Ecclesiastes Explained

Published on
April 23, 2024




The book of Ecclesiastes in a single episode. Bodie and Joey unpack the essential details of Ecclesiastes, where it falls on the storyline, the structure of the book, major themes and ideas, what Ecclesiastes teaches us about God, what it offers our Christian lives, and a couple of our favorite details to equip and inspire you to read, study, and love this book of wisdom from Solomon is the later years of his life.



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​Solomon kind of says a similar thing here. It says it will not be well with the wicked. In the end, and so brothers and sisters, if you're a believer out there, you need to remember Jesus conquers death. Jesus swallowed up death and gave us the victory. And only in Jesus, can we say to live is Christ and to die is gain. But if there's no Christ in life, then there's only loss in death. And so we need to recognize that Solomon is doing just an incredible job of laying out for us in his unique way in Ecclesiastes, where things are going to end up when all is said and done.

​Well, hello and welcome to the You Can Learn the Bible podcast, where we summarize complete Bible books in single episodes. I'm Bodie Quirk from YouCanLearntheBible.Com, here with Joey Rozek, Lead Pastor of Living Springs Fellowship in New Jersey. And so, Joey, it is not sunny in Southern California. What is it over in New

Ah, your weather is starting to match our weather Bodie, cause we were overcast here in New Jersey today. It's a bit of a cloudy day. We don't see the sun at all today. But we're going to be in a book though, that's going to help us to see life under the sun from man's perspective, viewing life from beginning to end and what life looks like when you see it in reflection

we're in the book of Ecclesiastes Bodie so, , I pray that God would give us some spiritual sunshine as we illuminate these pages of

Amen. Amen.

to take care of our cloudy days over here. So,

I love that. I love that. This is episode 27. So we are still in the wisdom literature section of our podcast.

We're just going from beginning to end, applying the same framework, the seven part framework, because we feel like in a single episode, we really hope to help equip you to read and study this book. So in this episode, what we're going to do is we're going to cover the essentials of Ecclesiastes, where it fits on the storyline, some of the major themes of this book, kind of the basic structure of how it's broken down. But we want to get into application. What can we learn about God from Ecclesiastes?

What can we apply to our life? What are some of those features? favorite things. These are the parts of our framework. We apply to every single episode. And so these wisdom books, Joey, have been fun. They've been a different challenge because there's been a time where we've needed to approach some of these differently.

Let's now begin with our first question. Number one, the essentials of the book of Ecclesiastes. So what are some things that you would say really helps set people up for success when they go to read this book? Maybe things that they should know beforehand about how to, how to approach this book. Hmm.

Yes. Well, I think this is going to be really helpful for our listeners is that Solomon, who was again, the wisest man to ever be on the earth outside of Jesus

wrote three books that all have a very unique angle to it. So song of Solomon is his book of a young man in love. And some beautiful spiritual undertones. We'll be looking at that in the future. Proverbs is his book written in his sort of middle of his life, giving the wisdom of somebody who has been able to impart truth on almost every area of life because God gave him this wisdom. But here's what's unique about Ecclesiastes. It's sort of the older man's Review of life.

Now he's got the wisdom from God, but he also has the cynicism of a man who's regretful for how he has wasted some of the wisdom that was given to him. So you really get to pick up on some great nuances of what is important to In life. So this was written about at the end of Solomon's life. So we're going to say about 935 bc, toward the end of Solomon's life.

The genre of this is wisdom, but it's wisdom, unlike Proverbs, it's reflections on both the good, bad and ugly. And also why we need to take serious steps. The decisions that we make. So again, the author is Solomon. Oh, now in this book, he's called the King of Israel.

He's also called the preacher, and so we're going to kind of see a book that is like a big sermon. And we're going to show you that in our structure in a little bit here. Now the setting takes place in Israel in its most prosperous time, which is interesting. This is where everything on the outside can look so good, but Solomon's going to take us on the inside and see what's, what that's all about.

Now, the purpose of this book, Bodie is to give us an understanding of the vanity of life if you don't have God in his rightful place, we're going to see so much of it is just waste anyway. And then of course the audience is national Israel, but always. applies to every generation of faith. In fact, even people outside of the Christian faith or the Jewish faith have quoted it and even sung songs about this book because of its unique poetry and a way of putting words together. There we go.

Awesome. That's yeah. I love how you got us started. Did this book, people know, they'll say the threefold chord at weddings, you know, not even knowing that they're quoting this from this book. And so we'll get to some of the beautiful details, but Joey, thank you for orienting us, right. So this is where we want to get our minds in place when we go to read this book, knowing some of the things that Joey just walked us through, that was awesome.

Second, number two, the storyline. Where does Ecclesiastes fit in the story of the Bible? A lot of it Joey just covered. There's some key things, though, to keep in mind when we ask this question.

Again, wisdom literature isn't quite as concerned as, historical narratives, as is the historical genre or some of the gospels we'll get to later. But we do always want to keep in mind what's happening in the larger story of the Bible so that we can frame this particular book and each book as well as possible.

So as Joey already said, this is like the final years. of Israel's prosperity. Remember David's and reign really ushered in a season of great power and authority and riches and wisdom and wealth. But Solomon extended that even further, this is Israel's golden years, so the golden years are kind of starting to end at this point, Joey, aren't they? We know that Israel has been, it has experienced a time of incredible flourishing and on lots of different levels. We talked about that in their Proverbs episode, but the difference here is that we're at the end of Solomon's life. We know that he started really well. You know, there's a verse that says Solomon loved the Lord in chapter three, and then in chapter 11, it says, Solomon loved many foreign women.

