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The Pursuit of Happiness (4 of 6)
Series: The Old Testament for New Testament Christians
Ecclesiastes 2:24-26; 8:15; 12:13
Introduction: The American founding fathers insisted in our Declaration of Independence, "that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness." That last concept is an important one--"The pursuit of happiness." Happiness, contentment, satisfaction, joy--whatever term you choose to use--is the ultimate human goal. Few people in their right mind would ever set out to be miserable. Surely everyone wants to be happy. Everyone pursues it. Despite that, happiness can be an illusive quest.
That's what the writer of Ecclesiastes discovered. Probably Solomon, though the writer is never specifically named, tells about his pursuit of happiness. He looks in every direction, tries every possible avenue, and ends up empty every time. Those familiar with the Old Testament book will remember the repeated refrain, "vanity, vanity, all is vanity." He tries the path of power, pleasure, and possessions. The result is the same after every pursuit. Vanity, vanity, all is vanity.
I call your attention to Ecclesiastes tonight because I believe it offers a fitting summary of the Bible's perspective on life. On one hand, Ecclesiastes is very unique. It is unlike any other book in the Bible. It is in many ways quite negative. It paints a dark picture. But it does so with a purpose.
On the other hand, Ecclesiastes is anything but dark. It is actually a contrast between two totally different ways of life. One way of life pursues happiness yet never finds it. The other seeks something else and finds more happiness than it dared ever dream.
Listen to these summary notes from one man's pursuit of happiness. From the second chapter, "A man can do nothing better than to eat and drink and find satisfaction i ...
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