In reading the whole of the book of Ecclesiastes, I have found a book that reflects a honesty not necessarily found in any other book of the Bible. Traditionally ascribed to be written by King Solomon but not confirmed by explicit evidence, Ecclesiastes is the work of a preacher who after considerable life experience and reflection based on observation, finds life to be basically pointless and meaningless.
Whether we sin or live up to the Laws as proscribed in Deuteronomy and Leviticus and Exodus, our lives will end with death. How we live doesn’t seem to matter or make any difference in terms of lifespan. No matter what we do and how we do it, life will end. So why not eat, drink, and be merry at least?, the author challenges.
Interestingly enough, for all this author’s wisdom, he points out that pleasure seeking seems frivolous as does having numerous wives and riches and luxuries and so on. It will all come to an end. All the wealth of the world cannot bring everlasting life or save one from death. Yet the author does not speak 0f God’s grace or of salvation or the kingdom of heaven. A good life seems to be a balanced life– the best life is a life that seems most basic and most defined by contentment rather than a fruitless pursuit of wealth or perfection for its own sake. Perfection is unattainable anyway, so why bother?
When one adds the Gospels as a counter to these observations, one can then see that there is meaning and a destination to look forward to through Jesus Christ. There is salvation, redemption, forgiveness of sin, and comfort in knowing that eternal life in the kingdom of heaven awaits those that believe in Christ as their savior and as their redeemer.
Ecclesiastes is a reflection of Old Testament sentiment that encapsulates life without a Messiah. Life does seem empty and meaningless if there is no eternal goal to achieve.