The Vanity of Blessings Under the Sun | Ecclesiastes 6

Listen to the sermon here. 


Ecclesiastes 6:3 | If a man fathers a hundred children and lives many years, so that the days of his years are many, but his soul is not satisfied with life’s good things, and he also has no burial, I say that a stillborn child is better off than he.

Ecclesiastes 6:9 | Better is the sight of the eyes than the wandering of the appetite: this also is vanity and a striving after wind.


While it isn’t meant to be depressing, the portrait that Ecclesiastes paints of this life is brutal, honest, and bleak. The bleakness of Ecclesiastes is immediately apparent, but it is also real and tangible. This book studies the monotony of everyday life and puts some of those thoughts and feelings into words. It provides a voice to the weariness of life that we all know lurks around each corner.

Thus far, the Preacher has presented before us his investigation to find something under the sun that isn’t vanity. He attempted giving himself to unmitigated pleasure. He studied the rhythms, randomness, and inevitability of time. He observed the necessity of community, while also noting how we each threaten to destroy that community. He has presented what he learned about God and wealth. Yet in each topic, his conclusion is still the same: all is vanity under the sun.

After warning of the vanity of wealth, Solomon now expands his focus beyond the monetary and onto the full breadth of blessings in this life. He soberly declares that even if a man lived two thousand years and had one hundred children, there is still no guarantee that he will actually enjoy the blessings of his life. Like our appetites, our souls constantly crave more, making satisfaction always sought but never gained. Fortunately, there is an answer to the endless desires.


Read Ecclesiastes 6 and discuss the following.

  1. Which verses stood out most to you as you read Ecclesiastes 6 this week? Why? What do these verses teach you about who God is?
  2. How are verses 1-6 related to Ecclesiastes 5:18-20? Why is the failure to enjoy life such a tragedy?
  3. In what ways do you attempt to satisfy the appetite of the soul? What is the alternative to the wandering appetite?
  4. What are the final questions that Solomon asks in this chapter? How does the rest of the Bible answer them?


Because all Scripture profits us through teaching, reproving, correcting, and training us, reflect upon the studied text, and ask yourself the following questions about the present text.

  • What has God taught you about Himself?
  • What sin is God convicting or reproving you of?
  • How is God correcting you?
  • How is God training and equipping you for righteousness?

The Blessing of Wisdom


Blessed is the one who finds wisdom, and the one who gets understanding, for the gain from her is better than gain from silver and her profit better than gold. (Proverbs 3:13-14 ESV)

The LORD by wisdom founded the earth; by understanding he established the heavens; by his knowledge the deeps broke open, and the clouds drop down the dew. (Proverbs 3:17-18 ESV)


Proverbs is generally divided into two main sections. Chapters 1-9 are the introduction, and chapters 10-31 are the actual collection of proverbs. These nine chapters continue to teach us that wisdom does not come from the proverbs themselves. Wisdom comes from God. The proverbs teach us what wisdom looks like and to turn to God. But wisdom itself only comes from the hand of God.

Let us also remember that wisdom is applied knowledge, the skill of living life well. When we talk about wisdom, it has its root in knowledge and understanding, but wisdom is primarily about living well. When you make good decisions and life goes well for you, you are living in wisdom. And true biblical wisdom is only found in knowing God.

Today we will view the blessings that wisdom has for those who find her. In these verses, wisdom is described as being better than gold, jewels, or anything else we could ever desire. This is because God built wisdom into the foundations of the earth, so that when we find wisdom, we walk away from sin and towards the LORD.


Read Proverbs 3:13-35 and discuss the following.

  • Which verses stood out most to you as you read Proverbs 3:13-35 this week? Why? What do these verses teach you about who God is?
  • Verses 13-18 describe the riches of finding wisdom. How does someone find wisdom? Why does Solomon consider wisdom to be of greater worth than gold or jewels? Do you agree? How have you been blessed by wisdom in life?
  • In verses 19-20, Solomon claims that God founded the world by wisdom. What does this mean?
  • Solomon urges us to do good to our neighbors when we are able. What does this look like practically? How does this relate to what Jesus claims are the two greatest commandments?


Because all Scripture profits us through teaching, reproving, correcting, and training us, reflect upon the studied text, and ask yourself the following questions.

