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All Those Lonely People (Part 1 of 2)

Truth for Life / Alistair Begg
The Truth Network Radio
July 12, 2022 4:00 am

All Those Lonely People (Part 1 of 2)

Truth for Life / Alistair Begg

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July 12, 2022 4:00 am

Is life meaningful or meaningless? The Teacher in Ecclesiastes identified a sense of futility that plagues people whether they’re rich, poor, lazy, or ambitious. So where can we discover lasting purpose? Hear the answer on Truth For Life with Alistair Begg.


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Is like. Or is it meaningless that's the question Alistair Begg is exploring today on Truth for Life. The teacher in the book of Ecclesiastes identified a sense of futility that can plague people, whether they're rich or poor, lazy, or driven.

So how do we find real and lasting purpose. Alister is teaching a message titled all those lonely people by the way. It is returned to the Bible together that you will be our teacher beyond the voice of a mere man. We may hear your voice and by your grace be enabled to trust in you and to follow you with all of our hearts for Jesus sake. We ask it on then some of you may just arrived this morning and you are falling into this serious and Ecclesiastes switch where conducting at around 60,000 feet moving a chapter at a time through the book as best we can and we are confronted here by the wisdom of the preacher or the teacher or the professor. All of these equally valid translations of Koheleth which is literally translated Ecclesiastes or if you like we are listening to the wisdom of the individual. We made it described as the pundit somebody who brings profound thoughts to bear upon the issues of life as they confront them and this individual. We've been discovering is can ducting a search he's ransacking the world to try and solve the riddle of life. He is conducting an experiment if you like he is exercising his wisdom, largely within the framework of secular thinking every so often he punches, as it were beyond the clouds that are under the sun and goes out into a realm where he is able to bring divine wisdom to bear on earthly analysis. This groping for meaning, which essentially it is is not as we've been discovering being conducted in Calabar at three or in a library, but rather it is being conducted in the University of life is walking down streets not dissimilar to the streets of Cleveland he's stopping is that where at the street corners and conversing with men and women. This individual would have got a lot of his material from sitting in the variety of coffee shops and cafs which are now part and parcel of life on the American high Street and the issues of life that he addresses he sometimes overstates in order that he might bring them graphically to the face and recollection of his readers. There's an energy to what he's doing, which conveys just how serious he really is in the heart of it all is really asking this.

Can there be any real and lasting purpose. If Darst is our destiny is life meaningful or is life meaning less as he is made of a very contemporary and it will always be contemporary sir is not difficult to find men and women who in their heart of hearts are trying to unscramble this issue. Drying is aware of the deal with the great equations of life and make sure that the left-hand side balances out the right and so as we move through these chapters, we are confronted by his insights are not the easiest of chapters.

I think you would agree to try and analyze and sit down in an orderly fashion. Wisdom literature isn't the isn't easy to tackle and I they have been making that clear in the first three studies.

I actually was greatly encouraged when I first studied this book and read in a common tree. This particular sentence.

The commentator said the book. Referring to Ecclesiastes defies any logical analysis, and therefore no outline of contents is presented. So I basically says I don't know what to do with this I can make you a chapters out of it or paragraph side of it, so I just made nothing out of it at all. But like the Puritan preacher who had preached a big big big long sermon in the morning and at one point he been heard by his congregation to say and now 27 flea and when he came back when he came back in the evening is at my sermon this morning had so many points that I want you to know my sermon this evening is going to be pointless and there is a sense in which, in trying to gather her thoughts. We may and grasping it miss it. However, we have to do something and we have to give some kind of structure to it in order that we might attach our thinking and if you look at chapter 4 and you can do this is your home or you can go and see if I had to teach this to a group of individuals. If I had to say something sensible about this kind of things would stand out to me. What are the words that I would write down on a sheet of paper.

As I began to study. I think that you would find that when you look at verse one, you would immediately find the little phrase jumping out at you. They have no comforter why all because it is repeated and repetition is always for emphasis, and Sue immediately went on to something immediately. We have an idea of where were going as you read on and you get down into verse seven. You see the description of meaninglessness again, and this individual.

