Ecclesiastes 5:1-6:12 Comments by Stephen Ricker
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Achievement and Wealth
Comments for Study 5

Ecclesiastes 5:1-6:12
Memory Verse: 7

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I. In Awe of God (5:1-7)

>1. What should be our attitude when we approach God? (1)

* Ecclesiastes 5:1 "Guard your steps when you go to the house of God. Go near to listen rather than to offer the sacrifice of fools, who do not know that they do wrong."

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>Why should we be hasty to speak before God?

* Ecclesiastes 5:2 "Do not be quick with your mouth, do not be hasty in your heart to utter anything before God. God is in heaven and you are on earth, so let your words be few."

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>When is it hard to find what to pray for? (3; Romans 8:26-27)

* Ecclesiastes 5:3 "As a dream comes when there are many cares, so the speech of a fool when there are many words."

* Romans 8:26-27 "In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God's will."

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>2. If we make a vow to God what is important? (4)

* Ecclesiastes 5:4 "When you make a vow to God, do not delay in fulfilling it. He has no pleasure in fools; fulfill your vow."

* Malachi 1:14 "Cursed is the cheat who has an acceptable male in his flock and vows to give it, but then sacrifices a blemished animal to the Lord. For I am a great king," says the LORD Almighty, "and my name is to be feared among the nations."

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>What can we learn about the Lord who keeps his vows and wants us to keep our vows? (5; Proverbs 20:25)

* Ecclesiastes 5:5 "It is better not to vow than to make a vow and not fulfill it."

* Proverbs 20:25 "It is a trap for a man to dedicate something rashly and only later to consider his vows."

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>How does verse 6 reveal the importance of keeping vows? (6)

* Ecclesiastes 5:6 "Do not let your mouth lead you into sin. And do not protest to the [temple] messenger, "My vow was a mistake." Why should God be angry at what you say and destroy the work of your hands?"

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>What should be at the heart of worship; words, vows, or awe? (7)

* Ecclesiastes 5:7 "Much dreaming and many words are meaningless. Therefore stand in awe of God."

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II. Wealth Meaningless (5:8-20)

>3. What should all officials remember? (8)

* Ecclesiastes 5:8 "If you see the poor oppressed in a district, and justice and rights denied, do not be surprised at such things; for one official is eyed by a higher one, and over them both are others higher still."

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>Does blessings affect only one person? (9)

* Ecclesiastes 5:9 "The increase from the land is taken by all; the king himself profits from the fields."

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>Why is it important to know we do not live alone? (Ephesians 4:29-32; and 1 Timothy 6:17-19)

* Ephesians 4:29-32 "Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you."

* 1 Timothy 6:17-19 "Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life."

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>4. What is the problem of greed and love of money? (10)

* Ecclesiastes 5:10 "Whoever loves money never has money enough; whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with his income. This too is meaningless."

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>What is the trap of materialism? (11)

* Ecclesiastes 5:11 "As goods increase, so do those who consume them. And what benefit are they to the owner except to feast his eyes on them?"

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>How does material priorities affect a person's sleep? (12)

* Ecclesiastes 5:12 "The sleep of a laborer is sweet, whether he eats little or much, but the abundance of a rich man permits him no sleep."

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>5. Is wealth dependable? (13-14)

* Ecclesiastes 5:13-14 "I have seen a grievous evil under the sun: wealth hoarded to the harm of its owner, or wealth lost through some misfortune, so that when he has a son there is nothing left for him."

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>What is a good approach to our work? (15)

* Ecclesiastes 5:15 "Naked a man comes from his mother's womb, and as he comes, so he departs. He takes nothing from his labor that he can carry in his hand."

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>Will any occupation bring complete satisfaction? (16-17)

* Ecclesiastes 5:16-17 "This too is a grievous evil: As a man comes, so he departs, and what does he gain, since he toils for the wind? All his days he eats in darkness, with great frustration, affliction and anger."

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>6. Should the troubles of working keep us from doing so? (18; and 2 Thess. 3:8-13)

* Ecclesiastes 5:18 "Then I realized that it is good and proper for a man to eat and drink, and to find satisfaction in his toilsome labor under the sun during the few days of life God has given him--for this is his lot."