So we see that his life drifted and idolatry has settled into his heart, and so, lust and polygamy have overtaken. They've infiltrated Solomon's faith. But what's happening here is Ecclesiastes gives us a glimpse into Solomon coming full circle on his faith. So, he's not ending in this season of idolatry. He is full circle. Fully owning it. And he's now showing what we can learn in light of his mistakes. So he's coming full circle on what matters most. Yeah. Anything you want to add to number two storyline?

You didn't know that you did a great job nailing what is really at the context behind this book, Bodie. Perhaps I would just add, you know, as we get into these themes and ideas coming up the book Ecclesiastes comes from the Greek Ecclesia or Ecclesia, which means assembly, but Ecclesiastes has to do with the preacher of the assembly and so there's some preaching gonna going on here as we get into these themes, and what is he going to be preaching about? Well, let's take a look at that right Bodie themes and ideas

This is number three on the framework. So Joey, what are the major themes of this book? Walk us through them.

Yeah, so so here's what we've put down for you as a list. I think this is a good list to describe this book first of all, we at the very top we wanted to focus on the futility of life outside of God, we're going to hear this phrase vanity You Of vanities chasing after the wind. That's what life is.

If you don't have God, you're chasing the wind. You're going nowhere. No substance, no purpose. So that's the first one. The second one is the temporality of earthly riches. Like everybody knows that the world often revolves around money. Well, guess what? Money you can't take with you. You don't get to put a U Haul behind a Hearst as it's been said.

The temporality of earthly riches. The third theme we're going to look at is the passing pleasures of sin. Sure. There's pleasure and Hey, he drink and be merry, but guess what? You can't do it forever. Unless God is in the center of that. So, that's another theme. Then we have the inevitability of mortality, that is a key theme.

Everyone dies 10 people are the statistics Bodie. So this is a big theme. This book kind of takes you to the grave and make sure. That you've lived a life that is worth living. So this is key. How about the poor stewardship of wisdom? We're going to see, you might be wise, but are you actually living in wisdom?

Are you actually living what you preach? Are you doing what you know to do that is right? That's a key theme. How about the testimony of a good name? You see, we're going to see the importance of reputation. How do people perceive you, but more importantly, how does God perceive you. So the testimony of a good name, the value of human relationships, Bodie, we all need friendships.

I'm thankful for you, brother, as a friend and so many other dear people in our lives, from our wives to our children, to all of the human relationships that we have, we're going to see the importance of that and then the book ends on this theme, the fear of God and obedience, that is basically the summary of the whole book as well. So that's kind of our themes and ideas that we're going to look

Yep, and Solomon really journeys all of these themes. So this is going to be a really fun book because there's a lot of honesty going on in this book. Isn't there, Joey? So this is going to be good. So those themes are, keep those themes in mind. We're going to review those as we go, but what we want to do is we want to actually use the structure of the book to guide our episode.

So if you are reading this book, You're reading the book and you're listening to this. This is how we would answer number four,

which is what is the structure of Ecclesiastes? Now, as we do this, we want to also keep in mind the application questions. As we go through the structure, it's not just the structure of the book, but it's why it matters.

What can we learn about God? What can we apply to our life? So we want to keep those in mind as we walk through the structure. So let's do that right now.

Ecclesiastes has four major sections. The first section is kind of an intro. It's the preacher's introduction, and it's really asking the question, what profits? And so in this first section, it's chapter one, one through 11, the first 11 verses are the first section of the book. And this is where the author is going to introduce the book's main theme, lamenting the emptiness of life under the sun. Now this phrase under the sun is going to be one of those key phrases we're going to unpack throughout this episode, but what it really means is apart from God.

So that's the first thing is just this introduction in chapter one, verses one through 11. Then the second section is the preacher's subject. So you've got the preacher's introduction. Then you have the preacher's subject, as Joey already told us, the vanity of life. And so here's where Solomon kind of delivers this strong summary. I mean, Solomon is very direct in this book on the futility of wasted wisdom, worldly labor, and temporal pleasure. Pleasure.

Solomon is leaving nothing back. He is just laying it all on the table for us. So that's the second section, but we've only gotten to chapter two. So the first two sections of the book, we only get us to the first two chapters.

Then Joey, we have the biggest section, which is really chapters three through chapter 11. Why is this one big section? Because this is the preacher's synopsis. So this is Solomon's unfiltered reflections on a whole host of different topics, right? So we got regret, right? work, the wealth, justice, and a whole bunch more sorrow, but it's for the wise to heed. It's, he's not just lamenting for no purpose. He wants to impart wisdom.

So there's some cynicism, there's some sarcasm in here, but really the goal is that the wise would listen and they would heed. So chapters three to 11, that's our third, a third section. And then section four is the preacher's conclusion.

So we got the preacher's introduction, subject, synopsis, right? And then we got the conclusion. Where did we end up? That's going to be so important. Fear God and obey. So the Solomon's conclusion is basically the only real source of finding meaning in life is fearing God and keeping his commandments. Okay. So that's going to be how we're going to walk through the book. Joey, anything you want to add before we go into section one?