In verse eight, a man who was all alone and neither son nor brother stories. They will there's no comforter, and here in verse seven there is no companion and you get further on into it and you see in the end this foolish king in the upstart youth in the transition of power and popularity and visitors are there doesn't seem to be any continuity here it's all no comforter, no companion, no continuity and you begin to build this little verbal collage and as you stand back from when you say it is a word that seems to come to mind here, and it is the word aloneness audit is the word loneliness. There seems to be handling all of this material together and experience that is common to men and women. When Paul describes the experience of the Ephesians. In his second chapter and in chapter and in verse 12, he reminds the Ephesians that before they discovered who God is in Christ, they were without whole and without God in the world and that incidentally is one of the great classic statements, which describes the airborne flow of humanity today in greater Cleveland cars coming and going, driving north and south and east and west, people going about their business in the thoroughfares of life and what is it that describes them. Well, actually, whether the identified or not they are without God and they are without all in the world. The sense of angst that they may feel the sense of dissonance that the experience the disengagement with their friends and neighbors. The sense of disengagement in their own souls is all traced to this one pivotal and foundational reality. Now in chapter 4, he describes this condition essentially from four angles and I want to address them. But very briefly because I wanted well this morning on the condition I feel I have done that enough in the opening studies. But I want to dwell a little longer on the solution. I'll give you my headings so they may not strike you is particularly helpful, but at least I can be honest and sharing them with you when I read verses 1 to 3 I wrote down on the page you're better off dead verses 1 to 3 I summarized as your better off dead now if you look at it you can see why I wrote that down because that is what he's seeing. Consider the bitter facts of life, he says, look at all the oppression that takes place under the sun leaves writing 3000 years ago.

Approximate and he's describing what Robert Burns the Scottish poet says that man's inhumanity to man makes countless thousands more we turn and we look back down the corridor of history and what we discover we discover that the observation here in these opening verses is absolutely accurate. I have seen the oppression of men and they have no comforter and power is on the site of the oppressors. When it is racial in the southern states of America in the 20th century, whether it is racial in the apartheid of South Africa. Also in the 20th century, or whether it is racial and ethnic as in the Nazi regime of the 20th century for women is racial and ethnic as in the, rouge in Cambodia. Also in the 20th century or Witton so we could go all this individual makes a very good point. Power is on the side of the oppressor and the oppressed have no comforter and no one seems to step in for them and he says that seems to me to be absolutely terrible and is a miserable business. I just introduce my youngest sister to the film life is beautiful, the Italian movie with English subtitles by Bernini or featuring Bernini friend who won an Oscar for it. I think the fellow who walked across the backs of the seats when he was picking up his Oscar a wonderful film.

If you haven't seen it, you can safely go out and rented and watch it with your grandmother it will cause you know, upset, or tall.

Incidentally, if you cannot watch a movie with your grandmother.

You should be watching the movie in the first place and it is a classic statement of the oppression of the Holocaust and mentioning Cambodia I'm on a little movie thing of the moment, but in mentioning Cambodia no film that I have ever seen has ever had such an impact on me.

I could, I could hardly tolerate myself when I finish watching it and I don't know of the killing fields to an old movie story that, rouge did Ron the journalist trying to extricate himself from the killing fields, escaping into Thailand and the vivid pictures there of these dreadful fields as he begins to stumble and bumble around any standing on scowls and the standing on skeletons as he thrashes through the water and there's nothing sadder in the whole of Ecclesiastes than the wistful glance seed of the writer when he looks wistfully at the dead and the unborn, and he says to himself, I declare that the dead already died are happier than the living are still alive better off dead. In fact, he said I can only take about one further note your better if you have never even been born.

He's exiled that it is teenagers figure that out these at some point along the journey to their parents only slammed the bedroom door. The steak I then asked to be born Johnny Carson's famous reply is and if you'd asked I would've said no, expressing the great pain that is involved in that struggle and the awareness of life's finitude in a film that I don't really like with music that I really enjoy out of Africa count is one Blakes and in one scene stands in the grave of her friend Dennis is been tragically killed in a plane crash, and in a soliloquy. She says essentially under her breath. Smart lad to slip the times away from fields where glory doesn't stay. She says he's better off gone as a miserable existence verses 1 to 3 are better off dead. Verses 4 to 6 I wrote down just three words envy poverty, anxiety, envy, poverty in Zion anxiety and once again there is an overstatement here vigorously stating something for effect. What he says. I saw labor and all achievement the spring from man's envy of his neighbor. The motivation he says that makes the world go around is the desire to outshine the next fellow. The girl on the plane with the folder and the laptop is driven in part to make sure that she outshines the person in territory west or at least that she is not out.

Sean by the girl who is in territory west. She being in territory center. The wheel of life is driven by a competitive spent the point that he's making is this that when we are moved and stimulated simply by keeping up with the Joneses, it will prove an insufficient motive and it will provide no ultimate satisfaction. If you go to work to keep up with the Joneses, then the Joneses will always be one step ahead of, if not that Mr. Mrs. Jones. There will be another Mr. Mrs. Joe and if that is our motivation, then our reach will always exceed our grass and so he says is absolutely futile.

The opposite extreme poverty in verse five the fool folded his hands in ruins himself. He says that is equally useless, but it is lazy, individual idleness, eating away not only what he has but also what he is eroding his self-control. His grasp of reality, his capacity for care and in the end, even his self-respect. Incidentally, and passing the juxtaposition between verse four and five is the source of many of this agreement and suburban households all across America. Verse four describes the father.

