All of life is a rich gift from God—both the good and the hard things. So why do we struggle to find contentment? Why do we persistently seek that which we know will leave us empty? Materialism, pleasure, status, relationships. Pursuing them is like chasing the wind. The author of Ecclesiastes invites us to reflect on the ambiguity and fleeting nature of life. We are all seeking meaning, and the answer is both simple and complex—to fear God and enjoy what he has given us in its season. Living a small life is not easy, but we can rest with hope in the sovereignty and justice of a God who will one day make all things right.
The author of Ecclesiastes begins by introducing the writings of the Teacher, most likely Solomon. Solomon has all the time and resources in the world, and he sets forth to “search for understanding and explore by wisdom.” While his findings are dark, we are called to embrace the tension and look with hope to a sovereign God and a loving Savior.
Solomon is conducting an experiment wherein he uses all the resources and time at his disposal to see if he can find meaning in pleasure or accomplishment. We’re also trying to infuse meaning and substance into our lives, and we can learn from his experience that everything apart from God will leave us empty and without hope.
Once again, Solomon brings us face-to-face with the brokenness and injustice inherent in the world. Even wisdom cannot insulate us from suffering and pain. However, we can find joy in living a small life and humbly enjoying the good things God has given us.
In this beautiful passage, Solomon captures the dual nature of our world. Because of the fall, we live in the wake of God’s judgment, and there is suffering. However, we also get to enjoy good gifts from our Father. And ultimately, we have hope in Christ for an eternal reality with God that is far beyond anything we could ever imagine.
Solomon continues his journey of despair, grieving the injustice of the world and the brevity of life. No amount of time, money, or effort can mitigate death or make right the corruption all around us. Thankfully, because of the cross, we can look to Jesus for life, hope, and redemption.
In this passage, Solomon addresses the emptiness of envy, our need for companionship, and the reality that status is unstable. While we are naturally bent to pursue things like power, money, and success, nothing will fulfill the longing of our souls. The only true joy can be found in a life hidden in Christ.
As Solomon unpacks what it means to fear God, he emphasizes God’s power and magnitude. Our understanding of who God is and what he has done should drive whole-hearted worship that is born from a posture of humility. Solomon also warns his audience against accumulating wealth—it will leave us empty and always seeking more.
This passage is full of practical wisdom that can give us a better understanding and experience of life. However, Solomon is clear that even this wisdom falls short. The world is broken, and we are all fallen. Thankfully, we can have hope in Jesus, who through his death and resurrection has made a way out of this world if we have faith in him.
In this passage, Solomon explores the beauty and limitations of wisdom, how we should spend our time on this earth, and what must be endured due to the curse of sin. Ultimately, God calls us to live as his creatures—taking responsibility for what he has entrusted to us, enjoying the good things he has given us, and trusting him with what we cannot control.
Continuing his warnings about the emptiness of placing our hope in the things of this world, Solomon expounds on the reality of death for everyone, regardless of how we live our lives or how wise we are. While the truths he reveals are depressing—the teacher encourages us to release the fragile branches we cling to that cannot hold the weight of our souls and grasp onto the solid hope of another world.
In this passage, Solomon offers wisdom around the ideas of avoiding foolishness, developing resilience, and leading others well. However, no amount of wisdom can solve the brokenness of this world, and ultimately, we must place our hope in the future world Christ has in store for us.
Wisdom is helpful in many ways—we learn to take strategic risks, diversify our work, and understand the world around us. However, Jesus is the only true wisdom. The gospel offers a hope that human wisdom does not, for it has the power to remove our sin, overcome death, and unite us with God.
At the end of Ecclesiastes, both Solomon and the author bring us back to the foundational truths of this book. There is a God, and we are not him. If we fear God and keep his commandments, we are free to live in the moment, releasing all our anxieties to him and enjoying the good things he has given us on this earth.
These daily readings will help prepare you for the upcoming teaching you will hear this weekend at Grace Church. These passages will create some context for the sermon by showing you Scriptures the teacher might be quoting and some passages that contain related ideas. Our hope is that as you follow this reading plan, it will help you become more defined and directed by Scripture.
WEEK 1: Futility of Life
WEEK 2: Futility of Pleasure
WEEK 3: Only This Moment
WEEK 4: Beauty in Season
WEEK 5: Injustice
WEEK 6: Envy, Companionship, and Futility of Power
WEEK 7: Approaching God and the Futility of Wealth
So I set out to learn everything from wisdom to madness and folly. But I learned firsthand that pursuing all this is like chasing the wind.