Sunday, February 21st, 2016
The book of Ecclesiastes contains Proverbs, maxims, sayings, and is largely an autobiographical story. Solomon wrote it late in his life, approximately 935 B.C. He had become aware of the mistakes that he made throughout his life and began to document them. The purpose of Ecclesiastes is to spare future generations the suffering and misery of seeking after foolish, meaningless, materialistic emptiness, and to offer wisdom by discovering truth in seeking after God. (Biblehub.com)
As you read, study and apply, ask the Holy Spirit to lead your group discussions. Work hard to make sure everyone has the opportunity to participate. Close by praying for one another.
- In Chapter 1 verses 14-17 we see the author mention the act of striving after the wind in relation to certain things in this life being meaningless in the grand scheme of things. For you today, is there anything you would categorize as striving after the wind?
- Read verse 18 in Chapter 1. How is it that wisdom can be viewed negatively in the context of our lives here and now? After reading Chapter 1, what are your overall impressions of the book so far and its implications for you?
- In Chapter 2 we see the next layer of vanity as the writer discusses self-indulgence. During the season of Lent, how do you posture yourself before God in “giving up” certain things and live more sacrificially? Considering the tradition you grew up in, does this season have this effect on you?
- Read Ecclesiastes 1:18. Does this sound familiar—maybe something about “ignorance is bliss”? Why does an increase in knowledge bring an increase in sorrow? (To put it another way, if God is the source of all wisdom, and we more and more learn about how the world works, why does that bring grief?) Yet, does God still want us to pursue wisdom? Describe your tensions between knowing more about God and Creation and the natural pursuit of your happiness.
- Read Ecclesiastes 2:24. What do you think is the general point of this? Discuss the ‘wisdom’ of this as it relates to the Serenity Prayer. Discuss how you think this relates to Romans 12:18. Does it tie in with Romans 13? How? Why or why not? Why do you think God asks us to limit how much we try and worry (Matthew 6:34)?
- Again, with Ecclesiastes 2:24, what does the writer say about toil and satisfaction? Does it say ‘find work that is satisfying’ or ‘find satisfaction in your work’? What is the difference? Have you ever felt dissatisfaction with your career or job? Apart from toxic environments, how could mindset changes affect our performance and perceptions?