Verse five describes the sun the father is completely driven going going going going going. He says to his son.

Why can you be like me. How are you going to sit around growing your hair and listen to that dumb rock music.

How long do I have to put up with it before you finally step up and realize smell the coffee. Find out what life is all about, and the boy closes the bedroom door and says you can keep it. I'm not interested in being like you, I want to be like you I don't like the fact that you're gone all the time. I don't like the fight before you're doing to my mother. I don't like your impact in the home. Here I don't like the fact that apparently were driven by some envious, jealous, acquisitive's beauteous notion, and I know I look to you like I don't care about anything, but if you ever came and talk with me dad you find out I care about a lot. I care about a lot of people and I care about a lot of the oppression that apparently you don't care about and your business interests in South America don't care about. Otherwise, those people would be making a reasonable way down the father he slams the door. Not only do I have a lazy son but I am a communist worse on the whole thing is going haywire on what am I going to do what you mean. These people should be thankful for $0.73 an hour and if we then go down and give them $0.73. They would have no money and the son says it's clear we're going to have to go down to different roads that your living envy. I'm facing poverty in both of us are going to be ranked by anxiety and anxiousness of the acquisitive grass. The anxiousness of the where is it coming from quest and so in a moment of insight look at what he says thereafter.

One handful with tranquility then to handfuls with toil and chasing after the wind.

In other words better to have modest earnings and our restful mind then to make large gains with the accompanying anxiety better modest earnings in a peaceful heart then huge gains and an anxious soul is an argument for doing poorly.

Is it is an argument about motivation. It's a comment on the notion of contentment US the average suburban housewife if she is happier today with the hunt. Never many car Gary H searching everywhere in her purse for opener one opener to opener three opener for the opener for the gadget to get to the gadget ring the bell to find the keys to press the button to do the code whatever it is asked her if she's happier now with all of this. Then she wants when she and her husband in the fledgling days carried cardboard boxes up the stairs into their two room apartment and laid the rug on the floor that her mother-in-law had given her, which he thought was one of the ugliest roads she'd ever seen in her life, but now she lives by said I was a beautiful rug. All we have to walk and her husband says that's a flat out lie you hated that rug you bugged me go to work go to work go to work. Give me a decent rug. Give me a decent run and for the last 25 years. Basically, I have been going crazy to get the rock to get the silverware to get the thing to get that that and now you tell me oh I love you back in the two room apartment and you see again how marriages begin to fall apart all the aggravation and the expectations begin to tip in on one another, but the fact is that wife's do long for the good old days when there was time to relax when there was time to enjoy and he would give anything to go back there in contrast to the dissatisfied restlessness, which is their experience. The dissatisfied restlessness no love ones hear me correctly, there are peculiar temptations in the land of the free and home of the brave.

In this realm and we have to handle them.

You buy an ice cream cone in other parts of the world you can walk down the street with it in safety.

Now you could argue that that is because they don't give you enough ice cream you could also argue that is because they give you a sensible amount of ice cream. Everything's perspective, but do you know how many times I have dropped ice cream out of an ice cream cone in the street you know what that does to our Scotsman's instincts when all that money falls on the ground and you know why it fell because I really only wanted one scoop with tranquility in one who scoops with anxiety, that's a paradigm of where this place is, this is our loan. This is our place proud of it sensitized to it.

Anxious about it and be poverty, anxiety to live life without hope. Without God, it's pointless and it's exhausting. It's like running on a giant hamster wheel getting nowhere fast listing to Truth for Life. Alistair Begg concludes this message of Ecclesiastes for tomorrow at the end of your life will you look back on it with pleasure or with concern. Will you feel like you found true contentment in life were exploring this topic in our study of the book of Ecclesiastes and to go along with Alister's teaching. We encourage you to request your copy of the book living life backward how Ecclesiastes teaches us to live in light of the end.

The book explains how the writer of Ecclesiastes reflected on his own life and the wisdom he drew from his reflection as he remembered the ways he had tried to find happiness apart from God. He realized that life is only meaningful when lived with eternity in mind.

Living life backward will guide you to focus on eternity as well were only offering living life backward a few more days.

So request your copy when you give a donation to support the teaching you here on Truth for Life. You can tap on the image you see on your mobile app or visit Truth for could also call us to make a donation and request the book. The number is 888-588-7884 and if you prefer to mail your donation along with the request for the book living life backward write to us to Truth for Life PO Box 39, 8000, Cleveland, Ohio or Sukkot is 44139. We take a lot of time and a lot of care goes into selecting the books we offer. Each month we choose books that are typically sound on topics that will help you grow in your faith.

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