Life in the Fast Lane

The Meaning of Life Series
  • What happens when we seek ultimate meaning outside of relationship with the Creator God? What happens when we're desperate for the answers to life but can't seem to find any? What happens when our souls get wearied from the constant pursuit of pleasure and possessions? These are enormous questions of life and meaning that Ecclesiastes grapples with in the timeless complexity and messiness of reality. In the end, the ancient philosopher recalibrates our hearts, minds, and lives to pursue meaning in the Ultimate God because God alone holds the key to the meaning of life.
3. Life in the Fast Lane (Ecclesiastes 2:17-26)
  • Can we find meaning in life through a day’s work?
Sermon Preparation Guide
  • Importance – What are the central ideas of the text?
  • Meaning in life does not come from work. (Ecclesiastes 2:17)
  • Any meaning in life from work is defeated by the reality of death. (Ecclesiastes 2:21-23)
  • The answer to this conundrum may be to live with a fatalistic view, or it is at least that God does provide good things to enjoy and because of His goodness in this way, they can be enjoyed and in that is meaning enough for life. (Ecclesiastes 2:24 & 25)
  • Implications – What questions should the listener be asking?
  • What is your work and are you seeking for meaning in life from your work?
  • What is the implication that death faces all of us with regard to the living of life and the doing of work?
  • What is the view you should take with regard to your work and your life? Fatalism? Or gifts from God?
Talk it Over Discussion Guide
  • Interpretation – What is the text telling/showing us?
  • Why did the Preacher try to find meaning in work?
  • What happens to the accumulating of things from one's work when the time of death comes?
  • What is it that worries the Preacher about leaving what he has worked for to the next generation (his heir or heirs)? Why is this a worry?
  • Why is there no ultimate meaning in life in mere work?
  • What are the results of work according to the Preacher?
  • What does the Preacher propose as a “solution” to the meaninglessness of work?
  • What does the Preacher mean when he writes that enjoyment in food, drink and work is “from the hand of God?”
  • Why does the “sinner” find that “the business of gathering and collecting” is vanity?
  • Implementation – What should the listener’s response be?
  • What is good about seeking pleasure? What is wrong about seeking pleasure?
  • What is pleasure for you in your life? Do you seek to find meaning in that pleasure? Why or why not?
  • Why do people who do not have a relationship with God seek to find meaning in the pursuit of pleasure? Where will that pursuit lead them?
  • Why is?
  • Can you think of?
  • Have you?
  • If pursuing pleasure or wisdom leads to vanity, where can you find meaning? Have you found meaning in life? Where?
Sermon Teaching Notes (as prepared by Pastor Dick Murphy)
  • Investigation – What’s generally going on in this area of Scripture?
In chapter two, verses 1-16, we saw the Preacher’s review of his search for meaning as he looked at pleasure and then wisdom, madness and folly. He found that those things led to meaninglessness, not meaning. His answer to the meaning of life must lie in a different direction; but where? How about work … is the meaning of life to be found in one’s work? If one just works hard, that will provide satisfaction and purpose. So the Preacher looks at work, and verse 18 doesn’t pull any punches: “I hated all my toil in which I toil under the sun …” (Ecclesiastes 2:18). This does not mean that there cannot be any satisfaction in work; but rather it means that there is not ultimate satisfaction in work. Work is work, intimates the Preacher, and it gets you nowhere in the end. In fact, when you’re gone, all that your work has gotten you is an accumulation of the stuff of life – goods, wealth, material things, possessions – and these stay on the earth and pass on to your heir, and who knows whether that heir is wise or is a fool and what will happen to your accumulation. (Ecclesiastes 2:18 & 19) Was the Preacher, namely Solomon, thinking here about his heir, his son, Rehoboam, and wondering what would happen to the kingdom when it went to Rehoboam as his successor to the throne? History says Solomon had good reason to worry as Rehoboam was not a worthy successor, and followed folly rather than wisdom (I Kings 12:1-15) as a result of which the kingdom was divided (I Kings 12:16 et seq.).

So work doesn't provide meaning; you do your work, and then you die. This leads not to a life of meaning, but to one of despair (Ecclesiastes 2:20). Thus, even if there seems to be some meaning in work, such as it produced something or made you feel good, that perceived meaning is blown away by the reality of the end by death (Cf. Luke 12:13-21 in which Jesus tells the parable of the rich fool who built bigger barns only to die suddenly.) Moreover, even during life, what one's work does provide is anything but meaning, says the Preacher. First, there is the frustration, noted above, that someone who comes later, and who may or may not be worthy and who didn't earn the rewards of another's earthly toil, will nevertheless reap the rewards.(Ecclesiastes 2:21) There is also the anxiety that derives from the constant striving and driving to achieve the results of one's work (Ecclesiastes 2:22). There is pain, grief and sorrow in the activities of one's work. And there is worry over one's work, even at night when one is not actually working and should be sleeping (Ecclesiastes 2:22 & 23). What should have come from work, namely meaning and purpose, does not come; instead what comes is meaninglessness.

So what is one to do? The Preacher essentially sets out what would be seen as a fatalistic approach, that we should just accept what is, enjoy life and “make the best of a bad situation.” (Ecclesiastes 2:24) Or, in the words of a pop song from some years ago by Bobby McFerrin, “Don't worry; be happy!” The Preacher puts it this way, “There is nothing better for a person than that he should eat and drink and find enjoyment in his toil.” This approach would represent not a contentment based on meaning, but instead based on the view that all events are predetermined and therefore inevitable, and one should submit to that and passively resign oneself to and accept the “inevitable.” This approach says, “I have no control of anything anyway, so just live life to the fullest.” This approach represents the totally human perspective that excludes God. And this approach can be viewed as coming from God (Ecclesiastes 2:24b), though not the God we know, the God with whom we can have a personal relationship, the God who loves us and wants the best for us. Rather, this approach is moreso a “secular” view of God (as in “the gods”) as the force that controls things, the one who has made things as they are and things that can be enjoyed. So, following this view, work (among other things) is God's gift, so enjoy your life and work; take pleasure in it because it's from this God (Ecclesiastes 2:25). But guess what, there is still meaninglessness because this God who controls everything gives good things to some, and even gives success and possessions to those who are evil (“the sinner” Ecclesiastes 2:26). But with the latter, this God takes what they have from them and gives it to the non-sinner. What enjoyment is there in that as in the end, because everyone will die anyway as the Preacher already noted. So in the end, “[t]his also is vanity and a striving after the wind.” (Ecclesiastes 2:26b)

