Category Archives: Real Joy and Solid Purpose.

Ecclesiastes/The Futile Life Without God.

{King Solomon wrote this book while reigning in the place of his father David Ecclesiastes is thought to have been written in Solomon’s latter years when he was an older man as well.}

(Ecclesiastes 1:1-18)

The words of the Teacher, son of David, king in Jerusalem: “Meaningless! Meaningless!”says the Teacher.“ Utterly meaningless! Everything is meaningless.” What do people gain from all their laborsat which they toil under the sun? Generations come and generations go,but the earth remains forever. The sun rises and the sun sets, and hurries back to where it rises. The wind blows to the southand turns to the north;round and round it goes, ever returning on its course. All streams flow into the sea,yet the sea is never full.To the place the streams come from,there they return again. All things are wearisome, more than one can say. The eye never has enough of seeing, nor the ear its fill of hearing. What has been will be again,what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun. Is there anything of which one can say, “Look! This is something new”? It was here already, long ago; it was here before our time. No one remembers the former generations,and even those yet to come will not be remembered by those who follow them.

{Solomon was the wisest man living at that time and there had been and has been no one as wise as King Solomon aside from Christ himself, but even as the wisest man alive, his wisdom did not spare him grief or the monotonous repetition, he like so many other people past a certain point in life saw how futile the hamster wheel can be. To those living now it may be, “Get up, shower, brush teeth, go to work, come home, go to bed, so as to begin the same cycle again and again and again year after year.}

I, the Teacher, was king over Israel in Jerusalem. I applied my mind to study and to explore by wisdom all that is done under the heavens. What a heavy burden God has laid on mankind! I have seen all the things that are done under the sun; all of them are meaningless, a chasing after the wind. What is crooked cannot be straightened; what is lacking cannot be counted. I said to myself, “Look, I have increased in wisdom more than anyone who has ruled over Jerusalem before me; I have experienced much of wisdom and knowledge.” Then I applied myself to the understanding of wisdom, and also of madness and folly, but I learned that this, too, is a chasing after the wind. For with much wisdom comes much sorrow;the more knowledge, the more grief.

{Solomon first tries more wisdom to make him merry but he says its like “chasing after the wind”- in essence pursuing the unattainable illusion, a mirage. One cannot catch the wind and knowledge is not the source of happiness, on the contrary often the more one knows the more pain it brings. When we see some of the evil things that go on in the world or the suffering taking place we may not wish we knew at all. As the old expression goes, “ignorance is bliss”-although ignorance solves none of the problems we or anyone else has, it merely makes us oblivious.}

Ecclesiastes 2:1-3 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.

{laughter, pleasure and glee last only the moment they are taking place so it is only assumable that pleasure is a fire that constantly needs refueling, “I wanted to see what was good for people to do under the heavens during the few days of their lives”- Solomon said, but this is how most people who do not know God live. After all, if we are only here 60 or 70 years and there is nothing left after then we might as well have a good time.
The Apostle Paul knew what is was to grasp on to the essence of real life not just the foretaste. This life is transition for the next whether eternal life or eternal separation from our God who created us to be in a relationship with him. He made it possible to overlook our offenses by nailing them to the cross with Christ, and Paul says,

1 Corinthians 15:29-32 Now if there is no resurrection, what will those do who are baptized for the dead? If the dead are not raised at all, why are people baptized for them? And as for us, why do we endanger ourselves every hour? I face death every day—yes, just as surely as I boast about you in Christ Jesus our Lord. If I fought wild beasts in Ephesus with no more than human hopes, what have I gained? If the dead are not raised,“Let us eat and drink,for tomorrow we die.”

Indeed Solomon and Paul had a point that if this life is all there is than there is no real value living contrary to each momentary pleasure and fix. After all if we are just born to die than we might as well live it up while we are alive for our short days here.}

Ecclesiastes 2:4-11 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.

{Solomon tries success and has successfully found it is too meaningless. Success has failed to bring him happiness or lasting joy}

Ecclesiastes 2:12-26 Then I turned my thoughts to consider wisdom, and also madness and folly. What more can the king’s successor dothan what has already been done? I saw that wisdom is better than folly, just as light is better than darkness. The wise have eyes in their heads,while the fool walks in the darkness; but I came to realizethat the same fate overtakes them both. Then I said to myself,“The fate of the fool will overtake me also. What then do I gain by being wise?” I said to myself,“This too is meaningless.” For the wise, like the fool, will not be long remembered;the days have already come when both have been forgotten. Like the fool, the wise too must die! So I hated life, because the work that is done under the sun was grievous to me. All of it is meaningless, a chasing after the wind. I hated all the things I had toiled for under the sun, because I must leave them to the one who comes after me. And who knows whether that person will be wise or foolish? Yet they will have control over all the fruit of my toil into which I have poured my effort and skill under the sun. This too is meaningless. So my heart began to despair over all my toilsome labor under the sun. For a person may labor with wisdom, knowledge and skill, and then they must leave all they own to another who has not toiled for it. This too is meaningless and a great misfortune. What do people get for all the toil and anxious striving with which they labor under the sun? All their days their work is grief and pain; even at night their minds do not rest. This too is meaningless. A person can do nothing better than to eat and drink and find satisfaction in their own toil. This too, I see, is from the hand of God, for without him, who can eat or find enjoyment? To the person who pleases him, God gives wisdom, knowledge and happiness, but to the sinner he gives the task of gathering and storing up wealth to hand it over to the one who pleases God. This too is meaningless, a chasing after the wind.

Wealth, success, wisdom, knowledge, and pleasure have failed? What he concludes is that God gives us the ability to enjoy good things and but without God the enjoyment we receive lacks. Can we take our queues from some celebrities? Robbin Williams for example sadly and tragically ended his life, even though he was rich, well liked, hilariously funny and a successful actor. It is more lonely at the top of the ladder than at the bottom, the idea of the glory life is an illusion if it is meant to be acquired by earthly means.
Man’s solution is not found in the external accumulation of things, people, wealth or success. But only in a spiritual food that Christ taught about, “For man does not live by bread alone but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God”

For spiritual cravings, we need spiritual food. Time to lay aside the potato chips of possessions and the soda of success or the “more” smores.

John 6:26-29 Jesus answered, “Very truly I tell you, you are looking for me, not because you saw the signs I performed but because you ate the loaves and had your fill. Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. For on him God the Father has placed his seal of approval.” Then they asked him, “What must we do to do the works God requires?” Jesus answered, “The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent.”

God enjoys to bless people who follow him with good things to enjoy from time to time but then again they are just salt and pepper and seasonings not the actual steak. Only Christ is sufficient to meet the deepest longings of the soul.