“The Preacher” in Ecclesiastes reminds us that life under the sun does not play out according to neat and tidy rules. He asks us to see the world around us in all its messiness and explores what that messiness reveals about us, our world, and God. The Preacher is plainspoken, because people live in the midst of this mess and we have to talk about it. Zack Eswine gives us a meditation that engages people where they are and invites them to draw near to God who enters their world to redeem it and them.
About the Author
Zack Eswine (PhD, Regent University) is lead pastor at Riverside Church in Webster Groves, Missouri. Zack was an Assistant Professor of Homiletics and Director for the Doctor of Ministry program at Covenant Theological Seminary and has also written many books on preaching and Christian living.
About the Series
Iain M. Duguid (PhD, University of Cambridge) is Professor of Old Testament and Religion at Grove City College in Grove City, Pennsylvania, and Co-pastor of Christ Presbyterian Church (ARP) in Grove City.
“There are books that are theologically significant, books that are pastorally relevant, and books that are beautifully written. But it is rare to find all three in a single work. Zack Eswine’s masterful treatment of Ecclesiastes will feed your mind, heart and soul in a unique way. This is probably the best volume in the Gospel According to the Old Testament series so far.”
– Iain Duguid, Professor of Old Testament, Grove City College; author, Living in the Gap Between Promise and Reality: The Gospel According to Abraham
“When you are leading a Bible study, or preaching on a text, one thing you look for in extra-biblical resources is a trustworthy approach that can also help the text sparkle with new connections to the rest of the Bible’s grand narrative. It seems a popular thing for commentators to argue over the nuances of Ecclesiastes to the point where it becomes disjointed—your study can easily get lost in what seems to be conflicting detail. Zack Eswine will bring you a clarity to the themes of Ecclesiastes that can literally make you stop, slap your forehead, and exclaim ‘Ah! That makes sense.’ If you are leading a Bible study on, or preaching from Ecclesiastes, you need this book to orient your study.”
– Ian Thompson, Vice President, P&R Publishing
“In Recovering Eden, Zack Eswine has provided a pastorally poetic guide to the endlessly ‘wild and strange wonder called Ecclesiastes.’ He reliably reminds the reader that a search for life’s significance begins with a trustworthy God who fills life with meaning throughout life’s seasons and ends with this One who makes all things new in Jesus Christ. Be sure to reflect on the weighty questions that Zack provides after each chapter. They offer the reader a timely opportunity to respond to the author’s thoughtful observations of an ultimately hopeful text.”
– Donald C. Guthrie, Director of the PhD (Educational Studies), Professor of Educational Ministries, The Jeanette L. Hsieh Chair of Educational Leadership, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School
“While very few of us are professional philosophers who deal with the abstract problems of meaning, all of us are daily dealing with the functional problems of meaning. We all want our lives to count for something. Every one of us craves meaning—it’s human nature to yearn for it. The question is, where are we looking to find it … What are you depending on to make life worth living? What keeps you going?
“Ecclesiastes won’t allow for pat answers to these deeply existential questions—it forces us to look beneath the surface…. The writer of Ecclesiastes is not interested in pious platitudes and theory. He’s not some ivory-tower pontificator. Rather, he’s slogging his way through life on the ground, desperately looking for something to make him feel alive, something that will satisfy, something to give him the meaning he longs for. Ecclesiastes is an honest look at life without God. It explores the ways in which people try to save themselves apart from God, and in doing so, it blows our cover—it removes our fig leaves. It leads us to the abyss and drives us to despair. It reveals the meaninglessness of life ‘under the sun’ and causes us to cry out, ‘Who will rescue me?’
“My friend Zack Eswine helps us to see that all the answers sought for by the writer of Ecclesiastes (and us) under the sun come to us from above the sun, in the person and work of Jesus. Reading Ecclesiastes in the light of Christ’s finished work tells us that ultimate meaning is found in God through Christ, who defeats death and brings meaning to life. Jesus subjected himself to the curse of a meaningless world in order to free us from it.
“For those who see no end to their laborious search for meaning and satisfaction, Jesus promises rest…. Only in Christ are we freed from the bondage of vanity. Christ has completed our labors, he’s secured our meaning, he’s rescued us from futility. Thank you, Zack, for reminding me of this. I keep forgetting.”
– Tullian Tchividjian, Pastor, Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church, Fort Lauderdale, FL