God Alone Gives Contentment

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Solomon directs us to eye God as our judge (v. 8), Shows the vanity of riches (vv. 9-17), and recommends the cheerful use of what God has given us (vv 18-20). Not only should we never underestimate God but we should be careful not to overestimate man. Any philosophy that overestimates man will almost always underestimate God. In this passage the author gives three warnings:

1. Beware of the bureaucracy - (vv. 8-9) This passage is clear as one official is watched by a higher one who in turn is eyed by a still higher one. It is true that tyranny is not good, but it may be preferable to anarchy. The rule of a single tyrant is preferable to the rule of a mob.

2. Beware of the mercenary person - (v. 10) We are definitely an affluent society and in an affluent society, lust for money and covetousness are more pronounced. There is emptiness in life even with wealth when that wealth tends to hinder one’s love for God.

3. Beware of the freeloaders - (vv. 11-20) Someone is always ready to pick up more than his share of the loot. One out of every four verses in the Gospels deals with attitudes about money. In fact, Jesus had more to say about money than about heaven and hell put together. In Matt. 6:21 Jesus says, “Where your (money) is, there will your heart be also.”

As we come to a conclusion in this passage the Preacher recommends the adoption of a perspective that will allow a person to enjoy the simple things of this life. The key words of this message are God and gift. Man must view all of the good that passes to him as the gift of God.


My possessions are a gift from God. Although they are not the source to joy, they are a reason to rejoice. I should focus more on the giver than the gift.

Ecclesiastes 5:8-20 (English Standard Version)

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