Ecclesiastes 4: Life Lived for Self is Empty and Lonely. We Need People

In this next chapter of Ecclesiastes, Solomon goes from testing to see what brings purpose in life “under the sun”, to observing life. He comes to the conclusion that 2 people are better than one. We need each other. We need people. And, of course, that reminded me of yet another of our “folk mass” songs, “Get Together”, from 1967, by The Youngbloods. The video is at the bottom. It also helps if one of those people in your fellowship is Jesus. Let’s dig in…

Ecclesiastes 4

Again, I observed all the oppression that takes place under the sun. I saw the tears of the oppressed, with no one to comfort them. The oppressors have great power, and their victims are helpless. So I concluded that the dead are better off than the living. But most fortunate of all are those who are not yet born. For they have not seen all the evil that is done under the sun.

Then I observed that most people are motivated to success because they envy their neighbors. But this, too, is meaningless—like chasing the wind.

“Fools fold their idle hands,
    leading them to ruin.”

And yet,

“Better to have one handful with quietness
    than two handfuls with hard work
    and chasing the wind.”

The Advantages of Companionship

I observed yet another example of something meaningless under the sun. This is the case of a man who is all alone, without a child or a brother, yet who works hard to gain as much wealth as he can. But then he asks himself, “Who am I working for? Why am I giving up so much pleasure now?” It is all so meaningless and depressing.

Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. 10 If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble. 11 Likewise, two people lying close together can keep each other warm. But how can one be warm alone? 12 A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken.

The Futility of Political Power

13 It is better to be a poor but wise youth than an old and foolish king who refuses all advice. 14 Such a youth could rise from poverty and succeed. He might even become king, though he has been in prison. 15 But then everyone rushes to the side of yet another youth who replaces him. 16 Endless crowds stand around him, but then another generation grows up and rejects him, too. So it is all meaningless—like chasing the wind.

Ecclesiastes 4 NLT

Points to Ponder

Have you ever watched a dog chase its tail? It's a futile effort.

Again Solomon gives us a lot to think about. Have you ever watched a dog chase its tail? It’s a futile effort.

  • Envy is the motivation for success. That’s exactly how I was motivated during my college years, until I became a believer. I was asked, “Don’t you want the fancy car and the big house on the beach?” I tried to live the “beachfront lifestyle” and it got me nowhere.
  • You don’t bring any thing into the world when you are born. Likewise, you don’t take any thing with you when you die. And we all will die.
  • We are always looking for more and not enjoying what we have.
  • I love verse 5 — we need to work. Otherwise, we get lazy and deteriorate. We all need a purpose. I think that’s part of what’s happening to America. People are being paid to stay home. NO! Able people need to work!
  • Solomon, here, was looking for meaning in life apart from God. There was no comforter. Thank God that we believers have the Holy Spirit! He is our comforter. He is always with us! We are NEVER ALONE!
  • Injustice frustrates Solomon, just like it frustrates us today. Oppression is a spiritual problem. Why does someone oppress another? I’ve heard horror stories of girls captured and put into prostitution. By themselves, each one is a victim, but when they unite and plan an escape strategy, they can do it.
  • A rich man will never know if the pretty gal he marries is marrying him for who he is or for his money.
  • God didn’t design us to be or live alone. We need the Body of Christ — the Community of Believers. Watching church services online is OK as a way to hear the Word preached, but we humans need human companionship.
  • The spirit of fear that is over the world right now is from Satan — as is the pandemic. Satan wants nothing more than to separate the Body of Christ — dissolve the church.
  • Together, with Jesus, who is the 3rd strand in a cord that holds us together, we can accomplish what we need to do for the Kingdom.
  • People are fickle. The same people who shouted, “Hosanna!” when Jesus entered Jerusalem on Palm Sunday, were the same people who in front of Pilot shouted, “Crucify Him!”

James, Jesus’ Brother Wrote…

Believers who are poor have something to boast about, for God has honored them. 10 And those who are rich should boast that God has humbled them. They will fade away like a little flower in the field. 11 The hot sun rises and the grass withers; the little flower droops and falls, and its beauty fades away. In the same way, the rich will fade away with all of their achievements.

James 1:9-11 NLT

13 Look here, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we are going to a certain town and will stay there a year. We will do business there and make a profit.” 14 How do you know what your life will be like tomorrow? Your life is like the morning fog—it’s here a little while, then it’s gone. 15 What you ought to say is, “If the Lord wants us to, we will live and do this or that.” 16 Otherwise you are boasting about your own pretentious plans, and all such boasting is evil.

17 Remember, it is sin to know what you ought to do and then not do it.

James 4:13-17 NLT

That’s called a sin of omission.

Our Lives on Earth are Temporary

We all die. Enjoy life while we’re here. The best is yet to come in Heaven living eternally with Jesus! Knowing Jesus is so incredible, that no matter how terrible the world is, we have JOY, PEACE, and HOPE!

There are no guarantees in life under the sun.

However, we have the assurance of SALVATION through Jesus Christ. When we become born again, Jesus gives us the Holy Spirit as a companion, comforter and counselor. While we are still on earth, we can call on the Holy Spirit 24/7. We are NEVER ALONE!

Jesus left us here on earth to do a job — to spread the Good News of His Salvation throughout the World and make disciples of all the nations. He also didn’t leave us without HOPE!

Here’s a another quote from James. That’s a great book — it’s the wisdom book of the New Testament.

You, too, must be patient. Take courage, for the coming of the Lord is near.

Don’t grumble about each other, brothers and sisters, or you will be judged. For look—the Judge is standing at the door!

James 5:8-9 NLT
Jesus is knocking at the door of your heart -- let Him in!
Jesus is knocking at the door of your heart — let Him in!

What are you waiting for?! Isn’t it time you let him into your life? Simply…

Invite Jesus into Your Heart and Receive the Gift and Confident Hope of Eternal Life…

Get Together


Notice a line that says, “When the one that left us here, returns for us at last.” Who do you think they are referring to? Jesus! He left us here and He’s coming back for us in the Rapture! Make sure you don’t get left behind!

Left Behind After the Rapture Series


Soli Deo Gloria! To God Alone Be the Glory!

Public Reading of Scripture: James

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