Well, I think that this book can be very confusing for a lot of students who want to study the Bible. If you're thinking of it like a lot of other books in the Bible, some of the statements that are made in here, as you already kind of hinted to Bodie are cynical and sarcastic. They're not meant to be taken literally, or to sort of build your whole life upon.

You have to really know what is the angle the author is taking. So this is one of those books where many verses can be taken out of context and twisted to the demise of the listener. So it's really important at the conclusion of the book drives home the fact that the fear of God is the beginning of wisdom.

So if you lose the fear of God, you slowly diminish wisdom. You start to end up into foolishness. And some of the statements Solomon makes is to point out the foolishness. It's to tell you've been missing it. You got to get this picture clear, and so please pick up on the cynicism. And the sarcasm that's in this book, and we would say to those listening, this is a sermon that punches some points home in some ways that are different from a lot of other books of the Bible.

So in fact, some of the Jewish authors and scholars would call this book, the Sphinx of human literature, because it gives us sort of these unresolved riddles and answers to questions that you almost need the rest of the Bible to sort of weigh in on. So that's key. I would just add

It is key. Yeah. And just a reminder too, that wisdom literature is meant to be read in large blocks. Like Joey just said, we want to get the larger idea, the main theme here, and sometimes if we take one little detail out, we will miss really what the intent of the author is.

So that's where that's good to keep in mind. So as we kind of go into the book now, Joey chapters one through 11, and really Solomon does, he just. kind of launches right into his main theme, right at the beginning. Would you mind just giving us some of these key verses that we really feel like we've highlighted verses for each of these sections for you to really make sure you don't miss. Joey, why is the very first three verses of this book so important? Read them if you would, and help us to see where Solomon's starting.

Sure. So the book of Ecclesiastes, again, the preacher of the assembly says these words. It opens up saying the words of the preacher, the son of David, king in Jerusalem, vanity of vanities, says the preacher. Vanity of vanities. All is vanity. What profit, here's the question, What profit has a man from all his labor in which he toils under the sun?

Now, I'd like to just define for you what the word vanity means here, because it's the Hebrew word Havel. It literally means vapor. Smoke futility it's this idea that when substance is removed from something, you're kind of left with this vacuum and vanity is a perfect word to describe a meaningless life.

And so 37 times Solomon will use this word vanity in this book, and I think it's really important because you have to examine your life and see is it matching up to what God would say is profitable and purposeful in life, or are you making it up as you go living life as you please, just a free roamer, be careful if you're one of those, because this book will challenge you to get you.

To seriously think about the decisions you're making and the outcomes of them. So, that's why this book starts this way. It's a great introduction to kind of get our attention. What profit has a man with all of his work? Are you just going to wake up in the morning and do the daily routine, the daily grind, as we say?

Well, guess what? That daily grinds will leave you with just dust from dust. We came from dust. We return and we need more than that. We need to learn the ways of

it is. And so that's so true, because if you just open up and read these first 11 verses, it's kind of depressing. It sounds like he's just like saying nothing matters at all. That's why we want to read the book as a whole. So he starts this, you know, if you read these first 11 verses, you know, the sun rises and the sun goes down.

It's almost like, what does it matter? Nothing matters at all. And you almost Get the sense of nihilism that could be here. And it's like, wow, is this what the Bible really wants for me? Well, this is a hard hitting introduction because the Bible wants to drive home the ultimate point that fear in God is the ultimate source of all meaning.

So, I mean, he kind of smacks you in the face right as we get out of the gate here. But the whole purpose in this introduction is a lament of life under the sun and like there's a worship group called Shane and Shane that, that wrote this song called Over the Sun, which is basically looking at the Ecclesiastes saying what we need to do is we need to get over the sun because under the sun, if we only look under the sun, we will be depressed.

I mean, we all look around in our world at things that we question that ache our hearts and minds and we say. What does this matter? What does any of this matter? It's not wrong to ask that question. It's wrong to ask the question and forget eternity. So I think Solomon is kind of starting this way so that he can show us that eternity is where all true lasting source of meaning is found. But we got to start here if we're going to get there. So

Excellent. Excellent. And then that takes us into the preacher's subject, which is our second section, chapter one versus 12 and the rest of chapter two. The preacher's subject is on this theme, the vanity of life. Where Solomon delivers this very strong summary on the futility of wasted wisdom, worldly labor, and temporal pleasures. Bodie, could I just start with I want to say chapter two, verse one says, I said in my heart and I just want to say that phrase first, because Jeremiah 17, nine says the heart is what? deceitful.


It has a wickedness to it because remember the whole book of Ecclesiastes is in the context of the fall of man. That sin permeates the earth. And then what is the wages of sin? It is death. So Solomon sets the tone in his introduction, but really drives the subject home in this opening section of chapter 1 verse 12. To the end of chapter two and we have a couple of key verses that we want to highlight in this section that I think really helps us to see why there is meaninglessness and vanity and futility when God is not in his rightful place, reigning over man's heart.

So Ecclesiastes chapter two. Verses 10 and 11 I'll read verse 10, buddy. Maybe you want to jump in and read verse 11. It says in verse 10, whatever my eyes desired, I did not keep from them. I did not withhold my heart from any pleasure for my heart rejoiced in all my labor. I just want to point out that Solomon will actually say the eye is never satisfied with seeing in Ecclesiastes 1 verse 8. And so it's almost like we sometimes bulge with excitement when we see something, but we don't really know what's behind it. And that's how man fell in the garden of Eden by listening to the wrong voice. Right? So such a key verse there. What does verse 11 say, Bodie? jump into that.

