Chasing Wind? Introduction to Ecclesiastes
10/11 JULY 2021 | TRADITIONAL AND PRAYER & PRAISE SERVICES
Rev Raymond Fong
Scripture Passage: Ecclesiastes 1 (NIV)
WATCH | SERMON (VIDEO)
(Sermon recorded at 11.30am P&P Service)
READ | SERMON NOTES
Summary | The author of Ecclesiastes begins with the proposition that everything we pursue in life is chasing the wind. You can’t catch the wind. Like vapour, it is without substance, transient and elusive. In an earnest reflection on the purpose and meaning of life, the wise teacher asked; ‘What does a man gain from his labour at which he toils under the sun?’ (Eccl 1:3) The answer – nothing.
Three reasons why it seems meaningless:
- The wearying course of Nature that changes nothing (v4-8). Nature shows that while it is constantly in motion, nothing changes.
- There is nothing new under the sun (v9-11). The more things change, the more they stay the same. There is no remembrance of the past and future.
- The foolishness revealed by wisdom (v12-18). However wise we think we are, it is all in vain. What is crooked cannot be made straight and what is lacking cannot be counted (v15).
Wind cannot be caught, however hard the chase. Paradoxically, we may only see the point, when we ask, ‘What’s the point?’ It is only when we realise how futile life can be, do we turn to the one who gives true meaning in our lives. The sombre observations in Ecclesiastes invite us to search deeper for something more than just the pursuit of the things in life.
- Embrace the reality of Hebel (Hebrew word for breath) to be humble before God. Life is brief and fragile. Man is like a breath; his days are like a fleeting shadow (Ps 144:4). We are here and gone tomorrow. We do not know what the future holds. Only with true humility can we embrace our fragility and acknowledge our utter need for God.
- Live a life centred on God to find true meaning in God. When God is at the centre, there is a godly contentment that comes from knowing that he is right there with us. Then there is meaning and purpose in life. We find simple contentment when we recognise that everything is from God.
The repetitive movement of nature is not meaningless. It glorifies God (Ps 104, Job 38-41)! It is also not true that there is nothing new under the sun, because God can make and do something new (Isa 42:9, 2 Cor 5:17)!
The future is as bright as the promises of God (Adoniram Judson). When we allow God’s Word to transform us, we will find true purpose and meaning in life. There is a new hope and redemptive possibility.
Let us humble ourselves before the Lord and make God the true centre of our life. Instead of chasing the wind, let’s chase a worthy God who holds the wind in His hands (Prov 30:4).
(Sermon Notes by Denis Koh)
PONDER | REFLECTION QUESTIONS
1. “Meaningless, everything is meaningless!” (NIV, v2). To what extent do you agree or disagree with the Teacher?
2. In verses 8 to 11, the Teacher asserts that nothing is new "under the sun". Share your reflections if this is true for you.
3. What are you pursuing for meaning and satisfaction today? Take time to reflect and share.
4. If life and all we pursue is indeed like “breath”, here today and gone tomorrow, how does that impact the way we live? How will that affect our relationship with God?
5. What does it mean for God to be at the centre of your life? Do you truly believe He is the source of true meaning? If so, how will you practically and intentionally pursue Him?
6. Spend time in silence to rest in God. Take time to pray for each other.