The book of Ecclesiastes is not usually on many Christians’ list as the most enjoyable piece of literature they have read in the Bible. If you have ever worked your way through these words of Solomon, then it is quite possible that you have walked away from it a bit discouraged. Let’s face it: this is a really depressing book. When the chief message being expressed is that “all is vanity” when it comes to life, then it is hard to become enthused.
However, we need to feel the impact of Solomon’s perspective. He was expressing a common worldview present in his time: history apart from God, without the divine Sovereign in the equation, moves along in vain with no real purpose behind it. The ancient world in the days of Solomon looked at history as cyclical, not linear. In other words, there is no real hope for things to improve, be different, or get better because what-goes-around-comes-around. The only option in such a view of history and of the world is to accept your lot in life and try to make the best of it. Yep, it’s depressing to say the least.
But when we have God in the equation of history, there is a goal, an end to all that is happening; there is meaning and purpose to the world. Everything we do and all that takes place around us is only vanity with the absence of God. Yet, when the Christian fears God and keeps his commandments, then life moves along a decided pathway of following Jesus. Life’s journey is not marked by useless activity, but faith, hope, and love.
We all have a need for purpose and contribution, which is why the worldview apart from God is so meaningless. We need to deeply and meaningfully connect with our Creator. In doing so, we discover that life opens up to new and fresh vistas of peace and joy. There is an end to the story, if we have spiritual eyes to see.
Almighty God, you sometimes seem hidden and life appears to be going nowhere. Open my eyes to see what you are doing in your world so that I might be directed toward your purposes in the power of the Holy Spirit to the glory of Jesus Christ. Amen.