Because we know that Solomon is Jewish, was raised in the Jewish religion, that his father, David, was a man after God's heart, and that Solomon began his reign as king fully submitted to the God of Israel and following His way (I Kings 3:7-15; 8:14-61; 9:3-9), it is quite possible that the foregoing fatalistic view was not what Solomon concluded, as opposed to merely setting it forth as the only approach for the person outside of God short of despair. Instead, in verses 24-26, Solomon may be providing a hint of the conclusion he will reach at the end of his book, namely, that God is part of life, and that approaching life from God's perspective is the way to meaning in life. Thus, these verses say that the One true God has given life to everyone, and that He has made things for His human creations to enjoy, so we should enjoy what God has given! Eat the good food and drink the good drink He has given us; work and find satisfaction in the work itself, in the completion of a job, in the creativity of the work, in the joy of simply working hard to the end of the day. The meaning is thus found in the true God who gives the meaning to these things, and it is the wise one who enjoys these things simply because they are from God Himself given for enjoyment. The sinner, on the other hand, will not find joy and satisfaction as he or she is merely engaging in the “business of gathering and collecting” (Ecclesiastes 2:26) and will lose even that. The sinner, therefore finds only “vanity and a striving after wind” (Ecclesiastes 2:26b) in such business.


So the conclusion is that there is no meaning in work, and the great mind of the Preacher-King, when applied to the question of meaning in life, has come up empty yet again. But in an attempt to salvage at least something from the search, the Preacher has pointed to a life of enjoyment for enjoyment's sake, possible as nothing else than a fatalistic antidote to despair, where life ends at death, but the impersonal, controlling God at least let's us have a life, so live it out as best you can. What an empty conclusion, however, as it seems simply to underscore the outcome of life as meaningless and leading to despair. A “new wisdom” from the outside is still needed, a wisdom that gives a new orientation to life and provides meaning. What is this “new wisdom?” Where does it come from? The Preacher's seems to say that the answer is not fatalism, but is found in the God who is the giver of good things. As the search goes on, then, will the Preacher find that the latter perspective is correct, notwithstanding that so much in life appears meaningless? The subsequent chapters will show us his answer.   
Running On Empty

The Meaning of Life Series
  • What happens when we seek ultimate meaning outside of relationship with the Creator God? What happens when we're desperate for the answers to life but can't seem to find any? What happens when our souls get wearied from the constant pursuit of pleasure and possessions? These are enormous questions of life and meaning that Ecclesiastes grapples with in the timeless complexity and messiness of reality. In the end, the ancient philosopher recalibrates our hearts, minds, and lives to pursue meaning in the Ultimate God because God alone holds the key to the meaning of life.
2. Running On Empty (Ecclesiastes 2:1-16)
  • Can we find meaning in life through wisdom and pleasure?
Sermon Preparation Guide
  • Importance – What are the central ideas of the text?
  • Meaning in life is not to be found in pleasure, no matter what the pleasure is. (Ecclesiastes 2:1 & 2)
  • Meaning in life is not found in wisdom, madness or folly, even if wisdom is better than the other two. (Ecclesiastes 2:12, 15)
  • We can learn from the search for the meaning of life of the wisest man who walked the earth – there is nothing new under the sun. (Ecclesiastes 2:15, 17)
  • Implications – What questions should the listener be asking?
  • What is pleasure to you and what do you expect from it?
  • Why is wisdom better than madness and folly, but why do none of them lead to meaning?
  • What can we learn from the Preacher's search, and why is it important that we learn from him?
Talk it Over Discussion Guide
  • Interpretation – What is the text telling/showing us?
  • Why did the Preacher try to find meaning in pleasure?
  • What were the pleasures the Preacher searched? Make a list of them.
  • What is it about the things on the list that provide pleasure to an individual?
  • Why is there no ultimate meaning in life in the pursuit of pleasure?
  • Why did the Preacher try to find meaning in wisdom, madness and folly?
  • What are wisdom, madness and folly? Why do they not provide meaning in life?
  • What does the Preacher mean when writes, “For what can the man do who comes after the king?” in verse 12?
  • Why is wisdom better than madness or folly, relatively speaking? But where do all three end up? 
  • Implementation – What should the listener’s response be?
  • What is good about seeking pleasure? What is wrong about seeking pleasure?
  • What is pleasure for you in your life? Do you seek to find meaning in that pleasure? Why or why not?
  • Why do people who do not have a relationship with God seek to find meaning in the pursuit of pleasure? Where will that pursuit lead them?
  • Why is following wisdom and seeking after it a good thing and madness and folly not a good thing?
  • Can you think of examples of madness and folly you have experienced or witnessed? What were the outcomes of those examples?
  • Have you been able to learn from the experience and discoveries of others in your own search for meaning in life?
  • If pursuing pleasure or wisdom leads to vanity, where can you find meaning? Have you found meaning in life? Where?
Sermon Teaching Notes (as prepared by Pastor Dick Murphy)
  • Investigation – What’s generally going on in this area of Scripture?
In chapter one of this book of Ecclesiastes, the writer (in our view, Solomon the King of Israel) has set forth his thesis about the meaning and purpose of life, namely that all is meaningless (“all is vanity” Ecclesiastes 1:2). Having begun with his conclusion, in the ensuing chapters the writer reviews the length and breadth of his search for meaning; in other words, he lays out how he arrived at his conclusion having applied his heart “to seek and to search out by wisdom all that is done under heaven” (Ecclesiastes 1:13. See also Ecclesiastes 1:17), leaving no stone unturned in his search.

This review of the Preacher's search begins in chapter 2 with his look to “pleasure” to find meaning (Ecclesiastes 2:1). Pleasure in the sense used by the Preacher in his search means whatever in life can supply fun, mirth and enjoyment. The phrase, “Eat, drink and be merry!” fits this picture. Pleasure thus means enjoy yourself, live in the moment, indulge your desires for pleasure, party on, have fun and laugh. One commentator suggests it means “more and varied pleasures, entertainments, and excitements.” Sounds like life in the year 2016 in the western world! The Preacher tried it all, albeit with discernment (Ecclesiastes 2:3). He cites enjoyment (Ecclesiastes 2:1), laughter (Ecclesiastes 2:2), wine (Ecclesiastes 2:2), great building and environmental improvements (Ecclesiastes 2:4-6), acquisitions of all kinds (Ecclesiastes 2:7 & 8), greatness in the eyes of the world (Ecclesiastes 2:9), and anything and everything else one could imagine (Ecclesiastes 2:10). In short, any way one could think to derive pleasure, from whatever angle or perspective, the Preacher tried them all; he went for it, full out, withholding nothing from his pursuit. And note, this wasn't wild, thoughtless pursuit on the part of the Preacher; it was rather a determined, discerning effort to find meaning in life, in this case, through pleasure of whatever kind (Ecclesiastes 2:3, 9).