Yeah, it says, And this was my reward from all my labor. Then I looked on all the works that my hands had done, and on the labor in which I had toiled, and indeed all was vanity and grasping for the wind. There was no peace. profit under the sun. Now that's a key word, isn't it, Joey? Because profit means basically something that's meaningful, that's substantive, something that really lasts, something that really matters.

And he looks around and says, I did all this work. What does it even matter? And everybody I think can relate to that sentiment. We've all felt that way, and that's why I think this is such an honest reflection. But that is, I think, if we go the wrong way, we can become bitter rather than better when we forget eternity. And this book is designed to help us become better upon looking at the reflections and not bitter. So, so good. Yep.

Yeah, Jesus will say something so powerful that kind of picks up on this theme in Matthew 16 in verse 26 where he says, for what is it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses his own soul? Right? So here, Solomon all the way back then is saying there's no profit under the sun if you just live life with this vanity in mind.

And so we need to think about what. Actually nourishes the soul. What God gave us a soul. We're not just walking biology and chemistry. We're not just physical beings in a physical world. We're spiritual beings that are actually destined to live outside this world. Ever since it fell, God had another plan for us. And that's why we really need to kind of heed this book with the wisdom that it gives but to understand the angle and the time period we're in before Jesus, right? .

Yeah, exactly. I love that. I heard someone once said that we are not human beings having a spiritual experience. We are spiritual beings having a human experience. And so that is where there's this ache of eternity that we actually are going to call out in our next section in chapter three. But it's going to be so important because if we don't have meaning, we cannot really live.

We were built to have meaning. We were built to know God. And under the sun is this phrase in Ecclesiastes that says, Hey, if you say, if you take God out of life, it might be fun for a while. It might be pleasurable for a while. Nobody's denying that, but does it last? That's really the question.

And so that's where I think this second section here in, in from verse 12 of chapter one through the end of chapter two is really important because he really talks about the wasted wisdom. The world be labor and the feeling like, gosh, does anything, is any of this worth it? Does it even matter at all?

And it's an important question because if we're gonna really understand the fear of the Lord, we gotta be able to start where we really are. And it's okay. I think sometimes people don't feel the permission to doubt to be frustrated. This is a book of frustration, but it's not a book of only frustration.

It has somewhere that it's leading us. And that's what I, that's one of the things I love about this book. But anything else, Joe, in this. second section on the preacher's subject as he introduces the vanity. It talks about work, labor, pleasure, anything else. Cause the big meat of the, of this episode and the book is the next section on kind of his reflections across the board. But anything we want to make sure we add in the second section two on the vanity of life.

Well, I think one thing that Solomon does point out is he gets the fact that people would naturally gravitate toward their fleshly desires. He gets the fact that if you don't really have a God focused to your life and there's no vertical connection to the living God, you're kind of destined to just try to make the best of this world in whatever way possibly.

I mean, most people say, I just want to be happy, right? How many times do we hear that? Just. Just, I just want to be happy. Well, the problem is happiness starts with understanding holiness, right? We have to know that there's a holy God who's designed things with a purpose, a design, a framework. And when living in that framework comes the blessing of being able to see the goodness of God in the land of the living.

So I just think that's one more thing to say and I think as we go into this third section Which is the bulk of the book the preacher's synopsis and we use the word unfiltered Reflections, which is a great way of capturing all that he's saying throughout this book including his sarcasm and His cynicism as he drives home his points, chapter three is a great transition because in chapter three, and this is of course there was a song I believe sung by the Byrds about

right, right. right,

To everything. There is a season. A time for every purpose under heaven is how it begins, right? God has a purpose in every season. Every change of season is used by God to carry out his sovereign will,

it says he has made everything beautiful in its time. Also he has put eternity, this is key. He has put eternity in their hearts, except that no one can find out the work that God does from beginning to end. He goes on to say in verse 14 and 15, I know that whatever God does, It shall be forever.

Notice, that's not true of man, but it's true of God. Nothing can be added to it and nothing taken from it. God does it that men should fear before Him. That which is, has already been, and what is to be, has already been. And God requires an account of what is past, that's where everything comes to the place of judgment.

Hebrews 9 27 says it's appointed for man to die and then comes the judgment. So God requires an account of all that is past. This is why we need to take serious the lessons that are about to follow

Exactly. Yeah. That's beautiful, too, because the eternity in our hearts is why we need and crave meaning. I mean, the reason why people go so many different ways with their life is they're looking for satisfaction for their souls. It's why people pursue drugs and sex and education.

Like we were designed to be satisfied. And I love this book because it really points out that those desires are not bad, but they're empty of meaning. under the sun.

And so this third section, we're going to basically get old man Solomon breaking it down. He's going to sit down, son. Let me tell you how this is going to go. So you get a little bit of cynicism, but you get a bunch of different topics in this third section. So you already talked about the seasons in chapter three.


picture an old man on a rocking chair, just sitting down on the porch of a house and he's beginning just to tell you, listen, son, you better get these lessons now before it's too late. You know, later on he'll tell us that, you know, listen, this is especially for you young people to start early, right? Remember your creator in the days of your youth, he'll say later on.

