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The Message of Ecclesiastes

In a "meaningless" life, you can trust the sovereign, good, and righteous God.

As I look back in my life over the last several years there was a period in which I lived in the dark night of the soul. I spent several months of my life on the sloping back of a question mark. And there was a preacher and there was a message that brought me back into the sunlight again. Without apology I'd like to preach that message.

I'd like to borrow from that preacher. For that is, after all, the way that Solomon, the author of Ecclesiastes, introduces his book. The preacher, son of David, king over Jerusalem. The word for preacher in the Hebrew is the word qôheleth. It's the word for a man who addresses an assembly. The corresponding word in the Greek is the word ekklesiastic, and that's where the book of Ecclesiastes gets its name.

The only problem with this ancient preacher is that many people feel he was backslidden. They see him as a wolf in sheep's clothing and not a particularly convincing sheep at that. Ancient rabbis had a great deal of difficulty with this preacher, and many of them felt he ought not be allowed to enter the library of inspiration.

Even those who believe that the book is a unity cannot agree as to what the message of the book is about.

It seems to me a thing unthinkable that the Spirit of God would have 12 chapters of the Bible to give me the musings of a naturalist or a rationalist. If I want that, I can talk to the man sitting next to me in the airplane or walk on a college campus and talk to a student, or professor; visit a used bookstore and all kinds of books give me that philosophy.

I find that view of this book difficult to accept because the preacher himself says that it's not true. In the last chapter the preacher says, "Not only was the Preacher wise but also he imparted knowledge ...

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Haddon Robinson was a preacher and teacher of preachers all over the world. His last teaching position was as the Harold John Ockenga Distinguished Professor of Preaching at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary.

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Sermon Outline:


How do we put together the message of Ecclesiastes?

I. Believing that God is sovereign allows us to live with mystery.

II. Trusting that God is good allows us to live with enjoyment.

III. Knowing that God is just allows us to live responsibly.


God does not give us all the answers, but he gives us himself.