But where did the search for meaning in pleasure get the Preacher? Nowhere; the search led him to meaninglessness, not meaning. Listen to the words of the Preacher as he digests the results of his search: “It is mad.” (concerning laughter, Ecclesiastes 2:2); “What use is it?” (concerning pleasure, Ecclesiastes 2:2); “all was vanity” (Ecclesiastes 2:11); “there was nothing to be gained under the sun.” (Ecclesiastes 2:11b) The search for life's meaning through pleasure, then, was a dead end; it merely confirmed the Preacher's thesis. Interestingly, all the things that the Preacher chased after are not necessarily bad things; pleasure is not evil in and of itself. Look again at some of the things the Preacher did for pleasure: built houses; planted vineyards; made gardens and parks; planted; made water available to help the forest grow; raised herds and flocks; gathered treasure. So the issue is not the things the Preacher did, but instead are the result in what he did in terms of purpose and meaning in life. And the result was “striving after the wind.” (Ecclesiastes 2:11) This is not to say that the things the Preacher did can be evil, as they certainly can be when they are done for self-gratification, or at the expense of others, or out of selfishness and pride. The point in this book is the search for ultimate meaning and purpose in life, and the Preacher discovered that was no such meaning to be found in pursuing pleasure.

The Preacher then turned to consider “wisdom and madness and folly” (Ecclesiastes 2:12) and whether they might lead to meaning. And it seems that the Preacher takes the view that once he considers these things, there can be no better or deeper understanding than his own conclusions, given who he is, his great wisdom, and the resources at his disposal to experiment with whatever he wants in order to find meaning. The king who comes after him can do no more than the Preacher (Ecclesiastes 2:12). This is not a boasting statement, but rather a statement of fact; the answers and discoveries of the Preacher are definitive, and no subsequent searching will discover anything more or different. So, what are wisdom, madness and folly? Wisdom is a knowledgeable, discerning view and perspective on everything; it is using reason skillfully, and judiciously, with broad and full intelligence, and understanding. Madness, which could be translated “insanity,” is basically the opposite of wisdom; it is the view without reason; it is senselessness. Folly means foolishness or silliness. It is also contrasted with wisdom and represents a vapid approach to things, a thoughtlessness and empty-headed perspective. The Preacher concludes that in general, and apart from meaning, wisdom is preferred over madness and folly as it leads to light rather than darkness, to understanding rather than illusion, to consciousness rather than delusion. Relatively speaking, wisdom trumps madness and folly. And yet … and yet … the Preacher concludes that what good is wisdom when, in the end, it leads to the same place as madness and folly. The wise man will be remembered no more than will be the fool (Ecclesiastes 2:16); both the wise man and the fool die the same death (Ecclesiastes 2:16). So where do wisdom, madness and folly lead? Again, not to meaning, but to vanity.


Verse 17, while not part of the verses in these Notes, nevertheless amounts to a transitional verse, summing up the direction of thought in verses 2 through 16, but also tying the thought to what will follow in verse 18. And it is a restatement of the thesis: “… [A]ll is vanity and a striving after wind.” (Ecclesiastes 2:17b). Can we find meaning to life in pleasure? NO. Can we find meaning in life in wisdom, madness or folly? No. The great mind and unlimited resources of the Preacher-King, when applied to the question of meaning in life in the pursuit of these latter things, have come up empty again. But yet again, the conclusion of the Preacher serves to point out the need for something else, something from outside, to provide meaning and purpose. The Preacher will not find what he is looking for on the earth, or in human wisdom and endeavors; he has found only meaninglessness in those things, though he will continue his search and try other avenues to find meaning. But he will fail, because there is “nothing to be gained under the sun.” (Ecclesiastes 2:11b) The answer to an understanding of life will come from God's perspective, as we will see in the end. The Preacher's search will show us that in the weeks ahead.
Chasing After the Wind

The Meaning of Life Series
  • What happens when we seek ultimate meaning outside of relationship with the Creator God? What happens when we're desperate for the answers to life but can't seem to find any? What happens when our souls get wearied from the constant pursuit of pleasure and possessions? These are enormous questions of life and meaning that Ecclesiastes grapples with in the timeless complexity and messiness of reality. In the end, the ancient philosopher recalibrates our hearts, minds, and lives to pursue meaning in the Ultimate God because God alone holds the key to the meaning of life.
1. Chasing After the Wind (Ecclesiastes 1:1-18)
  • Can we find meaning in life at all?
Sermon Preparation Guide
  • Importance – What are the central ideas of the text?
  • Viewed from the human perspective without God, life is meaningless. (Ecclesiastes 1:2, 14)
  • No matter how one humanly comes at the question of the meaning of life, the conclusion is the same – meaningless. (Ecclesiastes 1:3-11)
  • The greatest wisdom of man will not reach a different conclusion. (Ecclesiastes 1:14, 17)
  • Implications – What questions should the listener be asking?
  • From your own human perspective, do you conclude that life is meaningless? Do your friends who do not know Jesus reach this same conclusion
  • What are some ways that people seek to find meaning in life that, ultimately, are fruitless?
  • Why can human wisdom not discover meaning in life?
Talk it Over Discussion Guide
  • Interpretation – What is the text telling/showing us?
  • How does the author of the book describe himself? Why is this author “qualified” to write about the meaning of life?
  • What is the theme of the book? (cite the verse that states the theme.)
  • What examples of futility and meaninglessness does the Preacher provide in this chapter?
  • Why does the fact that things always seem the same lead to the conclusion of meaninglessness?
  • What does it mean to say that there is “nothing new under the sun?” (verse 9)
  • Why even ask the question, “What is the meaning of life?”
  • Why is the Preacher vexed and sorrowful? (verse 18)
  • Implementation – What should the listener’s response be?
  • Do you think about the meaning of life in general and of your life in particular? What conclusions have you come to?
  • Why is it a depressing thought to say that “… vanity of vanities! All is vanity.” (verse 2)
  • Do people in your circle think about life as meaningless, and if so, why do t hey reach that conclusion?
  • Why is it actually a healthy thing to think about the meaning of life and to reach the human conclusion that all is vanity?
  • Do you find yourself thinking that everything is just all the same, over and over? Why do you think that?
  • Why is it important to know how those without God in their life might think about life?
  • What might you say to the one who says life is meaningless?
  • What provides meaning in your life?
  • What lessons have you learned from this chapter and how can you apply them to your life?
Sermon Teaching Notes (as prepared by Pastor Dick Murphy)
  • Investigation – What’s generally going on in this area of Scripture?
The book of Ecclesiastes is perhaps the most difficult book in the Bible in that it seems misplaced. Indeed, as one commentator put it, it seems that the big question in the book is not whether or not God is there, but whether or not God cares! (so, David Guzik, in Blue Letter Bible) When one reads the book, verse after verse show only despair, futility and hopelessness. The text literally screams out that life is meaningless. Where is God in all of this? Yet that is really the point: from the perspective of human reason and wisdom, no matter which way one turns, life is meaningless; nothing matters; everything continues on and on, round and round; “striving after the wind” as the text puts it numerous times (e.g., Ecclesiastes 2:11 & 17). But the “Teacher” (Ecclesiastes 1:1, 12) writes all of this, it seems, to draw one to the conclusion that one has to look from the outside to find meaning, and that ultimately, the only meaning is found in God (Ecclesiastes 12:13 & 14). thus, as commentator Michael Eaton states, the author “… defends the life of faith in a generous God by pointing to the grimness of the alternative.” (Michael Eaton, Ecclesiastes, Tyndale Old Testament Commentaries). And further, this “exploration of life's meaninglessness outside of knowing God thus becomes an invitation to know him.” (IVP Daily Bible Study) As we delve into this different book, then, be ready to be challenged by the questions and positions set forth, by the questions that the person who doesn't know God would be asking about life. And be ready to find that the ultimate answer is found only in God Himself.