But buddy, you know, one more thing I think just to add to this is like, I think we, we underestimate the importance of seasons. Don't we like there are times in our life where we go through birth death watching it in others. We see a time to plant a time to pluck out what's planted a time to kill a time to heal a time to weep a time to laugh.

I think that we have to remember God incredibly created a world that can experience emotion. We can experience emotion in this world that is highs and lows, but in the highs and lows and in the experiences of life, God has a purpose in everything. And I love that it says he put eternity in our hearts because it reminds us that I think deep down inside, everybody knows that there's gotta be more.

We don't just go into the ground die. There's this eternity in our hearts that says there's got to be more. There's life beyond the grave, and this is God giving to us. Just as he gave us a conscience of knowing good from evil, he's given us an awareness of knowing there's more to the temporal life. And so I think that this chapter hits on those key themes really well.

I think so, too. Well, and it sets up everything that's happening to here, because again, now Solomon is going to go into the value of relationships. Talk about the futility of wealth, like real life down to earth stuff. We have a faith, Joey, that works up in the heavenlies. We have this inheritance in Christ and it works down in the deepest valleys of sorrow.

That's one of the reasons why. you are wanting to listen and learn the Bible. It's because it matters to you. And we know that these are the words of God. So I love how God has used Solomon at this key juncture of his life to give us lessons that we don't really get almost kind of like this anywhere else in scripture.

We get this unfiltered view, I love how you talked about God's purpose in each season, but I also know that God brings people for seasons in our lives as well. And that's where chapter four talks about the value of a friend and talks about how two are better than one. And that's where, you know, the word says a threefold cord will not be easily broken.

Talking about human relationships, I think intending to include God is that third cord, right? Because this is why they read this at weddings, because this is what lasts. This is what matters. If you are looking to find meaning and life, this book offers the unfiltered view, fear God and keep his commandments is where we're going.

But it's not just that it's how he's working through each seasons and through the people that he's bringing in into our lives during each season. This is key. So I see that in chapter four, Joey, anything else kind of that you'd like to point out here, or do you want to take us on to some of the other topics in this third section?

Yeah. Well, in chapter four, you mentioned it earlier, Bodhi, that in a lot of weddings, it's these verses are quoted in verses nine to 12. I just like to highlight this aspect of it when it says two are better than one. Because they have a good reward for their labor. And it says, if one falls, , one will lift up his companion, but woe to him who is alone when he falls.

What a great reminder to us that the very first time God ever said something wasn't good was when man was alone, right? And God really wanted us to hone in on that because he's showing us that relationships is at the heart of his whole eternal purpose. Not only that we would have horizontal relationships here on earth, but the very first relationship between a man and a woman marriage, which is the represents God's greater heart, his passion to see a unity in heaven one day between a redeemed creation and the Redeemer himself, the creator God.

So the marriage picture, the two becoming one, not only is two better than one, but we realized that God's ultimate purpose is to becoming one. And so Jesus prayed that in John 17, that we would be one in him, even as he's one with the father. And of course, this isn't limited to just marriage. Two are better than one in, in, in missions, if you're going on a mission two is better than one in ministry. Jesus sent them out in twos two is better than one. In so many experiences of life, because you get to talk about what you're experiencing. I mean, isn't it true that when we eat something, it's not as great. If we had to keep it all to ourself, there's something about the joy of eating.

And it's, and when it tastes so good, you say, Oh, you got to try this. This is so good. So it's wonderful to have relationships and that's what makes life so meaningful, so purposeful, and so consistent with God's divine heart of bringing everything together in one in Jesus. So I just want to add that. To the equation.

podcast would be significantly worse, Joey, if you were not on it and it was just me. Let me just tell you that right now. Two have definitely been better than one. And I think that's why the body of Christ, that's why it says in Hebrews, don't forsake the assembling of yourselves together as such as the habit of some.

We need and we are blessed by one another because what you're struggling with might be what I'm going to be struggling with. And I now can ask you and what you learn from it, like we are doing with Solomon here, what we can learn. And together we gain wisdom together. We need one another. It's essential for wisdom. That's key. Yeah.

That's right. And then that last phrase in verse 12 says a threefold court is not quickly or easily broken. We see that there's always the invisible guest and everything too. If you could say there's always that. Reality of Trinity, the God is three, three in one. And so this threefold cord not broken also kind of has some Trinitarian understanding to it, but it also shows us that our human relationships, horizontal always have a vertical component.

I think that's so, so key as well. So, but yeah, we have some other great sections here, Bodie. I mean, when you get to chapters five and six, we start getting into some ideas of. what is this idea of walking prudently and going to the house of God when you see things from that perspective, but he gets into a lot of the thing about riches and you realize that riches are limited and they do not satisfy the soul but good things in life are to be enjoyed.

So you get this beautiful you know, kind of back and forth where Solomon will tell you something. That shows you like the vanity of a pursuit that's temporal. And at the same time say, because things are temporal, enjoy, you know, right. And so this is where this wisdom literature here has very unique undertones to it, right Bodie.

Well I think that's, it's too, like there is that the beauty of enjoying, but I think we get some of this, you know, when you hear the phrase, I mean the phrase that is in the culture, eat, drink, and be merry for tomorrow, we die. Like, people will extract that out as like a way to just kind of live unrestrained desire and Solomon of all people has actually done that for us.

