The book of Ecclesiastes is my 2nd favorite book of the Bible (James is my favorite). While Psalms and Proverbs are both inspirational and recognizing the awe in our God, Ecclesiastes follows up with finding the value in life and not questioning the existence of the creator.
In my opinion, it gives us the reason for living a good and profitable life here on earth – true wisdom. Maybe I like both James and Ecclesiastes because they bluntly keep it real but encouraging. The scripture is beautiful, heart pricking and soul changing.
Solomon begins the book with “Vanity of vanities… all is vanity” and continues with asking what the value is in this life if we are just ‘chasing the wind.’ (vs 14) Which the answer is useless. No value if we are following human or worldly wisdom. Trying to gain earthy wealth or success is going to leave you empty handed when it comes down to the end of your life. Basically, chapter 5:15 says, “As he came from his mothers womb, naked shall he return, to go as he came; and he shall take nothing from his labor which he may carry away in his hand.”
Please don’t mistake me, it is healthy to want to try your best in this life, gain respect and honor, work hard and profit, apply yourself and gain success — Lord knows we need more Godly representatives in the US. But if your soul is not satisfied with goodness, His goodness, Ecclesiastes says, “better is a stillborn.” Ouch! I didn’t say that. He said it!
No matter how closely we follow the book of Proverbs, seeking God and giving Him the glory, developing true wisdom and applying it, does not promise us a life of ease. There will be death and there will be evil. However, the Scripture gives us hope of a future with Him and that helps us to persevere through this earthy life and gain eternity with our Creator.
Chapter 7:15-18 says, “I have seen everything in my days of vanity: There is a just man who perishes in his righteousness, And there is a wicked man who prolongs life in his wickedness. Do not be overly righteous, Nor be overly wise: Why should you destroy yourself? Do not be overly wicked, Nor be foolish: Why should you die before your time? It is good that you grasp this, And also not remove your hand from the other; For he who fears God will escape them all.”
What a challenge and yet a relief all at the same time. There have been times that I have questioned the meaning of life… I am not sure of anyone who hasn’t. But what a relief that the answers are right in front of us.
When times are good, be happy;
but when times are bad, consider this:
God has made the one
as well as the other.
Therefore, no one can discover
anything about their future.—Ecclesiastes 7:14
There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under the heavens:
a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.
What do workers gain from their toil? I have seen the burden God has laid on the human race. He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end. I know that there is nothing better for people than to be happy and to do good while they live. That each of them may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all their toil—this is the gift of God. I know that everything God does will endure forever; nothing can be added to it and nothing taken from it. God does it so that people will fear him.
Whatever is has already been,
and what will be has been before;
and God will call the past to account.—Ecclesiastes 3:1–15
Though nothing can offer fulfillment, one need not adopt a pessimistic, cynical, or fatalistic view toward life. Enjoy life for what it is: a gift from the hand of God. If God is in the center of one’s worldview, the pursuits of life can be put in their proper place, not offering meaning for life, but offering enjoyment.
We are not in control of what is sometimes thrown at us in this life but we can trust a God who promises us strength and true fulfillment.