Ecclesiastes is an interesting book. It is the ruminations of one of the wisest men to ever walk the earth. We find King Solomon sharing some very profound statements as he philosophizes over the meaning of life. If you have never given this book much time, I encourage you to give it a chance and examine this thought-provoking essay for yourself.
In Ecclesiastes we find verses that have been the inspiration for songs, “There is a time for everything, a season for every activity under heaven.” (Ecc. 3:1) We find one of my favorite verses of all time, “When the clouds are heavy, the rains come down. When a tree falls, whether south or north, there it lies.” (Ecc. 11:3) We find practical warnings,such as, “Laziness lets the roof leak, and soon the rafters begin to rot.” (Ecc. 10:18) And we find a scathing rebuke of greed, “Those who love money will never have enough. How absurd to think that wealth brings true happiness!” (Ecc. 5:10)
At the end of the book we find a powerful conclusion, “Here is my final conclusion. Fear God and obey his commands, for this is the duty of every person.” (Ecc. 12:13) That is a fitting ending that brings the book full circle and provides meaning in the midst of a bunch of meaninglessness. But one of my favorite portions of this book actually comes a little before the end as the author seems to put his wisdom into place. In chapter 9 he writes this, “This reminded me that no one can discover everything God has created in our world, no matter how hard they work at it. Not even the wisest people know everything, even if they say they do.” (Ecc. 9:17)
Throughout this book we see Solomon wrestling with the meaning of life and it seems that even with all of his wisdom, power, and money that he still finds life meaningless from an earthly perspective. It is only when he sets his eyes Heavenward that life begins to take on meaning as we see in his conclusion. But along the way Solomon needed to put his own wisdom and powers of observation in place. He needed to realize that he does not have all the answers, even though he was one of the wisest men to walk the earth. Ultimately wisdom must begin with the fear of the Lord. We need to start with God if we are to find any purpose or meaning to life.
I do encourage you to give Ecclesiastes some time. And if you are interested in talking more about this subject, please feel free to send me an email or give me a call. Or better yet, stop by Dunn Bros. in downtown Chaska some afternoon and let’s have a chat.