Wisdom From Ecclesiastes

Day 1 of 6 • This day’s reading

It’s all about me

Jewish scholars have a tradition that Solomon wrote the Song of Songs as a young man, Proverbs in the middle years, and Ecclesiastes as an old man. Makes sense to me. The voice coming from Ecclesiastes sounds like one who has been wealthy and accomplished, who has known pleasures in abundance, but who lost spiritual focus.

The book of 1 Kings shows that Solomon’s loyalty to the Lord waned in his later years, and the following words express the futility of a worldview that is not organized around God: “I denied myself nothing my eyes desired; I refused my heart no pleasure. My heart took delight in all my labor, and this was the reward for all my toil. Yet when I surveyed all that my hands had done and what I had toiled to achieve, everything was meaningless, a chasing after the wind; nothing was gained under the sun” (Ecclesiastes 2:10,11).

The key words here are “under the sun,” a refrain that echoes through Ecclesiastes. When God is not the center of things, when he is not honored as Creator and Redeemer, when one’s labors are only for personal fulfillment, there is no satisfaction. Pointless. Meaningless. God programmed us to find our greatest joy in worshiping him and serving one another. Not ourselves.

Solomon’s staggering wealth, immense power, palaces, armies, fortresses, and pampered lifestyle left him sad and empty at the end. Do you still think that more money will buy you more happiness?