* 2 Thessalonians 3:8-13 "nor did we eat anyone's food without paying for it. On the contrary, we worked night and day, laboring and toiling so that we would not be a burden to any of you. We did this, not because we do not have the right to such help, but in order to make ourselves a model for you to follow. For even when we were with you, we gave you this rule: "If a man will not work, he shall not eat." We hear that some among you are idle. They are not busy; they are busybodies. Such people we command and urge in the Lord Jesus Christ to settle down and earn the bread they eat. And as for you, brothers, never tire of doing what is right."

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>Why should we be content in our labor? (19; Philippians 4:11-13; and 1 Timothy 6:6-10)

* Ecclesiastes 5:19 "Moreover, when God gives any man wealth and possessions, and enables him to enjoy them, to accept his lot and be happy in his work--this is a gift of God."

* Philippians 4:11-13 "I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength."

* 1 Timothy 6:6-10 "But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. People who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs."

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>What does verse 20 say about worrying and peace? (20; Matthew 6:25-27; Philippians 4:4-7)

* Ecclesiastes 5:20 "He seldom reflects on the days of his life, because God keeps him occupied with gladness of heart."

* Matthew 6:25-27 "Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?"

* Philippians 4:4-7 "Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."

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III. The Time Man Walks on the Earth (6:1-12)

>7. What burden accompanies wealth, possessions, and honor? (1-2)

* Ecclesiastes 6:1-2 "I have seen another evil under the sun, and it weighs heavily on men: God gives a man wealth, possessions and honor, so that he lacks nothing his heart desires, but God does not enable him to enjoy them, and a stranger enjoys them instead. This is meaningless, a grievous evil."

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>What does verse 3-6 say about the important of rest?

* Ecclesiastes 6:3-6 "A man may have a hundred children and live many years; yet no matter how long he lives, if he cannot enjoy his prosperity and does not receive proper burial, I say that a stillborn child is better off than he. It comes without meaning, it departs in darkness, and in darkness its name is shrouded. Though it never saw the sun or knew anything, it has more rest than does that man even if he lives a thousand years twice over but fails to enjoy his prosperity. Do not all go to the same place?"

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>How does the Sabbath day stress the need for rest in God? (Exodus 16:22-23; Jeremiah 17:22; John 5:16-18)

* Exodus 16:22-23 "On the sixth day, they gathered twice as much--two omers for each person--and the leaders of the community came and reported this to Moses. He said to them, "This is what the LORD commanded: 'Tomorrow is to be a day of rest, a holy Sabbath to the LORD. So bake what you want to bake and boil what you want to boil. Save whatever is left and keep it until morning.'"

* Jeremiah 17:22 "Do not bring a load out of your houses or do any work on the Sabbath, but keep the Sabbath day holy, as I commanded your forefathers."

* John 5:16-18 "So, because Jesus was doing these things on the Sabbath, the Jews persecuted him. Jesus said to them, "My Father is always at his work to this very day, and I, too, am working." For this reason the Jews tried all the harder to kill him; not only was he breaking the Sabbath, but he was even calling God his own Father, making himself equal with God."

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>8. What is the pitfall of working for the stomach? (7; and 1 Corinthians 6:12-13; Philippians 3:19-21)

* Ecclesiastes 6:7 "All man's efforts are for his mouth, yet his appetite is never satisfied."

* 1 Corinthians 6:12-13 "Everything is permissible for me"--but not everything is beneficial. "Everything is permissible for me"--but I will not be mastered by anything. "Food for the stomach and the stomach for food"--but God will destroy them both. The body is not meant for sexual immorality, but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body."

* Philippians 3:19-21 "Their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach, and their glory is in their shame. Their mind is on earthly things. But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body."

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>What are the answers and conclusion to the questions in verse 8?

* Ecclesiastes 6:8 "What advantage has a wise man over a fool? What does a poor man gain by knowing how to conduct himself before others?"

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>What does verse 9 mean?

* Ecclesiastes 6:9 "Better what the eye sees than the roving of the appetite. This too is meaningless, a chasing after the wind."

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>9. If we can not contend with someone stronger what can we do? (10)

* Ecclesiastes 6:10 "Whatever exists has already been named, and what man is has been known; no man can contend with one who is stronger than he."

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>How is simple words often better than complicated words? (11)

* Ecclesiastes 6:11 "The more the words, the less the meaning, and how does that profit anyone?"

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>10. Who should we see to see what is good in this life?

* Ecclesiastes 6:12 "For who knows what is good for a man in life, during the few and meaningless days he passes through like a shadow? Who can tell him what will happen under the sun after he is gone?"

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