GRACE AND PEACE TO YOU FROM GOD OUR HEAVENLY FATHER AND THE LORD JESUS CHRIST. PRAISE BE TO THE GOD AND FATHER OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST, WHO HAS BLESSED US IN THE HEAVENLY REALMS WITH EVERY SPIRITUAL BLESSING IN CHRIST, … TO THE PRAISE OF HIS GLORY. AMEN. (Ephesians 1: 2-3, 14b)
ECCLESIASTES, CHAPTERS 1 and 2.
… IS THERE ANYTHING OF WHICH ONE CAN SAY, “LOOK! THIS IS SOMETHING NEW”? IT WAS HERE ALREADY, LONG AGO; IT WAS HERE BEFORE OUR TIME. THERE IS NO REMEMBRANCE OF MEN OF OLD, AND EVEN THOSE WHO ARE YET TO COME WILL NOT BE REMEMBERED BY THOSE WHO FOLLOW. (Ecclesiastes 1: 10-11)
…TO THE MAN WHO PLEASES HIM, GOD GIVES WISDOM, KNOWLEDGE AND HAPPINESS, BUT TO THE SINNER HE GIVES THE TASK OF GATHERING AND STORING UP WEALTH TO HAND IT OVER TO THE ONE WHO PLEASES GOD. THIS TOO IS MEANINGLESS, A CHASING AFTER THE WIND.
(Ecclesiastes 2: 26)
In the first two chapters of the Book of Ecclesiastes the Teacher – Solomon – searches for the meaning in life. As you MEDITATE on it today, please keep in your mind Jesus’ well-known parable about the wise and foolish builder from the end of the Sermon on the Mount.
We all search for something new and exciting. The monotony of waking up, perhaps going to work or trying to be busy in retirement, walking the dog, making food, doing laundry, cleaning up the house and going to bed – just to wake up and repeat this cycle again and again, can feel overwhelmingly hard, meaningless and boring. Sometimes it feels like we eat to work and work to eat. We chase after education, money, fame, relationships, and end up still on the road to emptiness. Ecclesiastes 1:3 says: – What does man gain from all his labour at which he toils under the sun? Then Solomon seeks to answer his own question. In verse 4, he contrasts the earth with the generations of mankind that come and go. While new babies are being born, the old people pass away, and the cycle continues. From the beginning the earth, sun, wind and water have been moving in constant repetition, without getting anywhere. The seasons come and go, the sun comes up and goes down, year in and year out in constant repetition. Do you ever feel like your life is in a constant repetition?
Do you remember your great grandparents? How about your great, great, great grandparents? As generations come and go, we forget who came before us. God will use each of us in our sphere of influence for His glory. There is no lasting glory for man; we must not be deceived into chasing after it. Thankfully, our faith in God changes everything. There is something “new” under the sun because God is ruling over the sun. Jesus Christ, the Son of God, offers us a New Covenant in His Blood at the cross (Luke 22: 20). Those who believe in Him become new creations in Christ Jesus (2 Corinthians 5: 17). How important it is to learn to pray with the Psalmist: – Teach us (Lord) to number our days aright, that we may gain a hear of wisdom… Satisfy us in the morning with your unfailing love, that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days. (Psalm 90: 12, 14)
We are always seeking to feel good. Sometimes that means we look for it in relationships, other times in food or drink, clothes, projects, houses, cars, entertainment and laughter. In Ecclesiastes 2, Solomon begins with himself as he searches for meaning. Over and over in this passage he says “I”, “my”, “me”, or “myself”. He didn’t look for an older mentor, or to his father David or even to God for the answers. He decided to figure it out on his own. Solomon mentions that he explored folly. We all know of fools who seem to be much happier than those who are prudent. Solomon attempted also to build heaven on earth. Have you ever looked at someone else’s home or abundance of possessions and being jealous of them? Don’t be. As many famously rich people have committed suicide, it is clear, that these things do not lead to peace and happiness. Jesus warns: –Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; a man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions (Luke 12: 15).
