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The Emptiness of Life (1 of 11)
Series: The Pursuit of Happiness
Good morning. We're beginning a brand new series today in the book of Ecclesiastes. So we'll take most of the summer to walk through this book. And I have to say: I am really looking forward to this. Ecclesiastes is part of the wisdom literature of the Old Testament. So it's very poetic; it's brutally honest; some people find it depressing; other people find it inspiring; it's a book of the Bible that's quoted in literature and film and popular culture all the time. And I've never taught through it before, so I'm looking forward to being stretched and challenged along with you guys this summer.
So before we read today's passage, I just want to read the first verse and talk about who wrote this book. Ecclesiastes starts out like this: The words of the Teacher, son of David, king in Jerusalem. So technically, Ecclesiastes is anonymous-the author is never named. But, it's widely believed, by Jewish and Christian scholars, that the author is King Solomon. Solomon was, literally, son of David, king in Jerusalem. But also, the style of writing and some of the things in the book about his wealth and about his accomplishments match up very well with what we know of Solomon. So throughout this series, we're going to assume that Solomon wrote this. He was the king of Israel between 970 and 931 BC. Which means that the book we're about to study was written about 3,000 years ago. And every time I do that math, it just strikes me that the questions that humans ask have not changed in 3,000 years. Isn't that incredible?
Now: for the first time ever, we have a mascot for a teaching series. I'd like you to meet Solomon the goldfish. And if you look out in the lobby, you'll see some of Solomon's understudies-so they're ready in case something should happen to Solomon. And you'll find out, as we go along, what a goldfish in a bowl could possibly have to do with Ecclesiaste ...
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