February 7, 2014.
Ok, I’ve kept you in the dark about the other reasons I love Ecclesiasties so much for too long now (well, you probably didn’t really care that much, but it makes me feel better to say that). If you are just coming in now, you might want to read yesterday’s post first.
“Enjoy life with the wife whom you love, all the days of your vain life that he has given you under the sun, because that is your portion in life and in your toil at which you toil under the sun. Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might, for there is no work or thought or knowledge or wisdom in Sheol, to which you are going.”
This section has much to do with what we talked about yesterday, in that we should find enjoyment in the work that we do while we are on this earth. However, Solomon takes it a step further here, saying we should enjoy this vain life while we can, for as James says, our life is but a vapor. I am quite convinced many of the sayings we use are biblical in origin, for we say “life’s too short to get upset.” (I also believe that Shakespeare pull some ideas for Hamlet straight from Ecclesiastes, but I’ll let you find them on your own.) I think that is the point that Solomon is making here. Enjoy life while you can.
“In the morning sow your seed, and at evening withhold not your hand, for you do not know which will prosper, this or that, or whether both alike will be good.”
When I first read through this book, this verse was my favorite. I may not even be understanding what the wise man is saying fully, but I’ve always been a proponent of trying to solve a problem from many different angles and opening up many options for the future before deciding on a strict path. That is what this verse seems to be saying to do, in my opinion at least. I believe that wisdom looks towards efficiency, and I love efficiency.
There are other things I really enjoy about Ecclesiastes, such as Solomon’s pursuit of wisdom, the way he describes the aging process in the opening of chapter twelve and even the intellectual insights the wise man had years and years before they were discovered, but perhaps the most important reason to read and understand this wonderful book is because I believe it answers one of the most important and frequently asked questions of mankind.
What is the meaning of life?
“The end of the matter; all has been heard. Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man. For God will bring every deed into judgment, with every secret thing, whether good or evil.”
Solomon is ending his tale of wisdom with the fact that much learning and study is weariness to the flesh; instead of letting us weary ourself with the dilligent search and study, he just gives us the answer. Fear God and keep his commandments. This is the whole duty of man. No more, no less. In simplistic terms, at least. Isn’t it beautiful?
I encourage you to ponder on this, along with all the other many teachings of the wise preacher. There are some deep things in this book, which will enrich and bless your life. May The Lord help you find them.
Suggested Daily Reading: Ecclesiastes 7-12
May it be well with your soul.