Ecclesiastes (Eccl)

Book 21 of the OT, containing 12 chapters. Time to read: 30 mins. Solomon was the author of this ‘Wisdom Book’ written about 935 BC. He shows that life lived without God is meaningless.

Outline.  Writing near the end of his life Solomon spoke of the dilemma of human existence – striving for possessions, power and pleasure, and then finding them futile, making life meaningless and empty.  This admission of disillusionment came from the wisest man who ever lived, but because he didn’t always follow his own advice his life spiraled downwards (1 Kgs 4:29-34). Although he knew the theory this didn’t always translate into practice. It shows that a growing relationship with God provides a proper perspective (this temporary life seen in the light of eternity) and satisfaction comes from doing what is His purpose for our lives.

Main lesson. Knowing the answers is not enough, they need to be applied to life so one’s existence doesn’t becomes a series of disappointments and meaningless events lived apart from God.

Key verses and thoughts: * “Everything is futile” – if God is not Lord of our lives, we will only experience frustration and emptiness (Eccl 1:2). Earthly possessions and accomplishments don’t amount to much (Lk 9:25). The wisdom and success of this world can’t meet the deepest longings of man. What am I pursuing to seek contentment and purpose in life?

* “Remember your creator in the days of your youth before the days of trouble come” (Eccl 12:1). Lay a proper foundation of connecting with God early in your life and continue to build on that so it will not be controlled and maybe even destroyed by harmful habits or wasted by chasing after those things that can’t deliver what they promise and through deception hold in bondage. A solid foundation also guards against being devastated when the storms of life buffet you.

* “The entire duty of man is to fear [have the highest respect for] God and to obey His commands, for we will give account before Him” (Eccl 12:13,14).  By being in right relationship with God and faithfully living out the Bible principles, we will also be walking uprightly before our fellow man. We all must give an account to God how we have lived. Solomon started well, then let sin and wrong relationships infiltrate his life. Learn from his mistake and follow God wholeheartedly from today on, then your life won’t be a futile exercise. God is glorified by our living according to His revealed will and principles, resulting in personal, long-lasting satisfaction.

See also: application, obedience, plans and purposes, pleasure, satisfaction, Solomon, vanity, wisdom/wise.