Real Freedom in Life

Ecclesiastes 3.1-8

Sermon by Dr Peter Masters

King Solomon demonstrates in a famous and remarkable masterpiece of literature how trapped and limited we are, dominated by the events of life. But freedom is available to us, and limitations are removed, when a new spiritual dimension is received into our life.

‘To everything there is a season, at a time, to every purpose under the heaven.’

And our subject is ‘finding real freedom in life’. This is such a well-known passage. It is great literature and it is known and applauded as such everywhere. It is so frequently quoted, part of this chapter or verses from it. When I was a boy, at one school I went to, every end of term service incorporated the reading of this chapter. And boys didn’t really know what it amounted to or what it meant, but it stirred everyone as being great literature, no question about it.

So here is King Solomon, son of King David, king in Jerusalem, and these are his words. He was rich, he was powerful, he was the most successful king of Judah and Israel ever. It was so prosperous. He was a genius, a great man of letters, he was a believer in God, an earnest believer, but during the course of his life he became a terrible backslider, but then he recovered his faith by the goodness of God and he became, in the closing years of his life, a teacher. And most people believe that this book, Ecclesiastes, belongs to the last part of his life.

Well, it is a literary masterpiece and this chapter is primarily, but not entirely, about the predictability of life. That’s its great theme. He was a master of proverbs, so there are two meanings, really, in every verse. There is a straightforward, obvious sense and then there is a parable in every verse and briefly we shall look at it in that way. We are not free as human beings, says Solomon, not by any means. We are dominated by events and circumstances.