What is the meaning of life? Why are we really here?
These are questions making ask today. Solomon asked the same question in the book of Ecclesiastes. At first glance, we can be easily caught up with words like “vanity”, “toil”, “meaningless”, and “chasing the wind” found in this writing.
These are all depressing terms listed in Ecclesiastes. It can seem, that apart from the last verse, the book has its conclusion in despair.
All seems meaningless until we get to the final passage.
Ecclesiastes 12:13 says, “The end of the matter; all has been heard. Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man”
This book is a comparison of two ways of living.
The author uses the term “under the sun” to describe one of the worldviews. A life lived this way ends in “toil”, “vanity”, and ultimately is “meaningless”. Even the best life has to offer, ends up meaningless without God.
But, a life lived under God, fearing Him and keeping His commandments has meaning. With God all of life has meaning. There is no part of life that is outside of God, who brings meaning to all things
A closer look at the historical setting of this book might help us.
In Judaism, the book was read on the 3rd day of the Feast of Tabernacles or Booths.This is a celebration of Israel’s time in the wilderness, remembering God’s deliverance for them as a nation out of slavery to worship Him.
Israel’s time in Egypt would have been considered “toil” and “vanity”, but their life with God in the wilderness was meant to have great meaning.
The background shows us that this is a book about celebration.
There are no parts of life that are “secular” or apart from God for a believer.
All of life brings enjoyment when we live under God rather than “under the sun”.
Walking in the fear of God does not keep us from enjoyment, but helps us experience life to the fullness that God intended for us.
The Westminster Catechism illustrates this when it says “Man’s chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy him forever.” Under God, all of life is enjoyable!
- The most obvious question for us is, are we enjoying life on this planet like God intends us to do?
- Which parts of life do we view as “secular” or outside of God? For a believer, all of life is sacred. What changes in our thinking as a church must be made?
This post is one in a series of devotionals which were published in La Biblia Del Discipulo (The Discipleship Bible), which is a Spanish language Bible. For more information on the Bible, please visit : http://www.bibliadeldiscipulo.com.
The E-Version is also available for IPads or mobile devices. Copyright 2011.