Ecclesiastes is a type of writing called “wisdom literature.” This kind of writing was a staple of the ancient near east cultures. Wisdom literature dealt with existential questions about God, humanity, creation, evil and suffering, and such. The wisdom writings were either short, pithy insights (proverbs), dialogue, or extended reflections and essays. Wisdom literature is found in the Hebrew culture as well. Generally, the writings came from a set if individuals known basically as being “sages” who observed and commented on life based on wisdom that they discerned from observation of the universe and experience. These individuals became advisers to kings and other political figures, they were educators and counselors, and generally the public thought highly of them. The three principal writings of the Bible that constitute wisdom literature are Job, Proverbs and Ecclesiastes (some include Song of Solomon and Psalms as wisdom literature). Wisdom literature is sometimes called “pessimism literature” as the viewpoints expressed in the writings are or can be dire and hopeless. The intent was not to “pep up” the reader; rather it was to make the reader think, even if the conclusions reached were not encouraging.

Who wrote Ecclesiastes? Most would say Solomon, king of Israel who followed his father King David. This conclusion is reached because the book itself purports to be written by Solomon (Ecclesiastes 1:1, 12, 16), and the few statements about the author line up with the historical facts about Solomon, namely that he was king of Israel after David (I Kings 2:10-12), was the wisest man on earth (I Kings 3:9-12; 4:29-34) and the richest king of the earth at the time (I Kings 3:13; 10:14-29; II Chronicles 9:13-28). If, as some commentators suggest, the book was not written by Solomon, it was certainly written by an individual who was wise in his own right and with the overall approach of Solomon. For purposes of these Notes, we will take the position that Solomon was the author. Thus, Solomon is the one who calls himself the “Preacher” (so the English Standard Version in Ecclesiastes 1:1, 2 & 12. Other translations include “Teacher” or “Spokesman.”) The Hebrew word thus translated is “Koheleth” (which translates in Greek to “Ecclesiastes”), and the idea of the word is one who would gather and lead or speak to a group of people such as a congregation (thus the translation, “Preacher”). This “Preacher” writes of his inquiry into the meaning of life, and we can imaging that Solomon, with his great wisdom and riches, as having the time, inclination and resources to engage in this study of life from all angles, and then writing about his conclusions.

The verses covered in these Notes are basically the overview of the book; they identify the author and set forth his thesis and what his book is going to cover. The Preacher wastes no time putting his thesis, really his conclusion, up for consideration: verse 2 says it all, “Vanity of vanities, says the Preacher, vanity of vanities! All is vanity.” Another translation of the word “vanity” is “meaningless.” The thrust of the word is nothingness, uselessness, emptiness, futility and meaninglessness. And the use of the phrase “vanity of vanities” is a typical Hebraism which is meant to express the intensity of what is being said. In our day, we might say something colloquial like, “Everything is really, really empty and futile … and I mean really!” In short, the Preacher is stating that life is without meaning, and he goes on to give some shape to the thesis by saying that work and labor is meaningless (Ecclesiastes 1:3), that time and people come and go and mean nothing (Ecclesiastes 1:4), and that nature and creation are nothing but the same monotonous thing over and over (Ecclesiastes 1:5-7). Then the Preacher sums up verses 3-7 by saying something like, “See what I mean? It's all weary and sameness; whatever you see and hear – it's just more of the same old, same old. The past fades, the future comes, and it's just the same over and over. Meaningless … just meaningless; there is nothing new under the sun.” (Ecclesiastes 1:8-11)

Then, the Preacher tells us that as king over Israel, he set his heart to search out whether the thesis is true (Ecclesiastes 1:12 & 13), and to do that he applied his world-famous wisdom (Ecclesiastes 1:16 & 17a), and it was an unhappy task at that because he concluded that the thesis was true, no matter which way he thought about things or from which angle he pursued his investigation (“What is crooked cannot be made straight, and what is lacking cannot be counted.” (Ecclesiastes 1:15)) The bottom line of all his inquiry and searching was that “all is vanity” (Ecclesiastes 1:14b) and “a striving after the wind.” (Ecclesiastes 1:14b, 17b) In fact, the Preacher confesses that the application of great wisdom did not discover an answer but in confirming that life is meaningless, made him more vexed and sorrowful (Ecclesiastes 1:18)

The Preacher does not provide much, if any, hope for finding meaning. Indeed, since the search for meaning is being done on a purely human level, from a purely human perspective, it is not surprising that the conclusion is “meaninglessness.” Moreover, it seems that the “system” of life, so to speak, was intentionally constructed to lead to such a conclusion (Ecclesiastes 1:13b). There is just no meaning to life to be found on earth; all is vanity, even wisdom itself for all the good it did the Preacher. But the search … just what did the Preacher find when he searched everywhere and everything? Is he correct in his conclusion? The ensuing chapters will take us on the Preacher's search, and ultimately, to a remarkable conclusion at the very end of the last chapter of his book. But that will have to wait.


