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Why Am I Here (On Earth)? Is Everything Meaningless?

A Little More Table-Setting – Authorship

The writer of Ecclesiastes identified himself as “the Preacher, the Son of David, king in Jerusalem” (1:1). You can see why most people throughout church history have seen the author to be none other than Solomon. He was the only son of David who was king in Jerusalem. There are those who, because Solomon is not specifically self-identified, and because some statements within the book, along with the style of Hebrews in which the book is written, could, on the surface, point in a direction other than Solomon, contend that he was not the author. But with that being said, I would argue that the arguments against his authorship have good rebuttals, and that the internal evidence points to the authorship of Solomon – i.e. being David’s son (Eccl. 1:1b), “king in Jerusalem” (1:1c), “king over Israel in Jerusalem” (vs.12), and the description as one who “taught the people knowledge…and set in order many proverbs” (12:9b). So going forward I will refer to the writer of Ecclesiastes as either that – the writer of Ecclesiastes, or Qoheleth – the Hebrew word translated “the preacher” (Eccl. 1:1), or, of course, Solomon.

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Why Am I Here (On Earth)? An Introduction

It’s a good question; one that you’ve probably asked at some point – why am I here (on earth)? Perhaps in some cases that question has gnawed at the heels of your mind like a dog that relentlessly pursues biting the bottom of your pant leg and you’ve been just as relentless in shaking it off. Or perhaps you’ve settled on an answer but have not scrutinized your position. You say, “I am here on earth to fulfill my purpose” – but you don’t know who defines what that purpose is, and you don’t know how the definer defines that purpose. So you step up to the plate and define your purpose and you come to find that it’s as fickle as the fads you embrace, not really grounded in absolutes but driven by what you makes you happy. So in the final analysis, after some scrutiny, you come to find that you’re actually a hedonist. Who knew? 

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The Siege Before Christmas (Micah 5:1)

Now muster yourselves in troops, daughter of troops; They have laid siege against us; With a rod they will smite the judge of Israel on the cheek. (Mic. 5:1 NASB)

Before we get to Bethlehem (Mic. 5:2), we must stop and hear this oracle against Jerusalem (vs.1). If you were a Hebrew reader of Micah’s prophecy, the moment you heard “Now” (Heb. attâ), you might have gotten another ‘lump in your throat.’ That word had been used previously to introduce prophetic glimpses of situations Judah wouldn’t have exactly looked forward to (4:9, 11), and this one wouldn’t be the desire of the nation either. First, the call, “Now muster yourselves in troops, daughter of troops,” wasn’t an inspirational, pre-battle call-to-assembly. It is likely an ironic call to futile preparations. The Hebrew verb in that expression can connote either ‘slashing’ or ‘gathering.’ In the case of the former, some translations have opted for ‘You have slashed yourself in grief’ (HCSB). But most opt for the latter – a call to marshal the troops. Interestingly, when you look at how the word for “troops” is used, it most commonly refers to ‘bands’ or ‘raiders,’ and so the irony may be something like this – Israel is besieged by an army and all they can muster is the comparative equivalent of a band of raiders. 

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Why Am I Here? (The Answer) – Part 3

In our previous Why Am I Here? (The Answer) daily teaching we saw how, according to to the Genesis account, mankind was created to image God (Gen. 1:26a). But there’s still plenty more to see. So, as we make our way to the ultimate reason for man’s existence we will first continue to survey the opening chapter of God’s Word, looking back to the initial revelation of man’s creation to understand why we are here. We pick up today in the second half of Genesis 1:26.

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Why Am I Here? (The Answer) – Part 2

An Early Explanation for Man

26 Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” 27 So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. 28 Then God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”

 

Thankfully, very early on in the inspired text of Scripture we are told why God created man. That reality in itself, the fact that the uncreated God is the creator of all creation, and particularly the creator of man, is not to be taken for granted. Man’s origin is inextricably connected to his purpose; and here we see that man did not grow out of rocks like the ancient Greeks believed, nor was man the result of primordial ooze being supercharged by electricity, mingled together with the variables of time, motion, and chance, as naturalistic evolution teaches. Man was created by God as the crown of His creation. 

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