  • What has God taught you through this text (about Himself, sin, humanity, etc.)?
  • What sin has God convicted or reproved you of through this text?
  • How has God corrected you (i.e. your theology, thinking, lifestyle, etc.) through this text?
  • Pray through the text, asking God to train you toward righteousness by conforming you to His Word.

The Value of Wisdom | Proverbs 2


My son, if you receive my words and treasure up my commandments with you, making your ear attentive to wisdom and inclining your heart to understanding; yes, if you call our for insight and raise your voice for understanding, if you seek it like silver and search for it as for hidden treasures, then you will understand the fear of the LORD and find the knowledge of God. (Proverbs 2:1-5 ESV)


Primarily written by King David’s son, Solomon, the book of Proverbs is a unique one in the Bible. Most known for his wisdom, Solomon became wise through a supernatural blessing from the LORD. It should be no surprise then that Solomon is the primary author of this book of wisdom.

Thus far, we have studied the first chapter, which very nicely sets the stage for the remainder of the book. There are two big thoughts that we need to keep in mind going forward. First, we should also keep in mind the thesis of the book: the fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge and wisdom. Second, remember to pay attention for the main literary devices of these first nine chapter: paternal speeches (where Solomon speak to us like a father teaching his son) and Lady Wisdom’s poems (in which wisdom is personified as a woman speaking to us).

After hearing the first cry of Lady Wisdom, we arrive now at the second paternal speech in Proverbs. In many ways, Solomon repeats here Lady Wisdom’s plea for us to embrace her and become wise. The primary structure of this chapter involves if-then statements, wherein Solomon lists the blessings that will befall us if we seek after wisdom with our whole heart.


Read chapter 2 and discuss the following.

  • Which verses stood out most to you as you read Proverbs 2 this week? Why? What do these verses teach you about who God is?
  • The first four verses encourage us to listen to, ask for, and seek after wisdom. Do you do that? Where should we listen to and seek after wisdom? How often do you ask for wisdom?
  • God uses wisdom to guard us against the consequences of sin. How does wisdom help us to defeat our sin? Why does Solomon mention the sin of adultery specifically?
  • This chapter promises many blessings for those who follow wisdom. How can these promises be true when many Christians suffer greatly?


Because all Scripture profits us through teaching, reproving, correcting, and training us, reflect upon the studied text, and ask yourself the following questions.

  • What has God taught you through this text (about Himself, sin, humanity, etc.)?
  • What sin has God convicted or reproved you of through this text?
  • How has God corrected you (i.e. your theology, thinking, lifestyle, etc.) through this text?
  • Pray through the text, asking God to train you toward righteousness by conforming you to His Word.

The Beatitudes | Matthew 5:1-12

Week 2 | Sermon


Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.

Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.

Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.

Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.

Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.

Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.  (Matthew 5:3-12)


Last week, we began our study of Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount primarily by studying Jesus’ call for repentance because the kingdom of heaven is at hand. In fact, the proclamation of God’s kingdom was the core of Christ’s earthly ministry. He is the great King, the son of David, to whom the Father would give an eternal throne over all the earth. Knowing that Jesus is the King, ushering in His kingdom, is crucial to our study of the Sermon on the Mount because the sermon is essentially the handbook for living as a citizen of the kingdom of heaven.

As we now dive into the sermon itself, it opens with the Beatitudes, one of the most famous biblical texts. Each Beatitude is composed of three parts. First, they open with a blessing, which biblically means to have the full favor of God. Second, they provide a characteristic for the one who is blessed (poor in spirit, mournful, meek, etc.). Third, they list the reward for embodying each characteristic. Together, these characteristics and rewards of a blessed person form a challenging introduction to the greatest sermon ever preached.

Christ’s followers, the citizens of the His kingdom, are favored by God, blessed. Thus, we should understand these characteristics to be the characteristics of a Christian, and the rewards are the rewards of a Christian. Though, in this life, we will never perfectly embody these descriptions, their presence in our life reveals the fruit of our belief in the good news of Jesus Christ. Though they stand against the world’s values and ideas of success, the Beatitudes succinctly proclaim the qualities and nature of God’s kingdom.

Read verses 1-12 and discuss the following.

  1. How are the characteristics listed by Jesus in the Beatitudes opposed to society’s ideals?
  2. If the Beatitudes are so different from what we would expect, why does Jesus say we are blessed for being them?
  3. Jesus concludes each Beatitude with a promised reward, but what is the ultimate reward that Christ’s followers will receive (the reward to which each of these points)?


