Its focus is on man the creature, his life on earth, and the inscrutability of God and His ways.Ecclesiastes goes beyond the other wisdom literature to emphasize the fact that human life and human goals, as ends in themselves and apart from God, are futile and meaningless.
Relevance for Today Among other things, Solomon saw injustice to the poor, It sounds relevant for us, too, doesn't it?
Solomon has put the key to Ecclesiastes right at the front door: Vanity of vanities, saith the Preacher, vanity of vanities; all is vanity.
Rather, he admonishes us to be realistic about life, accept God's gifts and enjoy them.
[Words related to joy (enjoy, rejoice, etc.) are used at least17 times in Ecclesiastes.] Solomon does not say, "Eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow you die!
"Vanity of vanities," lamented Solomon, "all is vanity!
" Solomon used the word "vanity" 38 times in Ecclesiastes as he wrote about life "under the sun." The word means "emptiness," "futility," "vapor"; "that which vanishes quickly and leaves nothing behind." From the human point of view, life ("under the sun") does often appear futile; and it is easy for us to get pessimistic.So he asks his listeners to look up, and to take into consideration time, eternity, death, and suffering: these four factors God uses to keep our lives from becoming monotonous and meaningless.In his final conclusion and personal application, Solomon then presents four pictures of life and attaches to each picture a practical admonition for his readers to heed: These four pictures parallel the four arguments that Solomon had wrestled with throughout the book: Life is not monotonous; rather, it is an adventure of faith that is anything but predictable or tedious.But being a wise man, Solomon, in Chapters 3 to 10, reviewed his arguments and this time brought God into the picture. By reexamining each of these impressions more carefully he realized that life was not monotonous but filled with challenging situations from God, each in its own time and each for its own purpose.He also learned that wealth could be enjoyed and employed to the glory of God.Though man's wisdom couldn't explain everything, Solomon concluded that it was better to follow God's wisdom than to practice man's folly.And as for the certainty of death, there is no way to escape it; it ought to motivate us to enjoy life now and make the most of the opportunities God gives us.Yes, death is certain, but life is a gift from God and He wants us to enjoy it.Are there questions we can't answer and problems we can't solve? God teaches us His truth as we advance in "the school of life," and He will give us wisdom enough to make sensible decisions.We have in our possession a considered response to this basic question from one of the wisest, richest, most powerful men to have walked the earth.And yet even today his counsel is widely ignored or misunderstood!