Have you read Ecclesiastes recently? It’s unbelievable that something written so many centuries ago can still be so relevant for today. But we serve a living God that has given us a living word. (Heb. 4:12)
No matter the time or place in history, people have questioned the meaning of life. Is life really worth living? Is there a greater purpose? As Christians, we know that the answer is yes, but that doesn’t mean we live everyday filled with meaning, satisfaction, and purpose. We still struggle with jobs that are unfulfilling, tasks that seem futile (picking up toys with a toddler destroying everything as you go…), and the weariness of daily life.
The beginning of Ecclesiastes paints a rather cynical picture—one that is easy to buy into when we look around at the suffering and dissatisfaction in the world.
The preacher, the writer of Ecclesiastes, declares that everything is meaningless. Utterly meaningless. All of our work. Meaningless. Life is weary and unsatisfying. Meaningless. Everything has been done. Meaningless. No one remembers. Utterly Meaningless.
After the first chapter, who even wants to keep reading? There’s no escaping the frustration and futility of life. It’s true. We feel it every day. It’s a view that is without hope—if not for the one phrase “under the sun”…
In that small phrase, we get a glimpse of hope. A life lived apart from God will be lost in meaninglessness. Without the implication that there is something “beyond the sun”, something that does give meaning, living life would be pointless. But we know from the rest of God’s word that there is more, praise the Lord! “Under the sun” is only our temporary home.
God has purposefully put in us a desire for more than the emptiness that this world offers. Our dissatisfaction and “chasing after the wind” is meant to send us searching for HIM—the only one who satisfies our desire for meaning and the only one who gives our lives purpose.
That one little phrase in the first chapter of Ecclesiastes gives us hope when we could despair. I’ve only just begun to study Ecclesiastes, but I’m clinging to that phrase knowing that there is more to come. Only looking beyond our lives on Earth, under this sun, will we find a meaningful life “under the SON.”
To paraphrase Philip Graham Ryken in his commentary on Ecclesiastes…While there is nothing new under the sun, we serve a God that is always doing something new. There is a “new covenant” (Luke 22:20), a “new heart” (Eze. 36:26), a “new self” (Eph. 4:24), and a “new creation” (2 Cor. 5:17). He is “making all things new” (Rev. 21:5). There will be “a new heavens and new earth” (2 Pet. 3:13) in which “We will no longer look this way or of that for something to satisfy us, but our senses will be saturated with the glory of God. Remember that this is not our final existence. We were made for a better world.”
Praying that I would not look for meaning in the things of the world that will not ultimately satisfy, but that I would have an eternal perspective, finding my purpose “under the SON.”
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If you are interested in resources for studying Ecclesiastes, You can check out:
• Preaching the Word Commentary: Ecclesiastes by Phillip Graham Ryken – a readable commentary based a sermon series
• Why Everything Matters: The Gospel in Ecclesiastes by Phillip Graham Ryken – we haven’t read this, but it looks like a condensed version of the commentary for those that might not have as much time or energy to read through the whole commentary
• The Message of the Old Testament: Promises Made by Mark Dever – a great resource for high level overviews of all the books in the Old Testament
Linking this post with: Women with Intention