  • Obey. Since the Beatitudes are characteristics that should define a Christian’s behavior, slowly and prayerfully consider each one, evaluating how much your life displays them.
  • Pray. Ultimately, we will never be able to live out the Beatitudes in our own strength, so pray for grace to live as Christ has called us to live.

Jacob & Laban | Genesis 30:25-31:55

Week 7 | Study Guide & Sermon


Then the LORD said to Jacob, “Return to the land of your fathers and to your kindred, and I will be with you. (Genesis 31:3)

If the God of my father, the God of Abraham and the Fear of Isaac, had not been on my side, surely now you would have sent me away empty-handed. God saw my affliction and the labor of my hands and rebuked you last night. (Genesis 31:42)

Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us—for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree”—so that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles, so that we might receive the promised Spirit through faith. (Galatians 3:13-14)


Jacob’s life is one massive proof that the patriarchs of the Old Testament were just as dependent upon God’s grace as followers of Christ today. Left to his own devices, Jacob is far from being the epitome of a faithful servant of God. Thus far, at his mother’s prompting, he has deceived his father in order to steal his brother’s blessing. When his brother became murderous, he fled to his mother’s homeland. Jacob met his future wife there, but soon found himself deceived by his father-in-law into marrying both Rachel and her sister, Leah. His polygamous marriage quickly created a destructive family situation where Jacob was thrown back and forth between his two wives and their maid-servants.

But even in the midst of these conditions, God continues to bless Jacob. The family drama of Jacob’s multiple wives may have been both sinful and avoidable, but God used it to give Jacob eleven sons and a daughter through whom the covenantal blessing could continue. That God-given grace continues in our present text as Jacob parts ways with his father-in-law, Laban.

The relationship of Jacob and Laban was far from ideal, but these events only cause that divide to separate further. Laban attempts to rob Jacob out of his wages, and Jacob flees from Laban without allowing him a moment for saying goodbye to his daughters or grandchildren. Though we see both men act sinfully, it quickly becomes clear how much the LORD is growing Jacob. While Laban’s blatant idolatry is seen throughout the text, Jacob only continues to become emboldened because of his reliance upon God. From this text we can see that God’s followers will certainly encounter many hardships in life, but the LORD will faithfully see them through each one.

Read verses 25-43 and discuss the following. 

  • Laban relied upon divination to learn that his prosperity came because of God’s favor toward Jacob. Divination is any practice of attempting to gain special knowledge through supernatural means. Why is divination a sin? What are examples of divination today?

Read verses 1-21 and discuss the following. 

  • In appearing to Jacob, God claims responsibility for blessing Jacob’s flocks while he was shepherding for Laban. Since being blessed means to be favored by God, are all Christians blessed? Why?

Read verses 22-55 and discuss the following.

  • When Laban catches Jacob, he is furious that his son-in-law would leave without allowing him to say goodbye to his daughters and grandchildren. However, we soon realize that Laban is even more upset about his household gods being missing. What are a few examples of modern household gods?
  • Jacob and Laban share a meal together and make a covenant to do no harm to each other. Why were meals important to forming a covenant? How does this relate to the Lord’s Supper?


  • Obey. Laban was angry at Jacob for leaving with his daughters and grandchildren, but he was even more furious about his gods being stolen. Like Laban, the idols of our life tends to be what would make us most upset if they were missing. Use this thought to consider what things might be idols in your life.
  • Pray. Even during this conflict with his father-in-law, Jacob was still blessed and provided for by God. Take a few moments each day this week to give thanks to God for His blessings and provision.

Isaac Blesses Jacob | Genesis 27:1-28:9

Week 3 | Study Guide & Sermon


So he came near and kissed him. And Isaac smelled the smell of his garments and blessed him and said, See, the smell of my son is as the smell of a field that the LORD has blessed! May God give you of the dew of heaven and of the fatness of the earth and plenty of grain and wine. Let peoples serve you, and nations bow down to you. Be lord over your brothers, and may your mother’s sons bow down to you. Cursed be everyone who curses you, and blessed be everyone who blesses you! (Genesis 27:27-29)

God Almighty bless you and make you fruitful and multiply you, that you may become a company of peoples. May he give the blessing of Abraham to you and to your offspring with you, that you may take possession of the land of your sojournings that God gave to Abraham! (Genesis 28:3-4)


Looking into the third major section of Genesis, we have seen how the covenantal blessing of God passed down from Abraham to his son, Isaac. Abraham then died, and Isaac faced his own journey of walking in faith with God. In many ways, Isaac followed after Abraham, in both good and bad. God commanded Isaac to trust him by staying put during a famine, and like his father, he trusted God. Unfortunately, like Abraham, Isaac also tended to take matters into his own hands by lying about his wife to protect himself. Ultimately, though, Isaac walked in faith after God just like his father.

