One of the things I do each time I begin a new preaching series is to grab some quotes from other as fodder. Below are some of my favorite gleanings as I've begun prepping for preaching through Ecclesiastes:
“Ecclesiastes may be the most difficult biblical book to interpret and preach.”
-Sidney Greidanus, Preaching Christ from Ecclesiastes, p1.
“[Ecclesiastes] wants to get to the bottom of our emptiness in order to fill us up again. At the end of it, we will either worship or curse God as a result of such strong medicine; we’ll either become one who places faith in God or remain a rebel worshipping created things.”
-Reid Monaghan, “Chasing the Wind - The Book of Ecclesiastes”, pp5-6.
“[Ecclesiastes says:] “Understand that God exists. The universe we inhabit comes from his hand and comes to us as a gift. Our lives are a gift, offered for a short period and then taken back once again. Embrace life for what it is, rather than what you would like it to be. Live it out before God, reverencing and obeying him. This is the pathway on which joy lies, even though puzzlement and pain will also be found there, and there are never guarantees about how things will turn out.”
-Iain Provan, Ecclesiastes/Song of Songs (NIVAC), p44.
“God is the One who gives things, and God is the one who gives the power to enjoy things. These are distinct gifts… just as a can of peaches and a can-opener are distinct gifts. Only the first is given to the unbeliever. The believer is given both, which is simply another way of saying that he is given the capacity for enjoyment.”
-Doug Wilson, Joy at the End of the Tether, p17.
“One might consider the following the overall theme: Fear God in order to turn a vain, empty life into a meaningful life which will enjoy God’s gifts.”
-Sidney Greidanus, Preaching Christ from Ecclesiastes, p22.
“Ecclesiastes offers and exceptional voice to remind us who are like Job’s friends or Jesus’ disciples that we cannot walk out into our neighborhoods under the sun and hand out a “one size fits all” shirt. Life under the sun isn’t that tidy. Contradictions abound with human beings and the world. The Preacher [in Ecclesiastes] does not shy away from these. We are prone to clean our house before guests arrive. The Preacher doesn’t. He lets the house remain as it is. He asks us to see it and to ponder what it reveals about us, or place, and God… Ecclesiastes regularly points out things that many people in the church prefer not to acknowledge.”
-Zack Eswine, Recovering Eden, p8.
“Under the sun, vanity is God’s scepter. For those who fear Him, He gives the gift of being able to actually enjoy this great big marching band of futility—the tubas of vanity bringing up the rear. God gives to a wise man the gift of watching, with a pious and grateful chuckle, one damn thing after another.”
-Doug Wilson, Joy at the End of the Tether, p13.