Summary: This sermon points people to Jesus in spite of life’s mysteries.
Intro: Video: “Paradoxes of Life” (sermonspice.com)
There are so many things that just don’t make sense in life
These are the things that Solomon refers to as meaningless, futile, and says that figuring them out is like chasing the wind. (7:6, 15; 8:10, 14)
These inequalities are often referred to as paradoxes, enigmas and oxymorons. Here is my list of the top 12 oxymorons.
1. Pretty ugly
2. Alone Together
3. Jumbo Shrimp
4. Tight slacks
5. Definite maybe
6. Government Organization
7. Twelve-ounce pound cake
8. Same Difference
9. Peace Force
10. Exact estimate
11. Head Butt
12. Microsoft Works
Often the paradoxes of life are the results of a fallen world and things just don’t make sense.
So as we navigate through life we need the pearl of wisdom to guide us.
3 Paradoxes of Life
1. good problem (7:1-14)
Most of us would assume that a problem free life would offer us the best results. (so is there such a thing as a good problem?)
a. Most of life’s lessons are learned in the worst of times.
i. Troubles and difficulty often temper us and cause us to act with wisdom.
1) The best lessons are learned at the worst of times (vv.2-6)
a) Life is not a big party (vv.3-4)
b) You won’t find much wisdom in the party-hardy songs of fools (v.5)
c) The philosophies of fools may bring a lot of heat and noise but it only last for a short time (v.6)
ii. A little girl walking in a garden noticed a particularly beautiful flower. She admired its beauty and enjoyed its fragrance. “It’s so pretty!” she exclaimed. As she gazed on it, her eyes followed the stem down to the soil in which it grew. “This flower is too pretty to be planted in such dirt!” she cried. So she pulled it up by its roots and ran to the water faucet to wash away the soil. It wasn’t long until the flower wilted and died.
When the gardener saw what the little girl had done, he exclaimed, “You have destroyed my finest plant!”
“I’m sorry, but I didn’t like it in that dirt,” she said. The gardener replied, “I chose that spot and mixed the soil because I knew that only there could it grow to be a beautiful flower.”
Often we murmur because of the circumstances into which God has sovereignly placed us. We fail to realize that He is using our pressures, trials, and difficulties to bring us to a new degree of spiritual beauty. Contentment comes when we accept what God is doing and thank Him for it. Ted Sutherland @sermoncentral.com
b. Sometimes the worst things that happen to us in life are also the best things that happen to us. (James 1:2-4)
c. Who can resist His will? (vv.13-14)
2. bad luck (7:15-29; 8:9-14)
I heard the story about a superstitious guy named Frank. Frank believed that five was his special number. He was born on May 5, had five children and lived at 555 East 55 Street. At the track on his 55th birth-day, he was surprised to find a horse named Numero Cinco running in the fifth race. So five minutes before the race, he went to the fifth window and put five thousand down on Numero Cinco.
Sure enough…, the horse finished fifth. Paul Decker@sermoncentral.com
a. Why do the wicked prosper and the righteous suffer?
i. Some evil people are wise but not righteous
ii. Some are righteous but not wise (v.16)
iii. Solomon suggest we live a life of balance (v.16)
iv. Logic tells us that it must be the “survival of the fittest”
b. Solomon said he tried evil and it left him bitter (v.26)
c. His conclusion (8:12-14) is that those who fear God are still blessed.
3. limited freedom (8:1-8, 15-17; 7:13-14)
a. God has given man a free will but at the same retains His sovereignty.
b. Let’s work on the things we can change and leave the rest to God. (v.8)
i. No one will escape God’s ultimate judgment (v.12-13)
c. Let’s enjoy the life God has given instead of being dissatisfied about what we think we are missing. (vv.15-17)
i. Oliver Cromwell was a leader in the English Revolution in the 1600’s. His secretary was sent out on some important business. He stayed one night at a seaport town, and tossed and turned all night in his bed, unable to sleep.
According to an old custom, a servant slept in his room, and had no trouble sleeping. Finally, the secretary woke the servant and he asked why his master could not sleep.
The secretary said, "I am so afraid something will go wrong with the meeting."
"Master," said the slave, "may I ask a question or two?"