Solomon is at another dead end. He hates life. Now, before we all fall into a deep pit of depression caused by Coronavirus with its threats and unpredictable outcomes, let us remember that Solomon is assessing his life with God. It is the unsaved sinner who has to toil and reach nervous breakdown because of uncontrollable events around him. A believer should always be certain that God, who is in control of everything He had created, will never let us be tested beyond what we can bear. Believing in Him, we earn the capacity of being truly wise in our dealings with the problems of life. That rock-solid foundation in Christ gives us the security when the streams of disaster rose and beat against that house; yet it did not fall (Matthew 7: 25). The Book of Ecclesiastes highlights the need we all have for something beyond anything this physical life can offer, something found in God alone. In Jesus, we can clearly see that perfect wisdom of God, revealed through Jesus’ redeeming death the on the cross. (1 Corinthians 1: 18 – 2: 16). It is the Gospel that sheds light on the meaning of life and the hope of eternity with God, where sin and its often painful effects will no longer be part of our experience.
Worrying about what others remember of us, is a trap. Selfies abound on the Internet; many are hoping that people will give them attention and they find their significance in being seen. Death is certain and universal. No matter how wise or foolish, how wealthy, or hardworking, statistics show one out of one – dies. We honour our dead with tombstones made of marble and granite in hopes that their names do not wear off in the sunshine and rain or frost. We do not want to be forgotten. But within a generation or two the reality is, most of us will be forgotten. Even in Egypt where huge pyramids were built as tombs to remember their Pharaohs, very few of us can name any of those Pharaohs. To the man who pleases Him, God gives wisdom, knowledge and happiness, but to the sinner He gives the task of gathering and storing up wealth to hand it over to the one who pleases God. This too is meaningless, a chasing after the wind (Ecclesiastes 2: 26).
People have often searched for the meaning of life. From philosophers to the common man they have asked questions like: “Why am I here?” or “What is the purpose of my life?” The Teacher of the Book of Ecclesiastes, with his personal experiences and God-given wisdom, has demonstrated that, yes, life from an earthly perspective, as “life under the sun” is meaningless, but “above this life” God offers us far more than we ever can imagine: – For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life (John 3: 16).
-Wisdom, to know God, as Creator of everything,
– Intelligence, to understand God better,
– Perception, to grasp His will and love,
– Discernment, to follow Him more faithfully,
– Stillness, for a deeper sense of God’s presence,
– Help, for all in any kind of trouble and need,
– Healing, to the sick and mentally disturbed,
– Comfort, to those who are dying or who mourn,
– Success, in defeating Covid-19 Pandemic,
– Awareness, of what we can do and what we can’t,
– Faith, Hope and Love, to guide all human lives,
– Glory, to God the Creator, Saviour and Holy One.
In quietness and confidence offer your personal prayers to God, and don’t forget THE LORD’S PRAYER: OUR FATHER, who art in heaven…
COME, LET US TO THE LORD OUR GOD With contrite hearts return; Our God is gracious, nor will leave the desolate to mourn.
His voice commands the tempest forth, and stills the stormy wave; and though his arm be strong to smite, ‘tis also strong to save.
Long hath the night of sorrow reigned, the dawn shall bring us light: God shall appear, and we shall rise with gladness in His sight.
Our hearts, if God we seek to know, shall know Him, and rejoice; His coming like the morn shall be, like morning songs His voice.
As dew upon the tender herb, diffusing fragrance round; as showers that usher in the spring, and cheer the thirsty ground:
So shall His presence bless our souls, and shed a joyful light; that hallowed morn shall chase away the sorrows of the night.
(Scottish Paraphrases, 1781, from Hosea 6: 1-4)
MAY THE GRACE OF THE LORD JESUS CHRIST, AND THE LOVE OF GOD, AND THE FELLOWSHIP OF THE HOLY SPIRIT BE WITH YOU ALL. (2 Corinthians 13: 14)