by James Merritt

Is Life A Dead-End Street?
James Merritt
Ecclesiastes 1:1-2/2:1-12


1. The entire book of Ecclesiastes is one sermon that was preached thousands of years ago by Solomon, the son of David. He is called "the preacher." (v.1) The Hebrew word for preacher literally means "one who addresses an assembly." The Greek word for "assembly" is ekklesia which gives us the English title of the book Ecclesiastes.

2. The topic of his sermon was life. Eleven times in these thirteen chapters he uses the word life. The title of his sermon is found in v.2 of this first chapter, "Vanity of vanities, all is vanity." So we have the key to the entire message right here at the front door.

3. Now the word vanity here does not refer to egotism. It is not used in the sense of the old pop song, "You're So Vain." The word vanity literally means "emptiness, meaninglessness, futility, uselessness." As Solomon observes life he discovers that nothing makes any sense and everything is nonsense. It appears as if life is just one dead-end street.

4. For example, life is just one empty cycle, one endless circle. "One generation passes away, and another generation comes; but the earth abides forever. The sun also rises, and the sun goes down, and hastens to the place where it arose." (vv.4-5) This is the basic biography of mankind. One generation lives, eats, sleeps, works, plays, and then dies. Then another generation comes along doing the same thing while day in and day out the sun rises and the sun sets.

5. Now all the while "Old Man River just keeps on rolling along." "All the rivers run into the sea, yet the sea is not full; to the place from which the rivers come, there they return again." (v.7) The rivers flow into the sea, heat evaporates water from the sea forming clouds, the clouds rain and refill the rivers, and the rivers flow right back into the sea.

6. In v.9 Solomon summarizes the futility of life: "That which has been is ...

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