So in Ecclesiastes, we have a difficult and even depressing book. Yet we would suggest that it is a necessary book for the human mind. People have asked the questions about the meaning of life for ages past, still do today, and will do so in the future. As followers of Jesus Christ, those who know the answer to the meaning of life, we do well to put ourselves for even a moment into the heads of those who are asking these questions if only to understand where they are coming from. Why are they depressed? Why are they just partying with no thought for tomorrow? Why are they working so hard? And on and on the questions go. Why engage in all that effort if there is no meaning to it all? Well, if there were no meaning, then everyone could just do what they like, because it doesn't matter; or if they went all the way to the edge of despair given meaningless, then understanding that a person could end his or her life because it didn't matter anyway would make some kind of sense. But in the midst of the litany of depressing discoveries of the Preacher confirming that life is vanity, remember, yes remember, that life is not meaningless but is made new in Jesus Christ (II Corinthians 5:17; Ephesians 2:10) with a guarantee of life that is not only present (John 10:10) but is to come (Romans 6:23; Revelation 21:5). Keep this truth firmly in mind as we move forward in our study of Ecclesiastes. 

What happens when we seek ultimate meaning outside of relationship with the Creator God? What happens when we’re desperate for the answers to life but can't seem to find any? What happens when our souls get wearied from the constant pursuit of pleasure and possessions? These are enormous questions of life and meaning that Ecclesiastes grapples with in the timeless complexity and messiness of reality. In the end, the ancient philosopher re-calibrates our hearts, minds, and lives to pursue meaning in the Ultimate God because God alone holds the key to the meaning of life.


1. Chasing After The Wind [Ecclesiastes 1:1-18]
Can we find meaning in life at all?

2. Running On Empty [Ecclesiastes 2:1-16]
Can we find meaning in life through wisdom and pleasure?

3. Life In The Fast Lane [Ecclesiastes 2:17-26]
Can we find meaning in life through a day’s work?

4. Would You Look At The Time? [Ecclesiastes 3:1-22]
Can we find meaning in life even though life seems repetitive and cyclical?

5. A Crash Course In People Skills [Ecclesiastes 4:1-16]
Can we find meaning in life through getting ahead?

6. Meaningless Religion & Meaningless Riches [Ecclesiastes 5:1-6:12]
Can we find meaning in life through worshiping things and money?

The Prayer Series – Praying for Mercy, Forgiveness and Cleansing

The Prayer Series
  • While you can pray through any part of the Bible, some books and chapters are much easier to pray through than others. Overall, the Book of Psalms is the best place in Scripture from which to pray Scripture. Almost every aspect of man’s relation to God is depicted in these poems: simple trust, the sense of sin, appeals to a higher power in time of trouble, and the conviction that the world is in the hands of a loving God. Join us in this 4 week series as we learn how to pray more God-centered prayers and enjoy more focus in prayer.
4. Praying for God's Mercy, Forgiveness and Cleansing (Psalm 51)
  • God wants our hearts to be right with Him.
Sermon Preparation Guide
  • Importance – What are the central ideas of the text?
  • Sin requires that we confess our sin to God and throw ourselves on His mercy. (Psalm 51:1 & 2) 
  • The root offense of our sin is that we sin against a holy God, have always done so since birth, and require His forgiveness in order to be purified. (Psalm 51:4-7)
  • Cleansing from sin involves restoration of relationship with God, of joy and of our spirit, and results in the restoration of our desire to praise Him. (Psalm 51:8, 12, 14 & 15)
  • Implications – What questions should the listener be asking?
  • Do you understand your sinful nature, and that you continue to sin; and are you ready to confess your sin to a holy God?
  • Are you able to confess that your sin, though it harms others, is actually sin against God Himself?
  • What restoration do you need as a result of your confession of sin?
Talk it Over Discussion Guide
  • Interpretation – What is the text telling/showing us?
  • What does it mean for God to have mercy on you? What is God's mercy, and how “large” is it?
  • What is the relationship between God's love and His mercy?
  • Why did David need God's mercy? What is the effect God's mercy would have on David?
  • What are transgressions? What is iniquity? What is sin? What are these three things in David's life?
  • What is the effect of one's transgressions on one's relationship with God?
  • What are the anticipated blessings to David from God's mercy?
  • How does David want to continue on as a result of being forgiven and cleansed by God? In other words, in what way does he want to be renewed? (hint: Psalm 51:10-12)
  • How does David's being forgiven and cleansed affect his desire for others to know God? How does it affect the nation, Israel?
  • Implementation – What should the listener’s response be?
  • Do you need God's mercy?  Why?
  • Are there any sins that you need to confess to God and ask for His mercy and forgiveness?
  • If you confess your sins to God, will He grant His mercy towards you and forgive you?
  • Why do you sin? Where does sin come from, and why are you infected with the “sin disease?”
  • What is the solution to the “sin disease?”
  • How are you like David in terms of needing God's mercy, forgiveness and cleansing?
  • Do you want “wisdom in the secret heart” from God (Psalm 51:6b)
  • What happens to your relationship with God when you sin? When you continue in sin?
  • How can your relationship with God be renewed if you sin and realize your sin?
  • Do you desire to pray Psalm 51:10 & 11 in particular?
  • If you feel the need to confess sin to God and receive His mercy, forgiveness and cleansing, write out your own version of Psalm 51, using your own words, and make it your prayer to God. And don't wait to do it … seek restoration now, and you will be glad you did!
Sermon Teaching Notes (as prepared by Pastor Dick Murphy)
  • Investigation – What’s generally going on in this area of Scripture?
Psalm 51 is a “penitential” Psalm which is a type of “lament” Psalm. As such, this Psalm, the last we will look at in this Series, is quite different than the prior three Psalms we studied. Psalm 51 is highly personal as it relates specifically to the Psalmist’s own situation and spiritual needs. In fact, this is a Psalm of David, which issued from a difficult time in his life, as the superscript tells us: “To the choirmaster. A Psalm of David when Nathan the prophet went to him, after he had gone in to Bathsheba.” So, what is this all about? II Samuel 11:1-12:25 tell us the story.

