Summary: This is the final in a study of the book of Ecclesiastes

Life Liberty and the Pursuit

Ecclesiastes 12

Do you remember the Cadillac slogan from a few years ago?

Life , Liberty and the Pursuit

Ecclesiastes is about the Pursuit

And Solomon had his share of pursuits

We are wrapping up our study of this book

We are skipping chapters 10 and 11, since they are really just a collection of random proverbs

There are some good ones in there like

Ecclesiastes 10:8-9 If you dig a pit, you might fall in; if you break down a wall, a snake might bite you. [9] You could even get hurt by chiseling a stone or chopping a log.

So I encourage you to read those two chapters this next week

But throughout Ecclesiastes we learn that Solomon had his share of pursuits

So as we examine our own pursuits I ask you this…

“Are you a hedgehog or a fox?”

In his famous essay “The Hedgehog and the Fox”, Isaiah Berlin divided the world into hedgehogs and foxes

Based on the ancient Greek parable

The fox knows many things but the hedgehog knows one big thing

The fox is a cunning creature, able to devise a myriad of complex strategies for sneak attacks upon the Hedgehog

Day in and day out the fox circles around the hedgehog’s den. Waiting for the perfect moment to pounce

Fast sleek, beautiful, fleet of foot, and crafty the fox looks like a sure winner

The hedgehog , on the other hand, is a dowdier creature

Looking like a mix up between a porcupine and a small armadillo

He waddles along going about his simple day searching for food and taking care of his home

The fox waits in cunning silence at the juncture of the trail

The hedgehog, minding his own business wanders right into the path of the fox

“Aha I’ve got you now” thinks the fox

He leaps out bounding across the ground lighting fast

The little hedgehog, sensing danger looks up and thinks

“great here we go again. Will he ever learn?”

Rolling up into a perfect little ball the hedgehog becomes a sphere of sharp spikes pointing outward in all directions

The fox, bounding towards its prey, sees the defense and calls of the attack

Each day, some version of this battle takes place

And despite the greater cunning of the fox the hedgehog always wins

So why did Isaiah Berlin divide the world into hedgehogs and foxes?

Foxes pursue many ends at the same time and see the world in all its complexity

The are scattered of diffused moving on many levels

Never integrating their thinking into one overall concept

Hedgehogs on the other hand simplify a complex world into a single organizing idea

A basic principle or concept that unifies and guides everything

It doesn’t matter how complex the world

A hedgehog reduces all challenges and dilemmas to simple, almost simplistic hedgehog ideas

So which are you? A hedgehog or a fox?

As we look at the last chapter in Ecclesiastes

It does very well to sum up the entire book that we have been studying

As we go through life we have a multitude of choices before us each day concerning how we will spend our lives

Life is a journey, a trip down the freeway of life

And our one purpose in life is to glorify God

But as we travel we are confronted with a multitude of choices, or exits

Vying for our time and attention

Life Liberty and the Pursuit

If we are not careful we will take a wrong exit

And end up somewhere we never intended to be.

I. Solomon - a fox

Solomon is a classic example of the fox

He was a gifted man with many talents and interests

As we studied before in chapter 1:13 he tells us that he had a desire to understand the complexities of our world

I gave my heart to seek and search out by wisdom concerning all things that are done under heaven

In his search for satisfaction chapter 2 tells us that he tried all sorts of pleasures and entertainment

And we learned that you can’t take it with you

He tells us of his building campaigns

He built houses, vineyards, gardens , orchards, lakes and irrigation systems

But probably the most telling of all the things Solomon wrote is found in 2:10-11

All that my eyes desired I did not refuse them. I did not withhold my heart from any pleasure, for my heart was pleased because of all my labor and this was my reward for all my labor. 11 Thus I considered all my activities which my hands had done and the labor which I had exerted, and behold all was vanity and striving after the wind and there was no profit under the sun.

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