One of the great gifts of this book is that Solomon, as he said earlier in chapter two, I believe said, I do I didn't hold anything back. If you want to know what Utter hedonism looks like I have lived it. I can tell you that's one of the great gifts that he gives us.

And he's like, so if somebody is basically, you know, it says, I know what I've lived. I've lived and done the thing. It's different than someone who's had infinite wealth, infinite power, infinite access to anything he wants. And then they say, Let me sit down and tell you what this led me. We listened differently to someone like that.

That's what we get in this book. I love it. You know, so as he goes into like the value of gain and honor, he talks also about things like, you know, oppression of the poor, all of a sudden we want to sit down and like this guy, this is someone that has really seen the world for its truth, but also has something to offer us.


Yeah. That's so well said Bodie. You know, he definitely shows us that riches in Proverbs. It says, make themselves wings and kind of flies away in this chapter of chapter five in verse 14, he says, but those riches perish through misfortune. When he begets a son, there's nothing in his hand.

We're going to see that even when we inherit something We're inheriting the wind as a phrase used as well in the Proverbs because things will be given and there'll be taken away. Job tells us that this, right, the Lord gives and the Lord takes away, things have a cycle in life. And if you're only focused on what happens within this cycle, but you don't see what's around this cycle, that God has a greater purpose in working all things together for good.

Amen. Amen. You end up with a false philosophy of life, eating, drinking, and being merry has some truth in it. We should be merry when we eat and drink. But if you make that the whole thing, a good thing that turns into a God thing becomes idolatrous. And somewhere along the way, we should be listening to the cynicism of Solomon's Undertones to say, but there's more, this can't be what it's all about. And so he does such a great job in pointing out the vanity of things and how, what, how the soul is not satisfied in the end when he sees what it all came

That's so good. Yeah. I'd remembering the whole is such a key thing, Joey. I loved how you just pointed that out basically you get almost like a mini book of Proverbs, but at the end of Solomon's life, right? He hits on a number of different things. different topics like oppression of the poor is one, you know, sorrow for the soul, death, wealth, all of these topics, we get to see the full unloading of Solomon's wisdom for us in these last sections, any verses pop out to you that you want to highlight in seven and eight?

I think the value of practical wisdom hits on a few different areas that are just like important to us that they mean something of great value to us. For example, in chapter seven, verse one, it opens with a good name is better than precious ointment, even ointment or something that is put on the skin. It eventually gets absorbed odors. Eventually the aroma fades. A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches. We learn in the book of Proverbs and Solomon kind of hits this again, and then he kind of goes cynical on us.

And in verse three of chapter seven, he says, sorrow is better than laughter. Now, wait a minute. Why would sorrow be better than laughter? Everybody wants to laugh and not cry, but yet Solomon rebuilds this idea of actually. It's going to be in your sorrow where you actually start to go deeper in reflecting on what matters.

It's in sorrow that you're going to learn some deeper lessons. In fact, we even learn in the book of Hebrews that Jesus learned obedience by the things that he suffered. So sometimes sorrow can actually outweigh laughter in the long run. If we want laughter in the end, we're probably going to need sorrow at some point along the journey.

And so you see beautiful ways of Solomon putting these things, but also cynical ways, because he's trying to kind of make points to you to say, Oh yeah, you think this is what's good. Well, guess what? You're going to lose it in the


He kind of has those ways of putting things. You know what I

Totally. Yeah. Even at the end of chapter eight. Yeah. Who is a wise man and who knows the interpretation of the thing? Like, you know, do we really know all this? You know, a man's wisdom makes his face shine and the sturdiness of his face has changed. So you get these verses where, like you said, I really appreciate Joey, how you phrased that.

I think that's what throws people off when they go to read this book. They feel like they're reading one thing and immediately they get jarred to the left and they get jarred back to the right. That's intentional because we're trying to, he's trying to give you the full, honest, unfiltered reflections.

, I'm just thinking about Joey, the way chapter eight ends is , so key. It says, then I saw the wicked buried who had come and gone from the place of holiness and they were forgotten in the city where they had so done. This is also vanity because the sentence against an evil work is not executed speedily.

Therefore the heart of the sons of men is fully set in them to do evil. evil. Though a sinner does evil a hundred times, his days are prolonged. Yet surely I know that it will be well with those who fear God. Of course, you can see the tension there, you know, and in verse 13, 8, 13, it says, but it will not be well with the wicked, nor will he prolong his days, which are a shadow because he does not fear the Lord.

I just think these are so good in summarizing the tension that, Ecclesiastes is kind of living in. Pick up from there though. I think there's a couple more verses that we'd want to highlight.

Yeah. What you're saying right now goes all the way back to Psalm 73, where you have a soft kind of like reflecting on the fact that, yeah, why are the death always, why are the you know, the sinful and the rebellious always prospering. And it seems like there is no pains in their death, but remember that's life under the sun, that's life from a limited perspective.

That's seeing things only from an earthly vantage point. And so, Ecclesiastes chapter eight here ends with this inevitability of mortality, death will come to all, but there will be a judge. And this is what Psalm 73, Asaph finally comes to that place in verse. 16 and 17 when he says, when I thought how to understand this, it was too painful for me until I went into the sanctuary of God.

And then I understood their end. So Solomon kind of says a similar thing here. It says it will not be well with the wicked. In the end, and so brothers and sisters, if you're a believer out there, you need to remember Jesus conquers death. Jesus swallowed up death and gave us the victory. And only in Jesus, can we say to live is Christ and to die is gain.

