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Introduction: Late in life Solomon strayed form God. He’s searching for the real meaning of life. His search is “under the sun” and that renders him somewhat blind to that which is “above the sun.” In this chapter you will note the word “saw” five times (verses 1, 4, 7, 15). He’s looking around at life. Warren Wiersbe lists four places Solomon visited: The courtroom, marketplace, highway and palace. I note he sees at least three classes of people: The oppressor (v. 1), the aggressor (v. 4), and successor (v. 13-16).
Let me introduce you to eight characters alluded to in this chapter: 1. larcenist (v. 1); 2. ladened (v. 1); 3. laborer (v. 4); 4. loafer (v. 5); lustful (v. 6); 6. loner (v. 8); 7. lender (v. 9-12); 8. leader (v. 13-16).
Solomon went looking around his world. We should look around our world as well. When we do we will see the same things Solomon saw. It’s a “see-saw” battle. When we look around what will we see?
I. The Good Guys Don’t Always Win (v. 1-3)
Innocent people oftentimes get shafted. Lot at what Solomon saw. It reads like the
A. Oppression – The ego-driven, power hungry maniac wants to dominate. The “top dogs” and “head hogs” are running roughshod over people. The poor are downtrodden and heartbroken.
B. Depression – Note the word “tears.” One day God will wipe away all tears (Rev. 7:17).
C. Suppression – “No comforter.” Many who could have brought comfort, but there was no concern.
D. Confession – (v. 2-3). This is not an argument justifying abortion or suicide. Hang in there. Why? See 3:15-17. The good guys don’t always win – in the here and now – but one day they will!
II. Envy Rules Many a Heart (v. 4)
The problem here is not his “hands,” but his “heart!” Note = “envy of his neighbor.”
He’s not talking about healthy competition, but an intense rivalry in a “dog eat dog” world. It’s the pursuit of being number one even if you have to be dishonest. Tragically, this mindset is pervasive in many a preacher’s heart.
III. Laziness Is a Surefire Path of Self-Destruction (v. 5)
The laborer drives. The loafer drifts. Solomon had no sympathy for the lazy
(Proverbs 6:10-11), neither did Paul (II Thess. 3:10).
IV. A Balanced Life Is a Wise Life (v. 6)
It’s better to have a few things (one handful) and be satisfied than to have many
things (two handfuls) and lose your health and peace of mind. Bring your labor and leisure into balance.
V. One Is an Awfully Lonely Number (v. 7-8)
It’s lonely at the top. Note “a man all alone,” “no end to toil,” “eyes were not
content,” “a miserable business.” And you thought your climb to fame, fortune and fun would make you somebody? What’s the profit if you lose your family and friends along the way?
VI. Everybody Needs a Friend (v. 9-12)
The secret to survival – have a friend! Note the 1-2-3 punch. Wiersbe helps us out
here. We need a friend when it comes to:
A. Working (v. 10) – Two can get more done. Two makes the difficult
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