Isaac’s faithfulness, however, does not bleed over into our present text. Here we read the account of Jacob taking Isaac’s blessing from Esau. We see that Isaac intended to bless Esau, the firstborn, but Jacob and Rebekah, his mother, trick Isaac into thinking that Jacob is really Esau. Because Isaac is blind, he falls for the trick and gives Jacob the blessing. Esau comes back from hunting to discover his lost blessing. Though Esau begs to be blessed, Isaac gives him a curse instead. We are then told that Esau hated Jacob and sought a chance to kill him. Thus, Jacob fled, at his mother’s request, to find a wife in her homeland.

Many people have tried through various arguments to prove if Isaac, Esau, Jacob, or Rebekah were sinning or not. It is my belief that there is not innocent party within this text. Isaac knew that God promised the blessing to Jacob, but he still chose to try blessing Esau. If Esau were honorable, he would have surrendered his blessing to Jacob, facing the consequences of his foolish selling of the birthright for soup. Rebekah and Jacob both knew God promise, but they do not trust God to fulfill it, taking matters into their own hands. Through it all, we will see God’s faithfulness in spite of sin; however, the sins of everyone involved have far reaching consequences for this family.

Read verses 1-29 and discuss the following.

  1. Whether he forgot God’s promise to bless Jacob over Esau or whether he simply ignored it, Isaac chose to bless Esau over Jacob because he loved him more. In what ways can favoritism destroy a family?
  2. Isaac’s love for Esau entirely centered upon Esau’s barbeque skills. He loved what Esau could do for him, rather than actually loving his son. Can our love for others likewise come from a selfish heart? Why is that not truly love?
  3. Jacob and Rebekah resolved to snatch away Esau’s blessings by deceiving Isaac. Though they were acting based on God’s promise to bless Jacob, they used sinful means to do so. Have you ever used sinful means to accomplish an otherwise godly goal?

Read verses 27:30-28:9 and discuss the following.

  1. After learning that Jacob stole his blessing, Esau had such a hatred for his brother that he began to plan murder. His originally foolish behavior has now snowballed into grievous sin. Are foolishness and sin connected? How do they lead into one another?


  • Consider the sins and failures of each person discussed in these verses. Learn from Isaac by remembering and valuing the Word of God though he didn’t. Seek biblical wisdom to avoid the sin and foolishness of Esau. Avoid the self-reliance of Jacob and Rebekah, trusting God instead.
  • Give thanks to God for His mercy and grace toward us, knowing that we sin just like Isaac, Esau, Rebekah, and Jacob, but Christ has saved us from our sin.

A Blessing for All the Earth | Day 4

I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed. (Genesis 12:3)

Though sin entered the world through Adam and Eve, God did not forsake humanity; in fact, He promised that the offspring of woman would come as the savior. This was good news spoken into a dark moment, a thread of light upon the horizon.

As the generations came and went, God did not forget His promise.

God called out to a man named Abram (later to be called Abraham) and made three main promises to him. God promised to give him a son (because his wife was barren), to make a mighty nation from the offspring, and to give his descendants the land of Canaan. Though Abraham was incredibly old, God blessed him with a child, an offspring through whom God would establish His promise.

But there is a great depth to God’s promise. God declares that all the families (or nations) of the earth will be blessed through Abraham.

How is this possible?

Paul tells us explicitly that Jesus is the prophesied offspring of Abraham (Gal. 3:16). Followers of Jesus are certainly blessed (Eph. 1:3), and we are told that they will be found among every nation (Rev. 7:9).

Thus, Jesus is the ultimate fulfillment of Abraham’s promise, and the coming of Jesus is the blessing of every nation on earth.

As the offspring of Abraham, we must remember that Jesus is the great blessing that repairs the curse of sin among every nation and people group. Pray specifically today for the expansion of the gospel into the all the nations of the earth.