This is the audio (37:13, 34.1MB) of a sermon delivered at Preakness Valley United Reformed Church on June 19 entitled, “Toil Under the Sun: What Gain Is There?” The sermon is in part the fruit of my study in preparation for the Hebrew Wisdom and Poetry course at LCC this past term. I set out to compare two core texts in Psalms and Proverbs with three troublesome passages from Ecclesiastes. Here is an excerpt:
We could pick up any number of passages in the Old Testament that teach this straightforward idea that obedience leads to blessings, and disobedience leads to suffering. If God created the world and human beings, then it makes sense that living as he says we should, will lead to the best outcomes.
Retribution makes perfect sense—until we actually experience life. That’s what we find in Ecclesiastes: many observations from real life. In Ecclesiastes, we see this idea of reward for obedient labor called into question.
Audio and text: ©2016 by Benjamin D. Giffone. Reproduction and distribution are permitted, providing that the author is properly credited and that no fee is charged.