Everyone also to whom God has given wealth and possessions and power to enjoy them, and to accept his lot and rejoice in his toil—this is the gift of God.- Ecclesiastes 5:19 ESV
Ecclesiastes is a book of perspective. The narrative of “the Preacher” or “the Teacher” reveals the depression that inevitably results from seeking happiness in worldly things. Ecclesiastes gives us a chance to see the world through the eyes of a very wise person- someone, LIKE US, who WANTS MEANING from LIFE and realizes there is little JOY and PEACE in attempting to FIND MEANING in temporal, human things. Most every form of worldly pleasure is explored, and none of it gives a sense of meaning and purpose beyond existence. In the end, the Preacher\Teacher comes to accept that faith in God is the only way to find personal meaning. ACCEPTING and lamenting, the fact that life is brief and ultimately WORTHLESS without God. We are IMPLORED to focus on THE eternal God instead of temporal pleasure. The Book starts with THE END IN MIND: “Meaningless! Meaningless!” says the Teacher. Utterly meaningless! Everything is meaningless.” (Ecc 1:2)
Leader, If a man fathers a hundred children and lives many years, so that the days of his years are many, but his soul is not satisfied with life’s good things, and he also has no burial, I say that a stillborn child is better off than he. For it comes in vanity and goes in darkness, and in darkness its name is covered. Moreover, it has not seen the sun or known anything, yet it finds rest rather than he. Even though he should live a thousand years twice over, yet enjoy no good—do not all go to the one place? (Ecc 6:3-6) The 2 things that SYMBOLIZED God’s blessing on a JEW was: 1- Longevity of Life; “Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long in the land that the LORD your God is giving you. (Exodus 20:12). 2- Children. Children are a gift from the LORD; they are a reward from him. (Psalm 127:3) We are given this GODLY WISDOM: There is great DANGER looking to our MONEY and KIDS for meaning. We are told: having wealth and having a LARGE, successful FAMILY, will leave you EMPTY- IF, God is NOT IN IT! God is to be our FOCUS, our REASON and our PORTION!
Conduit– FOCUS on HIGH, on HIM and the BEMA seat of CHRIST! I said to myself, “Come now, I will test you with pleasure to find out what is good.” But that also proved to be meaningless. “Laughter,” I said, “is madness. And what does pleasure accomplish?” I tried cheering myself with wine, and embracing folly—my mind still guiding me with wisdom. I wanted to see what was good for people to do under the heavens during the few days of their lives. I undertook great projects: I built houses for myself and planted vineyards. I made gardens and parks and planted all kinds of fruit trees in them. I made reservoirs to water groves of flourishing trees. I bought male and female slaves and had other slaves who were born in my house. I also owned more herds and flocks than anyone in Jerusalem before me. I amassed silver and gold for myself, and the treasure of kings and provinces. I acquired male and female singers, and a harem as well—the delights of a man’s heart. I became greater by far than anyone in Jerusalem before me. In all this my wisdom stayed with me. I denied myself nothing my eyes desired; I refused my heart no pleasure. My heart took delight in all my labor, and this was the reward for all my toil. Yet when I surveyed all that my hands had done and what I had toiled to achieve, everything was meaningless, a chasing after the wind; nothing was gained under the sun. (Ecc 2:1-11)