Human lives are filled with complexities and apparent contradictions. Certain biblical passages talk straight about life’s toughest issues. The author of Ecclesiastes asks his readers: “Isn’t life meaningless since in the end we all die?” Yet he does not stay with that question. Rather he considers some of the blessings that God generously imparts to human beings.
The next question is: “How should we relate to those blessings?”
Relevant Biblical Passages
- Ecclesiastes 2:4-11. Why did the Teacher undertake great projects? Was a king in Israel supposed to amass great quantities of silver and gold? And what about his harem?
Moses’ instructions to the future king in Israel were as follows: “He must not take many wives, or his heart will be led astray. He must not accumulate large amounts of silver and gold. When he takes the throne of his kingdom, he is to write for himself on a scroll a copy of this law, taken from that of the priests, who are Levites” (Deuteronomy 17:17-18)
Why did the author desire to be the greatest person in Jerusalem? Explain the metaphor “chasing after the wind” also found in verses 17 and 26.
- Ecclesiastes 2:13-16. Explain the author’s use of parallelism: wisdom = light, folly = darkness. The bad news is that in this world the wise person is as mortal as the fool.
- Ecclesiastes 2:21-26. The reader is called to enjoy God’s blessings such as food, drink, work, entertainment. Can a person find a true and lasting satisfaction in those blessings without giving credit to the ultimate Source of all good things (God)?
Lessons for Life
The Book of Ecclesiastes affirms that success in life is not simply the result of hard work and knowledge. God is the Giver of all good things. True and lasting pleasure is found in a simple enjoyment of divine blessings.