But if there's no Christ in life, then there's only loss in death. And so we need to recognize that Solomon is doing a It's just an incredible job of laying out for us in his unique way in Ecclesiastes, where things are going to end up when all is said and done.

And so that's what I think is a great point to end on in chapter eight here, as we now move into this final section, right?

So yeah, this last section, Joey, here of part three, the preacher's synopsis is kind of the end of his unfiltered reflections. That's chapters nine, 10 and 11. We call it perspectives on labor and living, just talking about work, talking about the works of our hand, the things that we do. And really we see these themes of that. We are to live joyfully. Like I think that sometimes people get this view that like we just got to endure life. And then heaven's really where things are going to start to begin. I don't think the Bible portrays life that way.

There are things that we are meant to enjoy and delight in. We're just not to turn them into idols. It's like you. So we're to enjoy them in their proper time. So, so just because something is under the sun doesn't make it bad. But what we want to remember is we want to live life in light of eternity. And so these perspectives on labor and work and living, they kind of call out, they give us a little bit of that balance in this section here, these chapters nine through 11. What do you wanna add as we wrap up part three here,

Yeah. Even in the New Testament, Paul will tell his spiritual son, Timothy in 1st Timothy 6, 17, that God has given us all things to enjoy. As you said, Bodie, it's so important for us to realize that in, in the presence of God, his fullness of joy at his right hand, our pleasures forevermore. I want what God hands to me, both in this life and in the next I just don't want to take things that God doesn't want me to have

And I think it's really important these last chapters kind of show us The difference between all of those things, you know It says in chapter 9 verse 9 live joyfully with the wife whom you love all the days Then he adds this of your vain life You know almost like I think we would all agree with the first part.

You should enjoy your wife, but It's not supposed to be a vain life and if all you have is this life, well, then you better enjoy your life because it's all you got, you know, and and so forth. So he does this great back and forth but then he says in verse 10, whatever your hand finds to do it with all your might.

That kind of goes with the New Testament. Where it says, whatever you do it heartily as unto the Lord, Colossians 3, 23, but notice that the New Testament focuses on doing it unto the Lord. Ecclesiastes is focusing on doing it because you better just do it anyway because it's just good and it's enjoyable.

So you really see a lot of great contrast. One more thing I'll add is in chapter 9, verse 16, he says, Wisdom is better than strength. Wisdom is better than strength. Verse 17. The words of the wise spoken quietly should be heard. I love the fact that the wise person learns how to prolong their pleasure in the long run, not just go after the temporal things for a short sprint, as if you only got this minuscule


And so some great things about diligence, about wisdom, how we work, there's so many great statements that Solomon makes but it all comes back to wisdom. In fact, in Ecclesiastes 10 verse 10 at the end, it says, but wisdom brings success, person. Jesus said that, right? You must hear the sayings of God and do them. That's the wise person who builds his life on the rock. So this section just gives us some great perspectives. As we said before, Bodie. And where does that

Yeah. Well, I thought I'd love Joey. I love that you use that word success. That's what people want, right? That's we want to be successful in life, but the Bible's word for that is wisdom. So like, if you look kind of at this whole section here, these unfiltered reflections are how to succeed in life.

God's purpose in every season, the value of a friend, value of gaining, honor the on all these practical wisdom and how we work. This is sets us up to have the best possible life. God doesn't just want you to be alive and then go to heaven. He wants you to learn all we can learn from this. life that he's given us.

This is a sacred and special gift, but we squander it when we put pleasure and all these other things Solomon has given us as the reason, as the source of meaning they were never intended to be.

And that is where the book kind of concludes now, doesn't it, Joey? Chapter 12. So just recapping, we've looked at the first section, the introduction, what profits The vanity of life, which was the second section.

We just got finished looking at all these unfiltered reflections. There is so much honesty. We weren't able to get to and cover, but where does it all point, Joey? The preacher's conclusion, chapter 12, fear God and obey. And these are some of the best verses, the most well known verses, because this is Solomon's conclusion. Read it for us. Yes.

Yes. When you get to the final verses in this whole book of reflection, here's what Solomon says, he says, let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter. Fear God. And keep his commandments for this is man's all for God will bring every work into judgment, including every secret thing, whether good or evil.

To me, this is a powerful ending to a book that is causing us to reflect on life from beginning to end. I love that. Solomon even talks about the secret things that no one else would have known throughout your whole life. It will one day come to the light because we will all stand before our maker.

Here we have man and his maker, and we have man and his mortality. You will see. Die from this earth. You will stand before God. And in that day, the books will be opened and God will sort of in a sense, read your life, but your life will be judged by his life. It'll be his rules, not your rules that will matter in the end.

It is his ways, not your ways that he will judge everything by. And so if your life doesn't come into alignment with God, and your life is only lived under the sun, You won't get to experience what's beyond the sun, which of course is based on the son, Jesus Christ, who gives ultimate life and who gives us abundant life.

And so Solomon brings us right back on the path we should be on, which is fearing God and keeping his commandments for that's the beginning of wisdom and obedience is when you know you're walking in it. So I think that's where this book lands and it's a preacher's conclusion that hits home and sort of gets everybody, wow, you better respond to this book.

