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Sabbath School Lessons on Ecclesiastes
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About the Author
Bruce N. Cameron, J.D.
is the author of these Sabbath School lesson study outlines. He is the Reed Larson Professor of Labor Law at Regent University School of Law. Professor Cameron has devoted his life to promoting the Gospel and defending believers. In addition to teaching at an overtly Christian law school, he continues his 37 year practice of law which is limited to the litigation of constitutional rights and religious freedom cases for employees. He holds an undergraduate degree from Andrews University and a Doctor of Law from Emory University School of Law.
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Lesson 7: Striving After the Wind *
Introduction: What do you most enjoy in life? What, for you, makes
life worth living? Do you enjoy your prosperity? King Solomon is
again ranting about how sad life can be, but our goal this week is to
consider what Solomon says and uncover what we can learn from it to
improve our life and our outlook on life. Let's dive right into our
- Enjoying Your Possessions
- Read Ecclesiastes 6:1-2. Solomon says that an evil exists,
an evil which is depressing a lot of people. What is that
evil? (God gives a person wealth, possessions and honor,
but he is not able to enjoy them.)
- The text says a "stranger" enjoys them. How can a
stranger enjoy your wealth, possessions and honor?
(This person must not have any children. Perhaps
another person takes over the company and enjoys the
company's reputation and profits.)
- If this person is not lacking anything his heart
desires, how can he not enjoy his blessings? (Death,
- Do you agree with Solomon that this is an evil?
- Is it one that is depressing you?
- If so, what answer to you have to avoid this
depressing truth? (Eternal life.)
- Read Ecclesiastes 6:3. What significance do you find in
this man not having a proper burial? (He has a hundred
children, but they neither love nor care enough to make
sure he is properly buried.)
- Whose fault is that? The father or the children?
(Something must be amiss with "dad," if he cannot
connect in a meaningful way with just one or two of
his hundred children. How could you sire a hundred
rotten children? When Solomon says a hundred
children, he must be exaggerating to make a point.)
- Solomon uses this phrase, "enjoy your prosperity."
What do you think Solomon means when he writes "enjoy
- Is he talking about being content?
- Is he talking about taking time to "stop and
smell the roses?"
- Is he talking about paying attention to what is
important in life: i.e., your 100 children?
- Is he talking about a personality which is
- Is he talking about a person who understands
God's plan for life, and thus "gets" what life
- Read Ecclesiastes 6:4-6. How does this text describe a
still-born (miscarried, aborted) child? (That child comes
and goes in darkness. It never has an opportunity to have
meaning in life. The reference to the name being covered
in darkness is a reference to the Jewish practice of not
naming miscarried babies on the assumption this allows
parents to overcome grief more easily.)
- How is this unfortunate man and a "still-born" child
- Solomon tells us the two have the same destination?
- Solomon even says ( Ecclesiastes 6:3)the still-born
child is better off? Do you agree? (Solomon says
having no meaning in your life, or a negative
meaning, is worse than never having lived. Never
living gives you "rest." I would ask Solomon: "How
much rest do you need? The person who is born has
every opportunity to live a meaningful life.")
- Advantages in Life
- Read Ecclesiastes 6:7. Is this true for you? (In some
areas of the world the main point of work is to feed
yourself. However, a small percentage of my earnings goes
for food and that is true for many areas of the world.)
- Add your brain into Solomon's statement. "All man's
efforts are for his mouth and his brain." Is that
modified statement true for you? (All work is for self-gratification, and your self-gratification is never
- If all work is to satisfy your cravings - which are
never satisfied, what is wrong with that? That makes
you a productive citizen, right? (You never get to a
point where you say, "It feels good to have
accomplished my goal.)
- Read Ecclesiastes 6:8. What reason would you have to
conduct yourself properly before cultured people? (You do
not want to be embarrassed by seeming to lack something:
class, education or culture. Even if you do lack these
things, you don't want it to be obvious because that would
cause others to look down on you.)
- Now answer Solomon's question: what do you gain by
behaving in a socially correct way? (You get the
approval of others and you avoid embarrassment.)
- So what? Why do you care about the approval of
those who are your educational or social
"superiors?" (I think Solomon's point is that if
you are at peace with yourself and your "rank"
in life, then you will not be striving to
impress others of "higher" rank.)
- Read Ecclesiastes 6:9. Compare what you see with what you
would like to see? (This is Solomon's version of the old
saying "a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush."
What you can see right now is better than what you would
like to see.)
- Is this Solomon's answer to the questions in
Ecclesiastes 6:8? (Yes. His message is to be content
with what you have.)
- What is the difference between being lazy and having
no goals, and being content? (I am at that point in
my life when I am looking at the "end game." I could
stop or coast right now and anyone would say that I
had a productive, meaningful life. The problem is, I
still have hopes, dreams and goals. Solomon may think
this is a problem, and maybe I will agree with him
one day. But, right now I'm glad my views have not
changed since I was 25-years old.)
- Read Ecclesiastes 6:10. Solomon tells us that everything
has been named. Was he right?
- What is Solomon's point? (That if you are out to
explore and "name" things after you, it has already
been done. Forget the idea that you will make a name
- Why does Solomon write about fighting against one who
is stronger than you? (Again, this is counsel not to
strive for big goals.)
- I read Solomon as saying "Don't try to change things.
Accept things the way they are and be done with it."
Do you agree? (I do not agree. If I'm rebelling
against God's order of things, I would agree with
Solomon. But, if I'm trying to make the world a
better place, then Solomon's attitude is a waste of
his life, money, power and brains. Ask me this
question again when I'm about to die.)
- Life Formula
- Read Ecclesiastes 6:11. Over my years of practicing law,
I've noticed an unusual thing: courts seem to want to hear
less and less from lawyers. In American federal courts,
they have page limits for briefs that are getting shorter
and shorter. Fewer motions are orally argued. It is
possible to litigate a case to a conclusion and never even
see the judge! Have the judges been reading Ecclesiastes
6:11? What do you think is the point Solomon is trying to
make? Do you agree with it? (Being forced to shorten a
brief makes you more careful about its organization. It
takes more work to write something succinctly.)
- Read Ecclesiastes 6:12. The commentary, Be Satisfied,
quotes British poet Joseph Addison as saying "The grand
essentials to happiness in this life are something to do,
someone to love, and something to hope for." Is the answer
to Solomon's question: "Who knows what is good for a man
in life?" "Mr. Addison!"
- What is the answer to the final question: "Who can
tell him what will happen under the sun after he is
gone?" (Since we recently studied the book of Daniel,
the prophet Daniel is one answer.)
- Does it matter what happens on earth after you
die? (If you leave behind people that you love,
the answer is that just as you trusted God with
your life, so you can trust God with the lives
of those you love and leave behind.)
- Friend, Solomon's conclusion is to be content with your
life. I suggest a little discontent, a hope for a better
future, makes getting up in the morning more exciting.
What do you say?
- Next week: God Made Man Upright? What Happened?
* Copr. 2007, Bruce N. Cameron, J.D. All scripture references are to the New International Version (NIV), copr. 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society, unless otherwise noted. Quotations from the NIV are used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers. Suggested answers are found within parentheses. The lesson assumes the teacher uses a blackboard or some other visual aid.