David was king over Israel, his throne having been well established and various enemies of Israel defeated (II Samuel 8:1-3, 6, 14-18; 10:13 & 14). There were still battles to be fought, however, and these occurred in spring and summer when the weather was better. One particular spring, the Israelite armies went to battle, but David stayed home, contrary to the normal practice of the king joining his troops in battle. (II Samuel 11:1). While home in Jerusalem, David got up from his bed one evening and took a walk on the roof of his palace home which overlooked Jerusalem (II Samuel 11:2) While walking, and because his palace home was on a higher elevation than the homes and structures around the palace, he saw a totally unsuspecting, beautiful woman bathing at her home. He inquired about her and was told who she was. In fact, her father was one of David's “mighty men,” (II Samuel 23:29) and his father was Ahithophel, one of David's most trusted advisors (II Samuel 15:12). Her husband was also one of the “mighty men.” (II Samuel 23:39). It is thus entirely reasonable to suggest that David was acquainted with this woman and knew where she lived; and also to suggest that she was drying herself on the roof of her house in the cool air in order to be seen by the king. David then had her brought to his palace where they had intimate relations (II Samuel 11:2-4). She subsequently returned to her home and sent word to David that she was pregnant (II Samuel 11:5). The woman’s name was Bathsheba, and her husband, Uriah the Hittite, was with the Israelite army that was away in battle (II Samuel 11:3, 6 & 7). When David learned Bathsheba was pregnant, he had Uriah brought back from battle and asked him to go to his house, David’s thinking being that the pregnancy could be thus covered up. However, Uriah would not go into his home and wife, for he was dedicated to his men who were still in battle, and would not dishonor them in such a way (II Samuel 11:8-13). Once Uriah was back to the battlefront, David had him placed at the fiercest point of fighting, knowing that he would likely be killed which was, in fact, what happened (II Samuel 11:14-25). After Bathsheba mourned her husband’s death, David brought her into his home to be his wife; and she gave birth to a son (II Samuel 11:26 & 27). Thereafter, Nathan the prophet came to David and confronted him with his sin, to which David then confessed, and then pronounced God’s judgment on David (II Samuel 12:1-15).

So what we have in Psalm 51 is David's response to his sin. Think about it; David had some nine months to consider what he had done. Did he recognize his sin during that time frame? Or had David come to the place that he believed he could have whatever he wanted because he was the king and was thus “above the law?” Or was David dissatisfied with what God had given to him and thought he deserved more, such that if God didn't provide it, he would just take it? We don't really know the answers to these questions. What we do know from the Psalm, and from II Samuel 12:13, is that once confronted by God through the prophet, Nathan, David confessed his sin. And that sin included adultery with Bathsheba and the subsequent murder of Uriah; but it also included not being with and leading his troops in the battle, taking something that was not his (namely, Bathsheba), presuming on his position and power to get his way, and dissatisfaction with God. Once he confessed, however, David was acutely aware of the nature of his sin and desired restoration of his relationship with God. One tends to think that in these intervening nine months, David was likely not involved with wholehearted worship, unless he just went through the motions, but was more and more separated from God whether or not he realized it. When Nathan said to David, “You are the man!” (I Samuel 12:7), David was faced squarely with his state of sin and rebellion, and however soon it was (though it seems it was very soon thereafter) after that confrontation that he wrote this Psalm, his words reflect his full understanding of not only his sin but of his acute need. His immediate problem upon the confrontation was that the punishment for adultery was death to both the adulterer and the adulteress (Leviticus 20:10), but God absolved him of that punishment when Nathan said, “The Lord also has put away your sin; you shall not die.”

But David then needed to make his confession clear to the Lord. He thus begins the Psalm coming to God and begging for God's mercy (which is undeserved favor), and David bases his request on his trust that God's mercy derives from His love (compare Ephesians 2:4 & 5). Thus, he asks that God “blot out” his transgressions (i.e., his sins) in accordance with His “abundant” mercy. David knew that God's mercy was big enough and wide enough to take care of his sins, so his request is in keeping with who God is. David then makes the request specific: he pleads with God, to “wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin!” (Psalm 51:2) David's confession is clear; he knows his transgressions, and his sin is ever before him (Psalm51:3). But David goes farther by saying that he knows his sin was against God Himself, and that God is justified and right to pass judgment on him (Psalm 51:4). David recognizes that his sin was not isolated; he confesses that he was born in sin (Psalm 51:5), and that he knew right from wrong from the start (Psalm 51:6) and therefore is without excuse. Therefore, only God can make him clean and restore him, and he therefore pleads to God, “purge me with hyssop,” which is a reference to what priests would do when they cleansed and purified the leper (Leviticus 14:1-7). David asks for restoration, as he wants to find joy again in his God (Psalms 51:8), and desires that God hide His face from his sings and blot them out. David knows that his ongoing unconfessed sin is a barrier to his relationship with God, that it separates him from fellowship with God, for God sees the sin. Thus, David needs and asks that God no longer see the sin in him so that the basis for rejoicing can be given back to him. But David also knows that the action required for this restoration can only come from God, and from God's changing David's own heart. Hence the following requests: “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.” (Psalm 51:10), “Cast me not away form your presence, and take not your Holy Spirit from me,” (Psalm 51:11), and “Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and uphold me with a willing spirit.” (Psalm 51:12) Being excluded from God's presence, wherein is life, joy and fullness, is unimaginable to David at this point as he realizes the consequences of his sin. Only forgiveness and restoration from God Himself can deliver David, so he unhesitatingly asks for that restoration, and promises to use his experience as a lesson to other sinners so that they, too, will return to God (Psalm 51:13). But David again goes farther and even promises that he will speak and sing to others of his such deliverance so as to praise God for who He is and for His righteousness. (Psalm 51:14 & 15)

One would think David could have ended the Psalm at verse 15, with praise to God. But no, David doesn't end but goes on to declare that mere external actions or engaging in rituals designed to appease God are insufficient; sacrifices and offerings will not do and therefore, David will not offer or give (Psalm 51:16). Rather, David acknowledges that the state of a sinner's heart is the key, and that God wants a “broken spirit” and a “broken and contrite heart.” (Psalm 51:17. Compare Jeremiah 7:9-11) It is not a far stretch to say that in Psalm 51, David expresses a true broken spirit, and a broken and contrite heart; he longs for mercy, forgiveness and cleansing even as he asks, indeed begs God for such. But even beyond personal restoration, David recognizes the effect of his sin on the community, in this case the nation Israel. Certainly David's dalliance with Bathsheba would have become know, and perhaps there were even murmurings about the timing of Uriah's death. We cannot know, but even if facts were not known and shared one to another, one surmises that rumors were. Whatever the case, David's personal spiritual state had an impact on the nation he led. So he asks that good be done to Zion, to God's covenantal people, His children, His city, and by inference that good is the triumph of God's righteousness and the example of true worship from a broken and contrite heart such that when sacrifices and offerings are made, they will be made with the right heart attitude and be acceptable to God. (Psalm 51:18 & 19)


