The book of Ecclesiastes is one of my personal favorite books in the Bible. I can remember reading it for the first time and relating to the constant cry of “vanity” in seeking out the things in life apart from God. This book addresses Ecclesiastes on the perplexing matters of life-why does everything feel meaningless? Is God in control of the seasons and times? What’s the point of one’s toil and pursuit of wisdom if you’re ultimately going to die? Philip Ryken makes a sobering point in which Ecclesiastes shows we will not have all of the answers in this lifetime:
“Ecclesiastes is not the kind of book that we keep reading until we reach the end and get the answer, like a mystery. Instead, it is a book in which we keep struggling with the problems of life and, as we struggle, we learn to trust God with the questions even when we do not have all the answers. This is how the whole Christian life works: it is not just about what we get at the end, but also about the people we become along the way. Discipleship is a journey, not just a destination.”
It is a journey indeed that ultimately finds it’s end in God. Furthermore, don’t expect a running commentary in reading this book because it is not intended to be one. It addresses how Christ plays into the prominent themes such as seeking wisdom, pleasure, enjoyment in one’s toil, justice for the oppressed, and suffering in this lifetime. Thus allowing one to read Ecclesiastes from a Gospel centered perspective. In the reading of this book, I found myself loving Ecclesiastes that much more as it reflects the restless inquiry of humanity that only be found in Christ who “satiates the soul”, otherwise it will always be a “striving after wind”. In Christ, one no longer just lives “under the sun” but under the Son. And Ryken does a great job in putting that on display in this book.
So do yourself a favor, quit chasing wind and read this book. You don’t want to miss this!
“This book helps us ask the biggest and hardest questions that people still have today—questions that lie at the heart of life in a fallen world: What is the meaning of life? Why is there so much suffering and injustice? Does God even care? Is life really worth living?”
“How is that for a philosophy of history—humanity on a hamster wheel?” (referring to the seemingly endless cycle of everyday life)
“To see things ‘under the sun’ is to look at them from the ground level, taking an earthly point of view and leaving God out of the picture.”
“Remember this whenever you get frustrated, sad, angry or disappointed with everything in life that is getting broken, falling apart, and going wrong. Remember this when you feel overwhelmed and are tempted to wonder why you should even bother—with your work, with a relationship, with your faith. You were made for a new and better world. The very fact that you are weary of this life is pointing you to Jesus as the only One who can satisfy your soul.”