The book of Ecclesiastes is a bit like a rainy day – it leaves you without motivation to do anything. Over and over, we’ll read the words “it’s all vanity,” leaving us to wonder what exactly the point of life is then.
That is why from the beginning, it is important to put the book in perspective. Written by Solomon late in his life, around 935 B.C, it reads a lot like an autobiography (with a cynical angle). Solomon had it all – wealth, power, love, and wisdom. Whatever he desired, he received. But as we begin to read, we get the sense of a man deeply unhappy.
In verse 13 of chapter 1, Solomon writes that he felt like God gave him wisdom to seek and search out all that is done under heaven…and in the end, he found it all vanity and grasping for the wind. Which you might say is the same as a rich person telling a poor person that money won’t make him happy. And in return we become like those kids who tell their parents they want to make their own mistakes instead of listening to their parents’ warnings.
Solomon desperately wants to warn future generations that life is meaningless apart from God. That riches won’t satisfy you. That working around the clock to build an empire won’t make you happy. That houses, wine, gold, pleasure, food – its all vanity and grasping for the wind.
This world will offer you a lot of shiny promises of happiness, fulfillment and success. But even if you were to acquire the greatest wealth in the world and have everything you ever dreamed of at your disposal, none of it means anything without a greater purpose: God and eternity. So, let’s delve deeper into this book filled with wisdom and guidance on figuring out what really matters.
PS. There is a great Christian movie based on this book called The Song! I highly recommend it!