Psalm 51 is indeed an awesome Psalm, and we should have no trouble using it as another template for our own prayer life, for we, like David, are sinners in need of restoration. (See I John 1:8 & 9) No, we may not have committed the sins David did; but sin is sin, and all sin separates us from God. As believers, when we sin intentionally and do not confess it, our relationship with God is breached, our joy in Him is lost, and our spiritual compass is offset. We need God's mercy, forgiveness and cleansing; we need restoration. We would hope that coming to God in confession would not require the intervention from someone else to point out our sin (though that is sometimes necessary), but that we would recognize our own sin, call it what it is, and go to God who extends His mercy out of His love and offers forgiveness in Jesus Christ and cleansing, so that we might be restored in fellowship with Him. So, use Psalm 51 when you confront your own sin; allow the words of David to be your words; come to God with a broken spirit and a broken and contrite heart. Out of His steadfast love, you will find God's mercy, you will receive forgiveness, and you will be cleansed, fully restored to right relationship with Him. Praise God! 
The Prayer Series – Praying for God's Presence, Provision and Protection

The Prayer Series
  • While you can pray through any part of the Bible, some books and chapters are much easier to pray through than others. Overall, the Book of Psalms is the best place in Scripture from which to pray Scripture. Almost every aspect of man’s relation to God is depicted in these poems: simple trust, the sense of sin, appeals to a higher power in time of trouble, and the conviction that the world is in the hands of a loving God. Join us in this 4 week series as we learn how to pray more God-centered prayers and enjoy more focus in prayer.
3. Praying for God's Presence, Provision and Protection (Psalm 63)
  • No matter where we are, our desire should be for God because only He is the source of everything.
Sermon Preparation Guide
  • Importance – What are the central ideas of the text?
  • We are utterly dependent on God and must come to Him in prayer with that understanding. (Psalm 63:1-3)
  • As we pray to God in our dependence on Him, we must acknowledge His presence and allow it to issue in praise. (Psalm 63:4 & 5)
  • As we pray to God, we must recognize that His presence is the source of our provision and protection and rest in that. (Psalm 63:6-11)
  • Implications – What questions should the listener be asking?
  • Do you understand that you are utterly dependent on God and live that way?
  • When you pray, do you acknowledge His presence and practice it too?
  • Because God is God, He is indeed the source of our provision and protection. Do you recognize that, believe that and practice that?
Talk it Over Discussion Guide
  • Interpretation – What is the text telling/showing us?
  • What does it mean when David prays, “O God, you are my God?”
  • What does David mean when he writes that his soul thirsts for God?
  • What is the meaning of David's saying that he has beheld God's power and glory? What is the effect of that vision for God and who He is?
  • According to this Psalm, what is the source of praise to God?
  • How does David, in t his psalm, deal with his difficult circumstances?
  • How does one's soul “cling” to God?
  • How does God's right hand uphold a person?
  • How does David understand that God will make things right vis-a-vis his enemies?
  • Implementation – What should the listener’s response be?
  • Can you pray, “O God, you are my God?” Write your own statement of that reality in a few sentences and pray it.
  • Does your soul “thirst” for God? What does that look like in your life?
  • What would happen to you spiritually if you were not able to drink of God and His love?
  • Where do you find your greatest satisfaction? Assuming that is in God, how does God satisfy your deepest longings?
  • How can you daily acknowledge that all your resources are from God?
  • When you are in dire and difficult circumstances, what is your first reaction? Is it to go to God and express your dependence on Him and allow that dependence to issue in praise and joy?
  • Write your own paraphrase of this Psalm. Pray that paraphrase every day. Make it your highest priority to seek God with all your heart for His presence, provision and protection, and pray constantly to that end.
Sermon Teaching Notes (as prepared by Pastor Dick Murphy)
  • Investigation – What’s generally going on in this area of Scripture?
In Psalm 145, we saw that in prayer we are to approach the God of the universe in a personal way and express our adoration and praise for Him just for who He is and for what He has done. In Psalm 67, we saw that the God of our blessing and of salvation wants us to pray for people to come to know Him. In Psalm 63, the focus of these Notes, we will see that in prayer, we are to approach Him for His presence, and in our worship of Him, can pray with confidence for His provision and His protection.

Psalm 63 is a Psalm of David, the king of Israel. The superscript to the Psalm indicates that it was written when David was “in the wilderness of Judah.” The timing was most likely when David was king of Israel, ruling in Jerusalem, but had fled the city with his followers in the face of the rebellion of his son, Absalom, who was seeking to become king instead of David. (II Samuel 15; 17:21-29) In due course, David and his company stopped their running away when they arrived in the wilderness at a place called Mahanaim (II Samuel 17:24, 27). This wilderness area was not a desert, per se, but was a generally barren area particularly in the summer when the heat and sun had baked the earth and dried up the sparse vegetation, and the winds had blown away much of what was left. Water was scarce at best during the summer, which was when David ran from Absalom. Thus it was that when David and his followers arrived in Mahanaim, Scripture tells us they were “hungry and weary and thirsty in the wilderness.” (II Samuel 17:29b) It was in these circumstances – a king on the run in charge of thousands of followers far from his royal throne with all its luxuries, wondering what to do about Absalom's rebellion and the kingdom of Israel - that David composed this Psalm.

As in the two Psalms we have already looked at, in Psalm 63, we see prayer which rightly starts with God and is wrapped around all He is. But this Psalm in particular, and its prayer, come from a point of extreme need and uncertainty given David's circumstances. Still, rather than beginning with requests, David begins with God and with a very personal approach to the One, indeed the only One, who could help. So he writes and prays this declaration of dependence and trust: “O God, you are my God.” The English translation does not do justice to the determination of these words. Literally they read, “Lord, you are my God.” In the Hebrew, the reading is “Yahweh, you are my El.” The Hebrew word “Yahweh” is God's name for Himself (Exodus 3:13 & 14) and it was considered by the Jews as so sacred that they would not even speak the name aloud. Hence, in this prayer, David addresses the all powerful, sovereign God who made Himself known by His name which represents all that He is. And in his prayer, David then reminds himself – and God – that the He is David's God (“my God”) in the sense of a personal relationship and an understanding of David's being under God's rule and reign, authority and power, by using the word “El” which is the familiar, common, even personal, name of God. “El” is the root word for God that Jesus used when He called out to His Father from the cross (“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Matthew 27:46); it means might, strength or power, and is typically connected to other words that give substance and greater definition to who God is. For example, El Shaddai is the all sufficient God; El Elyon is the most high God; EmmanuEL is God with us. There are many other examples too numerous to cite here. (this is an example of the multi-faceted use of Hebrew words to convey the greatness and wonder of God. For example, Deuteronomy 10:7 reads “For the Lord (Jehovah) your God (Elohim) is the God of gods and the Lord of lords, the great, the mighty, and the awesome God (El).”) So David begins his prayer to the Almighty God with whom he has a personal relationship (Psalm 63:1), the God whom he has experienced (Psalm 63:2), and the God whose love he knows (Psalm 63:3); he begins with the knowledge and commitment that he is fully and wholly dependent on this very God.