Yes. And I don't think, Joey, that was great because people don't think of this as a sermon. A good sermon has emotion to it. It has a punch to it, but it also has a purpose. And this, I love that the purpose leads us back to the purpose, the larger purpose of all of scripture is to fear God and to keep his commandments. these are the key verses of the whole book. And I love Joey, how Solomon ends with where we should begin. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.

And I also loved at the, in the early parts of chapter 12, this is the end, the conclusion, these are key verses of the whole book, but in verse one of chapter 12, it says, remember now your creator in the days of your youth.

Remember, he's talking to people that still have time to implement the wisdom that he spent this whole book. giving us, you know, and he says, before the difficult days come and after the years draw near when you say, I have no pleasure in them. So do this while you still can, while you still can benefit from it.

Verse two, while the sun and the light and the moon and the stars are not darkened and the clouds do not return after the rain, It's like at the end of A Christmas Carol, right? Where Ebeneezer Scrooge comes back and he says, do I have some more time? I have all this wisdom now. Have I wasted all my time? Like that's what this movie is about. book gives us friends,

you have the gift and the blessing of someone that was a hedonist in every single area and now gets to tell us the conclusion and we have it. And the question is, will we apply it to our lives? So good, Joey. What else in this final section do we want to include as we wrap up our episode?

Yeah, that was a great illustration. You just gave Bodie, as you think about someone like Scrooge, who's reflecting on all those years wasted of his stinginess and stubbornness. But I also liken this book of Ecclesiastes to the story of the prodigal son. Do you remember when we learned about the two sons one of the sons wanted his inheritance early he had the blessing of getting this gift of the inheritance, just like Solomon got the gift of wisdom.

Like the prodigal son, he decided to go waste it on his own son. Selfish lusts and desires and for pleasure, and he finally gets to this place sort of at the end of all of his pleasure where he wakes up and he comes full circle and he wants to come back home to his father and he doesn't even know if his father will receive him.

But of course, the father comes running to him and he puts a signet ring on him and he clothes him and he throws a feast for him. And this is sort of what Ecclesiastes ends on. It's like Solomon wakes up and comes full circle. And realizes that he wasted years of wisdom on prodigal living and finally comes to his senses and gets back to wisdom and returns to God. And that's why Ecclesiastes just reiterates this whole point so well. And we see it in the prodigal son story. Isn't that amazing?

that, my friends, is why Joey Rozek has co hosted this podcast, because he brings these incredible insights that I never would have thought of. Oh, Joey, that is beautiful. I'd never, ever thought of the connection to this book and that story. That was phenomenal. So I may actually just apply that to number seven.

Like that was so good. What do we personally love? We've talked about so much about this book. But I think what we personally, another thing I personally love and I'd love to hear your thoughts on this is I love the honesty of this book, but I also love the hope. I also kind of like that. It's hard that it takes a little bit of work, you know, but I think that when we approach it with the right lens, we have long term wisdom available for us that could benefit our lives for years to come.

Like there's just so much that is great about this book, despite the fact that. Parts of it are hard. There's some tones that are a little bit shocking and a little bit surprising. I like that. I like that. It's honest, that it's not sugarcoated. What do you love about this book? Anything that we haven't covered as we wrap up?

It's such a unique book of the Bible because you don't really get a book of someone Lamenting and regretting wasted years of their life like you do in Ecclesiastes. And I think none of us want to waste our lives. And so, having this book contained in the library of scripture is just so Wise of God to give us even man's kind of thoughts that we often think about privately.

It's kind of put in this

Yeah, that's

to allow us to see what our thoughts would look like lived out, or if somebody else lived it out. So I would encourage you to read this book with all of the insights that we gave you in mind. Remembering this, when it's all said and done, there's a difference between godly wisdom and worldly wisdom.

And Ecclesiastes will show you a bit of both. But wisdom that is from above, according to the book of James, is first pure, and then it's peaceable. It's gentle to all, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy. Ecclesiastes reminds you to live the true life. the way that God reveals it in the end. So that's what I love about this

That's great. That's great.

All right, friends. Well, we are going to close the episode. I pray that this was helpful for you to get the most out of the book of Ecclesiastes episode 27. Ecclesiastes explained a seven part framework to equip and inspire your Bible study.

A couple of reminders as we wrap up, we would love it. If you would be willing to leave a comment for us, if this episode was helpful for you, there is a video version of this as well as an audio. The video is on YouTube. The audio is on Apple Podcast and Spotify. If you would like a one page summary of all that we talked about, you can go to, YouCanLearntheBible.com/Notes to get that PDF. That's YouCanLearntheBible.com/Notes but Joey, we are now done. We are coming up on, our last wisdom book.

The Song of Solomon, one of the most interesting books in the whole Bible in our next episode. So without giving too much away, what's one thing our listeners can look forward to for episode 28, Song of Solomon Explained?

Well, Shakespeare move aside. Song of Solomon is a book of beautiful poetry. So I'll tell you, there's some amazing pictures that we're going to see in the love between a man and a woman, a husband and a wife. And we're going to see some spiritual pictures as well. As we know, everything in the Bible points us to a greater marriage with Jesus and his church. So that's what we have to look forward to at Song of

Amen. The volume of the book is written of Jesus. Friends, we pray this episode was helpful. Until we meet again next time, stay in the word, stay prayerful, and just know that we believe that you can learn the Bible. We are excited to join you on your journey and we will see you in our next episode, Song of Solomon Explained, episode 28. Take care, grace and peace.