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Need for the Kingdom

"Thy Kingdom Come" Session 2 - Ecclesiastes

“Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God and keep His commandments, for this is man’s all.” (Eccl. 12:13, NKJV) 

Be honest. When you look around and see the mess the world is in, does it seem that there is an all-powerful, all-wise, all-good God at the helm? 

The wicked often prosper, while the righteous falter. Nations are at war. Disease is rampant. Natural disasters wreak havoc and bring great misery. Society tries its best to bring order but can make things worse by their misguided efforts. 

Where is God? 

That is the question addressed by the book of Ecclesiastes. It begins by saying that our eyes are not deceiving us. The world really is a mess. There is disorder, depravity, dysfunction, and injustice. The book is full of examples we can relate to. 

Ecclesiastes begins, “vanity of vanities, all is vanity.” Those words validate our experience. They speak to a futility to life. Our existence in this word is fraught with frustration, amounting to meaninglessness, emptiness, and hopelessness. Why bother? Just make the most of what you can in the few miserable days you have under the sun. Come to think of it, why is Ecclesiastes in the Bible? 

Ecclesiastes removes the rose-colored glasses we often wear as Christians and tells it like it is. Three phrases capture its analysis: “vanity of vanities,” “under the sun,” and “striving after wind.” We can put them together this way: under the sun we experience vanity, and our efforts amount to striving after wind. 

The writer not only chronicles the problem, he provides the solution. Instead of trying to make sense of life from within the confines of a fallen world, he calls us a perspective from above the sun, beyond the created order, to the God who lives and reigns. Instead of having us resort to our own ingenuity and efforts to rehabilitate the pervasive brokenness we experience, he turns us to God. 

“Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God and keep His commandments, for this is man’s all. For God will bring every work into judgment, including every secret thing, whether good or evil” (Eccl. 12:13–14). He calls us to make God our point of reference, finding our bearings in His Word and directing our steps in His commands, trusting His good providence and purposes. 

The answer to the fallen world is not in our reformation but in God’s redemption found in Jesus Christ. He is the verity of verities. 

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This course will involve self-paced study under the direction of a mentor. Each lesson will feature a video interview related to a book I have written and will include a study guide. Links to books and supporting materials will be provided. 

The course is free. Watch for an announcement about the availability of Thy Kingdom Come later this summer. 

The featured book for this session of Kingdom Vision is Making Sanity out of Vanity: Christian Realism in the book of Ecclesiastes (Stanley D. Gale, EP Books, 2011). Click here for an article on Vanity.

Stan Gale

Stanley D. Gale (MDiv Westminster, DMin Covenant) has pastored churches in Maryland and Pennsylvania for over 30 years. He is the author of several books, including A Vine-Ripened Life: Spiritual Fruitfulness through Abiding in Christ and The Christian’s Creed: Embracing the Apostolic Faith. He has been married to his wife, Linda, since 1975. They have four children and ten grandchildren. He lives in West Chester, Pa.
Books by Stan Gale

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