ECCLESIASTES

Chapter 4

"Labor, Wisdom, and Pleasure."

This Bible Study is written by Roger Christopherson, and it's transcription/ location
is provided by
http://www.theseason.org/ 

In this chapter Solomon looks for compassion, to see if that brings peace of mind to the flesh body. That is taking an interest in the people around you to see if that gives peace of mind. We will see in the next chapter that religion become a reality, but here we are looking to compassion within flesh man.

Ecclesiastes 4:1 "So I returned, and considered all the oppressions that are done under the sun: and behold the tears of such as were oppressed, and they had no comforter; and on the side of their oppressors there was power; but they had no comforter."

Don't forget that "under the sun" means in the flesh body, not the soul or the eternal body. Solomon is now considering those in the flesh, that are weak, had no comforter on their side, but the oppressors to the weak always had a power to bring the weak under submission. When the weak are oppressed, the tears flowed. Within this we can see sympathy from Solomon for the weak, because that have no comforter.

We know that Christ, after His death on the cross has sent to Comforter to mankind, and we have Him even to this day.

Ecclesiastes 4:2 "Wherefore I praised the dead which are already dead more than the living which are yet alive."

Solomon is saying the dead is better off then the living, that are oppressed without a comforter.

Ecclesiastes 4:3 "Yea, better is he than both they, which hath not yet been, who hath not seen the evil work that is done under the sun."

He that is passed on from this earth age, is better off than those that live in this age, as well as those that must still be born in the flesh, to see the evil work that is done in the flesh. In this verse we can see that God had revealed to Solomon that there was a life to be lived, after man had died and his soul had left the flesh body. Also that all souls that had passed through this flesh body, that many of them were still there with Him in heaven. In other words, with out peace of mind, living in this flesh body is not that big of a deal.

Ecclesiastes 4:4 "Again, I considered all travail, and every right work, that for this a man is envied of his neighbour. This is also vanity and vexation of spirit."

He is looking at this a little deeper, and here he can see that all life is toil, or work. In the flesh there is always a rivalry between men, and the basis of this rivalry is envy that man has for his neighbors possessions. This is the flesh nature, and in Christ we should learn from those that are blessed, and strive to do better in ourselves. We should use the neighbor's efforts as a guide to develope our own skills.

We know that vanity is emptiness, but this "vexation of spirit" is better translated, "chasing the wind". The Hebrew word for "vexation" is "reuwth", # 7469 in Strong's Hebrew Dictionary, "a feeding upon, comes from 7462." It means that man is feeding on his own spirit. We will get to this in a few verses.

Ecclesiastes 4:5 "The fool foldeth his hands together, and eateth his own flesh."

The fool then is content to sit on his hands, and live on what ever comes his way. He strives for nothing and sets no goals. He is like a panhandler, what ever is given to him, he accepts and is content to do nothing. In the long run, he will waste away, and have nothing. We are talking here about man's spirit, and not the Holy Spirit. In flesh only, man has no Comforter.

Just as the fool feeds on himself, so also the spirit of the fool feeds also on himself and his own spirit, and takes on no spiritual nourishment from the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is the gift of God, and the majority of the people today practice this vexation of spirit. Many of them just do not believe on God, so they must feed on their own spirit. You have to believe in something. Today the world is trying to remove God, and the Spirit of God from all areas of our lives, and the what they are placing in the mind of mankind, is to believe in yourself. In short what they are saying is for mankind to replace the Spirit of God in your life, with your own spirit, and feed on yourself. Of course the end result of this is your own destruction.

Every man, woman and child has a frail spirit, and to grow to rely upon yourself, and not the Word of God, is like skipping merrily through a mine field. The spirit one has does have an effect on those that he is around. This vexation of spirit is when a man lives in the flesh and does not believe in God, or even say you believe and never study His Word. You are vexing your spirit by feeding on your own spirit, rather then feeding from God's Spirit from His Word.

Then when the end times trouble comes of deception, he has nothing to rely on to build up is spirit, and has to rely on his own spirit as a frail fool in spirit. Then when the famine comes in the end times, which is for the "hearing of the Word of God", they will starve their spirit to death.

Amos 8:11 "Behold, the days come, saith the Lord God, that I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the Lord:"

Mankind today is walking around feeding on their own spirits, until they are becoming wilted spiritually, completely unable to stand against the deceptions that the Antichrist will bring upon the earth to deceive all of mankind, except the elect. Picture the fool wasting away, and feeding on his own flesh, with his hands folded, and apply this spiritually.

Ecclesiastes 4:6 "Better is an handful with quietness, than both the hands full with travail and vexation of spirit."

"A handful with quietness" is to say "peace of mind". Seeking the peace of mind that only God can give, is better then trying to continually try to get ahead fighting this "vexation of spirit". The only peace that man can receive is that which come from the Comforter, the Holy Spirit of God. If you get to the point to where you feel that you can find peace of mind in anything you do of yourself, without the Spirit of God, you are walking on quick sand, and with out a foundation. It is your life that is at risk, if you practice this vexation of spirit.

Ecclesiastes 4:7 "Then I returned, and I saw vanity under the sun."

Solomon is saying that after I returned to take another look at this, all I could see was the emptiness of flesh man as he walked under the sun. When you look upon the people of today, take a close look and see the emptiness and shallowness in their lives, as they live from day to day without the Comforter.

Ecclesiastes 4:8 "There is one alone, and there is not a second; yea, he hath neither child nor brother: yet is there no end of all his labour; saith he, `For whom do I labour, and bereave my soul of good?' This is also vanity, yea, it is a sore travail."

