A Devotional Journey
led by Dr. Gene Pearson
Thru the Bible in a Year
The book of Ecclesiastes leaves a few significant unanswered questions. The author is unnamed, being referred to simply as Koheleth or Teacher. While he is identified as son of David, this could apply to any of David=s surviving sons, but also, since the Hebrew for son can also mean descendent (sometimes many generations removed), to anyone in David=s line. Still, tradition associated the writer with Solomon, and there are several passages which seem to support this (see 1:1,12,16; 2:4-9; 7:26-29; 12:9).
As the writer begins, his life is mostly behind him and he seems to be reflecting on the meaning of it all as well as the deceptive attraction of much he has sought and acquired, wished for and done. His faith in God seems largely objective, yet clearly real. His concludes that apart from God all is futile and irrelevant B in fact there can be no satisfaction or fulfillment in life without Him (see 2:25).
In chapter 1, the point is made that our greatest ambitions and efforts as human beings lead essentially nowhere, providing neither benefit or any lasting sense of fulfillment. Even wisdom and knowledge are not seen as answers: ...with much wisdom comes much sorrow; the more knowledge, the more grief.
In chapter 2, the futility of pursuing pleasure is presented. Toil, labor and work are also presented as meaningless, a recurring theme in the book (the words are used more than 25 times). The author=s main point is expressed in 2:24-25: ...nothing better than to eat and drink and find satisfaction in...work. This too...is from the hand of God, for without Him, who can...find enjoyment? (see 3:12-13,22; 5:18-20; 8:15; 9:7).
In chapter 3, the writer argues that we have little or no control over the circumstances of our lives; only God, in His sovereign eternity can decide what life=s events and options will be. Chapter 4, adds the thought that life is not only filled with meaningless pursuits, but with disagreeable and destructive human relationships as well.
Are you ever tempted to believe that everything is meaningless, like chasing the wind? Certainly we waste a lot of time and energy on the most nonproductive and insignificant pursuits. But are there not activities and expenditures of energy which might actually bless others and ourselves? Is it not possible to define a course for our lives that leads us closer to God and fulfills our need to live in productive, useful and valuable ways?
Today, make a list of meaningful actions you could take to build your life and share something significant with others at the same time. Then pick the most important item on the list and start working on it. After a couple of days add another. See if your life does not begin to feel more significant.
Cynicism always results from a sense of frustrated aspirations. Optimism is fueled by results.
8 A. Eugene Pearson 2011