And David does not merely address God; he “earnestly” seeks Him (Psalm 63:1), meaning that he eagerly searches after closeness with this God of his. Moreover, the word earnestly carries the sense that David does this seeking first before anything else, including the thought that he does so first thing in the morning (the root of the word is also translated “dawn”). The lesson in this verse of seeking God first thing in the morning was not lost on the early Christians as evidenced by the late fourth century AD preacher, John Chrysostom (“golden-mouthed”) of Antioch-on-the-Orontes, when he commented: “That it was decreed and ordained by the Primitive Fathers that no day should pass without the public singing of this psalm,” based on the phrase in verse 1 (sometimes translated “early will I seek you”), this psalm was sung on a daily basis during the morning liturgy of the Eastern Orthodox churches.

And thus as a guide for prayer, this Psalm teaches us to long for God's presence. And how much longing? Verse 1 goes on to tell us: our souls and body, literally our whole selves, should long for God as one would long for water in a barren desert. What an apt picture, especially as it comes from David who has run from Absalom into the dry Judean wilderness. It is reported that being in a desert and without water saps one's strength, and that the desire for water becomes all consuming. In fact, the lack of water will ultimately sap the very life out of a person, as water means life. Likewise, God is life to us, and we should seek after Him with an understanding of that truth and a craving for life. David then continues in his prayer, confirming the blessing of God's presence, and that his longing for that presence is based on his past experience of God; he has “seen” God in the sanctuary; he has beheld God's power and glory (Psalm 63:2), and therefore he can confidently seek Him again, knowing that in God is his own life, and indeed, that the reality of God's constant and faithful love is “better than life.” (Psalm 63:3a). This reality of God's constant presence leads David to praise (Psalm 63:3b), even as it should lead us to praise of God in prayer both in the present and in the future days of our lives (Psalm 63:4).

But David's prayer does not end with praise; it goes another step and anticipates satisfaction and deliverance from God on the basis of His name (cf. Psalm 72:17, 19 which is a Psalm of Solomon) even as he constantly remembers God and meditates on who He is, what He has done and what He will do (Psalm 63:5 & 6). Interestingly, David references meditating on God during the night watches (Psalm 63:6). Is this a reference to the night watches while he is in the wilderness? Or is this a reference to future times spent on night watches? It seems to be a “both/and” proposition; in his prayer, David knows that God will (in the future) satisfy him as richly as the beautiful odor of the fat offerings and the satisfaction of the best food as he thinks about his God while lying in bed or on a night watch (Psalm 63:5 & 6). The prayer is thus a prayer which anticipates God's provision in the deepest sense, namely “soul satisfaction” even as it hints at actual provision of needs. And yet again, this prayer is based on David's past experience, as God has been his help, and he has been sheltered in the wings(cf. Psalm 36:7; 57:1; 91:4) of God's provision and protection and lead him to sing for joy (Psalm 63:7). So, what does God's presence provide? God will provide peace and satisfaction (Psalm 63:6), help in circumstances (Psalm 63:7), and support as one leans on Him (Psalm 63:8). And this provision is based on God's sovereign power (His “right hand” which signifies power. Psalm 63:8).

To this point, David has prayed for God's presence and in that presence sought God's provision in the deepest sense of that word, that is, provision for the whole person. And this prayer is based on David's desire for and priority of closeness with God, his confidence in God's character and nature, and his understanding that he is utterly dependent on God for all he is and has. But David prays on, claiming God's protection and resting in His justice against those who are His enemies (Psalm 63:9 & 10). Old Testament Israelites did not have a worked out view of the after-life, and tended to view God's judgment against His enemies and against unrighteousness as being meted out by God in the present life as He maintained His name and the continued His blessings on His children that derived from His covenant promises to them. Thus, instead of seeking to get even on his own and through his strength, David literally rests in God's judgment against his enemies who would seek to undo God's will and purpose in David's being king. He knows that God is jealous for His name and will vindicate Himself, triumphing over unrighteousness. So in striking word pictures, David acknowledges that God's protection will issue in God's ultimate judgment, and that his (and God's) enemies will “go down into the depths of the earth” (Psalm 63:9), will be killed by the “power of the sword” (Psalm 63:10), and that their dead bodies will be food “for jackals,” scavengers of the wild (Psalm 63:10). Wow! These seem like harsh words to our 21st century ears. But as commentator Steven J. Cole writes, as David

considered his circumstances, he realized that God is just; God would judge fairly. The wicked would not prevail in the long run. Thus David could commit the situation to the Lord and act with the right perspective and balance: He would make it his business to rejoice in God, and let God deal with his enemies and vindicate him. He knew his calling (“king,” 63:11) and that God would not fail to accomplish all that concerned him.

Deliverance will come from God and on God's timetable; meanwhile God's servant, king David, will rejoice in God, his God, with all those who call on His name. In the end, all who utter lies will be stopped (Psalm 63:11). God is able to fight His battles, and He will win His battles, for He alone is God! David therefore prays to that end, and thus aligns his will with that of God as to the glory due His name.


In this prayer of Psalm 63 we have another marvelous template for our prayer life. We should pray as if our livers depend on God, because they surely do; we should pray out of a personal relationship with God for His presence, His provision and His protection. And in praying thus, we make our declaration of faith in God, our confirmation of trust in God and our statement of priority in God and His will, all of which lead to our praise to God, our joy in God and our satisfaction in God. Through praying thus, we will also find stability, strength, perspective and balance, all of which derive from utter dependence on Him. Do you know thirst for this God? Do you desire Him first thing every morning? Do you find that His faithful, steadfast love is better than life and is the source of blessing and praise? Pray Psalm 63 with David in all circumstances of your life, especially in trying circumstances. In so doing, you will find yourself in the shadow of His wings with His right hand upholding you (Psalm 63:7 & 8). So, pray Psalm 63, and pray it as if your life depends on it … because it does!