Solomon is talking about one here that has no next of kin to inherit his wealth, or family to share his wealth with, yet he is still striving with all his might to gain wealth, and find peace of mind within that wealth. This old boy was a miser all his life, and cared for no one, only the personal gain to his flesh body. Solomon is saying that the life of this man is vanity and emptiness, and fatigue [travail]. He is going to die without the enjoyment of any of his wealth. One living alone to himself is a miserable wretch indeed.

Ecclesiastes 4:9 "Two are better than one; because they have a good reward for their labour."

This is the other side now. Even when the two are working, they have the beautiful thing called fellowship, and sharing. This can apply to marriage, or to your daily work, or what ever. When you have two working together you bounce ideas off each other, and can share your joys, and alert each other of the dangers around you. God created man for His own pleasure and He is worthy of our praise. When we bless God in praising Him, He blesses us in our lives.

Revelation 4:11 "Thou are worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for Thou hast created all things, and for Thy pleasure they are and were created."

God expects you to give Him pleasure by being obedient to him. We do that by studying His Word, and learning to control our flesh body, and what He expect of each of us. That is how we find peace of mind on this earth. Friends are valuable, for two are better then one in companionship.

Ecclesiastes 4:10 "For if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow: but woe to him that is alone when he falleth; for he hath not another to help him up."

Remember the subject that is here is the spirit of man, and when man is alone and falls, he stays there in grief by himself. But with that friend to help the other, there is one that can reach down and pick up that one that is mentally down in spirit. That is why we should never misuse a friend, for they are the most precious thing that man in the flesh can have. We are talking of the spirit of man here, and not the Comforter that God sends.

Two is better than one when it come to those days that things just aren't going well. The Mother and child, the husband and wife, or two friends at work, it matters only that there is concern for one another. One spirit lifting up the other's spirit when it is down.

Ecclesiastes 4:11 "Again, if two lie together, then they have heat: but how can one be warm alone."

In extreme temperatures, when two are traveling together, they can give warmth together and keep each other alive, where as alone they would die in the cold. This can be related to family, friend, or what ever.

Ecclesiastes 4:12 "And if one prevail against him, two shall withstand him; and a threefold cord is not quickly broken."

In the original text it is obvious that this is in reference to them being attacked or overpowered by an enemy. If one attack you, with your buddy, the both of you can prevail against the aggressor. A father, son, and family relationship is not easily broken. When one is under attack, he can be overtaken very easily, but you take the family ties, and one member of the family is under attack, the whole family is under attack. Each member of that family represents a cord, and when you weave each of the cords of the family together, you have a rope that won't break. You have strength in numbers.

Learn to stick together as a family, and instead of pulling off in different directions, pull in the same direction, and use the strength that exist within the family ties. All pull in the same direction in the life's journey in the flesh, whereby all members of the cord find peace of mind and happiness.

Ecclesiastes 4:13 "Better is a poor and a wise child than an old and foolish king, who will no more be admonished."

These are types of people living in the flesh. The poor and a wise child is always looking for a way out to better himself. However the old and foolish king thinks that he knows it all, and will not listen to those giving him advise.

Remember David, the wise young lad that went up against the giant, where as the old foolish king, Saul was set in his ways, and in the end, David won the battle, while Saul died at the hands of his own sword. Saul had the spirit of madness and evil upon him, while David heart was in tune with the heavenly Father's, and there was nothing that was impossible for David, in his mind, for God was his strength.

Ecclesiastes 4:14 For out of prison he cometh to reign; whereas also he that is born in his kingdom becometh poor."

What is said here is that wisdom is better then wealth, for without wisdom, what ever wealth you have will not be with you long. But you can be poor and have true wisdom in God, and God will then see that you prosper because He loves you. Let that settle in your mind, God loves you, and He cares about you, and everything that affects you. He cares about your soul.

Ecclesiastes 4:15 "I considered all the living which walk under the sun, with the second child that shall stand up in his stead."

Even though someone's popularity is fickle, they can love you one moment for some thing you have done, yet at the drop of a hat, that popularity can change as fast as it came. Understanding what popularity is, is all part of maturity, and growing up.

Ecclesiastes 4:16 "There is no end of all the people, even of all that have been before them: they also that come after shall not rejoice in him. Surely this also is vanity and vexation of spirit."

This should be drilled into your head by now. There is nothing new under the sun, hat has happened before, will happen to you, and it will also happen in the future. That that has been, will be again. What he is saying here is that one can be great in one generation with wisdom and knowledge, and to the next generation, they will all forget the value of the last generation, and begin feeding on their own spirit.

History is the story of the past generation, as written by those that would design it for their own benefit. If our generation chooses to disregard the wisdom of another generation, and the powers that be, strike it from the books, this generation looses the wealth of that knowledge for good. There is nothing new under the sun, and the problems that caused wars in Abraham's time, cause the wars in David's time, and Christ's time, and even in our time. On the other side of the coin, the things that brought happiness to Joseph, and Paul is also the things that bring happiness in our lives. We learn those things by reading about them in God's Word. The Scriptures gives us the types of things that are necessary to live our lives in the flesh body, and find peace of mind and happiness.

The Scriptures tell us how to think for ourselves, and meditate on the things that are important in our lives. When we think on those matters, we can then come to the proper conclusion, because we have the foundation to build or thoughts and base our actions on. It is the inner man that becomes important, and the flesh will not matter much, because the wise man know that what is lasting and eternal is the soul and spirit, and the flesh is due shortly for the grave, and the dust of the earth.

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