’re not proud. So, Ecclesiastes is the writing of a man who tries to know God, but is proud of his intelligence.
Now, it’s very interesting. I want to show you two passages of Scripture which you may not have noticed. Even though Solomon was the wisest and the most intelligent man that ever lived, humanly speaking, yet, and even though he was the one who was going to construct the temple of God, yet we read these amazing words in 1 Chronicles and chapter 28.
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