In today’s blog, we will be covering our reading in the Book of Ecclesiastes. This Book is probably written by King Solomon near the end of his life. Our title, Ecclesiastes, comes from the Latin form of the Greek word for a preacher, or teacher, that appears in Ecc. 1:1.
The Book begins and ends with the words “Meaningless! Meaningless! Everything is meaningless.” (Ecc. 1:2,12:8) In other translations, these words are translated “Vanity! Vanity!…….Everything is vanity.” This Book can be difficult to understand. We need to keep in mind that even though Solomon was gifted by the LORD with great wisdom at the beginning of his reign (1Kings 3:6 – 14), Solomon drifted away from the LORD when he married many foreign women who worshiped other gods (1Kings 11:1-11).
In this Book, Solomon recounts his quest for the chief good without reference to a God-centered worship. In Ecc. 3:11, the Teacher has said that God has put eternity in the hearts of man. He describes how the pursuit of natural wisdom (Ecc. 1:12-18) and pleasure (Ecc. 2:1-11) cannot fill this God-shaped void. He calls it “a chasing after the wind” (v.11b). Material things cannot bring lasting satisfaction to the soul (Ecc. 6).
According to the Teacher, “this present life of man beneath the sun, when considered by itself, or when lived for as an end in itself, is vanity” (Baxter). He experiences this first-hand as he spent many years away from a close relationship with the LORD. The Teacher seems to come to the following conclusion at the end of his life: it is the final judgment by God and the life beyond the grave which gives life its great meaning. He concludes with this weighty and wise statement: “Now all has been heard; here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man. For God will bring every deed into judgment, including every hidden thing, whether it is good or evil” (Ecc. 12:13,14). A great way to close this blog. In Christ’s love and service, Pastor John