Ecclesiastes 7-12

Ecclesiastes 7-12…A short life.

Death is certain for all. Ecclesiastes 9:5 says, “The living know that they will die.” For some of us that day is closer than we think. The sensible person faces up to the fact of death and makes provision for this final episode of his earthly life.

There’s only one way to prepare for eternity — trusting Christ as Savior. Those who come to God through Him will enter heaven when they have drawn their last breath. But for unbelievers, that fateful moment will seal their never-ending doom.

Are you ready for the inevitable? Jesus said, “He who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life” (Jn. 5:24). Live today with an eternal perspective, and store up treasures in heaven. The earthly things that occupy our affections are fool’s gold, but God is our lasting treasure, and loving Him is so much more satisfying.

Ecclesiastes 4-6

Ecclesiastes 4-6…The emptiness of worldly success.

In Ecclesiastes 4, Solomon exposes the emptiness of many who make it to the top. This is not a plea for mediocrity. The problem with the people he’s talking about soon becomes clear; they have no fear of the Lord. For people like this, tyranny can become a calling card. Since they view people as pawns, it’s easy for the powerful to become abusive. Sadly, those whom they oppress often have no one to help or comfort them (v.1). Their lot is so painful Solomon concludes that the dead or unborn are better off than the oppressed. If all of this sounds familiar, it’s because these verses capture much of the history of the human race. That’s why those who strive for success must also strive for compassion.

Another reason many successful people feel empty is that they see others as competitors to be beaten rather than as companions to be embraced. It isn’t easy to make friends under those conditions. That’s why those who strive for success must also strive for companionship.

The overachiever can also feel empty because success may bring with it a pack of problems he hadn’t expected. For these people, Solomon’s advice in verse 6 is worth heeding. That’s why those who strive for success must also strive for contentment.

Solomon’s final picture (vv. 7-8) is a sad one: a successful person alone with his money. Yet his loneliness and frustration drive him even harder. A person like that needs help! That’s why those who strive for success must also strive for cessation—knowing when enough is enough.

Ecclesiastes 1-3

Ecclesiastes 1-3…There is nothing new.

Ecclesiastes has had a bit of a contentious role in history, largely because it seems very pessimistic, at least on the surface. Many ancient Jews had trouble receiving the book as Scripture, but the New Testament considers it an inspired work. Paul’s statement that creation was subjected to futility on account of Adam’s sin (Rom. 8:20), for example, is recognized as an echo of Ecclesiastes. Furthermore, the book’s association with Solomon, who wrote most of the book of Proverbs, helped overcome any objections to the book’s place in the canon of Scripture. Of course, Solomon is never explicitly named as the author of Ecclesiastes, which ascribes its contents to the “Preacher, the son of David, king in Jerusalem” (Eccl. 1:1). Traditionally, this “Preacher,” or Qoheleth in Hebrew, has been identified with Solomon, and nothing in the book discounts Solomonic authorship. In fact, one ancient tradition says that Solomon wrote the Song of Solomon when he was a young man, Proverbs when he was middle-aged, and Ecclesiastes when he was elderly.

Whether or not the tradition about Solomon’s age at the time of the composition of Ecclesiastes is true, the book does deal with the quest for meaning that humanity has pursued since the fall. Technology advances and governments change, but the fundamental questions of existence remain. Why are we here? Does my life have a value that endures beyond my death? Where can I find purpose and direction? What is most important? Though our surroundings may change, there is “nothing new under the sun” (Eccl. 1:9) in that people continue to wrestle with the same basic questions of existence. And, since human nature never changes, men and women, apart from grace, always look for answers to these questions in things that cannot satisfy.