In my daily reading I have made it a point to start focusing my attention to learning more about the books of the Bible that I don’t know much about, rather than to keep reading the ones I have already read before. So today I focused my attention on the book of Ecclesiastes. When I was younger, I didn’t care much for the Old Testament. To be honest, I think I felt like it was irrelevant. I thought that Jesus came and changed everything, so the Old Testament was… Well… Old… And pointless. I see now that the Old Testament is the foundation that everything in the New Testament stands on. It’s full of a lot of wonderful things. Prophesies, praises, moral truths and values, and if nothing else, cultural history.
A lot of non-Christians like to point to the Old Testament at things such as the fact that men had several wives and say “See, your God supports bad stuff!” No, actually, it was just the way people lived back then. God never said He supported it. Anyway, that’s a whole other topic!
The writer of Ecclesiastes is King David’s son (yes, the same David that defeated Goliath). As you may already know, his name is Solomon. Solomon starts out this book with a starteling and strange opening:
“The words of the Teacher, son of David, king in Jerusalem:
says the Teacher.
Everything is meaningless.””
He goes on through the whole book explaining how he had tried everything. Being rich he could afford anything he wanted, and he had everything. He says he tried it all, but you can sum the list up as “laughter, learning, labor, liquor, and lust.” He explains them all and says it’s all meaningless; it’s a waste of time. While reading Ecclesiastes I actually felt kind of depressed. I thought “wow, this is the most depressing book in the whole Bible.” But in chapter three you start to see the real point.
“He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.”
I’m not sure if you have heard the saying that everyone has a “God shaped hole in their heart”, but this is where it comes from.
Notice there when it says “He has also set eternity in the human heart.” This means that only eternal things can really make us happy, and essentially, everything else is meaningless and it is going to leave you feeling empty.
We hear a lot of stories of people who seem to have everything committing suicide, perhaps they have fame and fortune. But Solomon is saying that he had everything he wanted and they were all a waste, only an eternal relationship with God could make him happy.
I’ve used this example in a previous post (here) before, but I’m going to use it again:
Imagine taking someone to the Grand Canyon and putting them in a room full of mirrors. There is a beautiful view right outside, but they are missing it because they are stuck in a room looking at themselves.
That is like living this life worrying about yourself, and trying to fulfill all of your desires with worldly things. Break away from the room full of mirrors and see that God is the beautiful experience you’re missing out on.