In twelve chapters King Solomon covers all the things that people allow to become idols. From pleasure to work, King David’s son tried everything under the sun only to find it was all “Meaningless.”
Solomon was the second child of King David and Bathsheba. When he was permitted to take the throne God told him he could ask for anything. The young king asked for wisdom. It was granted to him. His reign was known as Israel’s golden age.
But the saying “Ignorance is bliss,” has some truth to it. It’s common for someone who has access to large amounts of knowledge to lose their faith. To turn their focus inward to their personal growth. With multiple wives and many of them foreign pagans, Solomon began to lose his faith in the God of his father.
Anyone who suffers the pain of watching their life fall apart can most likely find the cause in the Book of Ecclesiastes. The lessons are timeless and it startles many with how relevant the themes are today. But the truth of King Solomon’s words very seldom strike a chord until a life lies in shambles. No one wants to turn their eyes from God, but the slope is steep and minor decisions to ignore God’s teachings lead to full-out rebellion.
Solomon begins his manic depressant rant lamenting his wisdom, referring to it as “Meaninglessness.”
He says, “For with much wisdom comes much sorrow; the more knowledge the more grief .” (Ecclesiastes 1:18)
Chapter two begins with the quest for pleasure being like chasing the wind. The more one drinks, indulges, and seeks out pleasure, the more empty it becomes. Solomon says the work of his hands meant nothing to him. He would still die as a fool does.
Chapter three sports one of the most well-known verses in rock and roll history. “To everything there is a season…”
“and a season for every activity under heaven: a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant, and a time to uproot, a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build…” (Ecclesiastes 3:1-3)
All things are appropriate in their time. Death is inevitable, harvest always comes, and the healer is just as important as the soldier. Solomon continues that it is good for a man to enjoy his work, but he will never see the fruits. Again Meaningless. He goes on to say that work is pointless without a friend to help when one falls. Chapter five warns of speaking in ignorance.
“Do not be quick with your mouth, do not be hasty in your heart to utter anything before God.” (Ecclesiastes 5:2)
When in the presence of God, silence is golden. This last statement is true in all aspects of life. Think before speaking, honor hierarchy, and humble yourself when dealing with others.
Chapter six bemoans the accomplishments of a man who gains endless wealth and legacy, because he will never see the fruits of his work. If one primarily worries about his reputation, bank account, and the effects of his family’s actions on his reputation, he will never have peace. Chapter seven states wisdom does not equal righteousness. Chapter eight questions why the wicked live long lives and the righteous die young. It makes no sense to him. He also resented the fact that bad things happen to good people and the wicked prosper.
Chapter nine states that the righteous and the wicked are the same. “No man knows when his hour will come.” (Ecclesiastes 9:12)
Chapter ten reveals that status has nothing to do with righteousness. Solomon says,
“Fools are put in many high positions, while the rich occupy the low ones, I have seen slaves on horseback, while princes go on foot like slaves.” (Ecclesiastes 10:6-7)
Status means nothing if a fool possesses it.
Chapter eleven warns not to try to understand God’s ways, some things are unexplainable. Solomon tells the young to enjoy their youth. Youth is meaningless, and often wasted.
Chapter twelve gives the total meaning of Solomon’s search. Honor God. Above all things, turn to God, then the world has meaning. One knows their place when they honor God, their eyes are opened to the bigger picture. The young need to understand this.
“Now all has been heard; here is the conclusion of the matter: fear God and keep his commandments for this is the whole duty of man. For God will bring every deed into judgment, including every hidden thing, whether it is good or evil.” (Ecclesiastes 12:13-14)
So to recap, the lessons found in Ecclesiastes:
- Knowledge comes with a price.
- Everyone dies.
- Friendship makes toil worth the effort.
- Respect God.
- Think before speaking.
- Wealth and reputation can not be taken (carried) into the kingdom.
- Wisdom does not equal righteousness, in fact wise fools are more dangerous.
- Bad things happen to good people.
- No one knows their time.
- A fool is a fool no matter what his station in this life.
- Respect God
- Honor and Respect God.
How Helium worked:
For Helium novices, Helium was segmented into “Hubs.” Members could suggest article titles within a Hub. This particular piece was a suggestion under the Spiritual Hub. Multiple writers could write an article about the topic. Then the other members would read and rate the articles on the same subject side by side. The best articles rose to the top (hence the site name, Helium.com.)
Now, about this piece:
At the time I wrote this article I was experiencing a spiritually awakening. I am a believer in Christ and I do think the Bible is God’s word. I grew up the daughter of a preacher’s kid, so the Bible was a constant subject.
I had just gone through a divorce and my faith became the only way of life that made sense to me. The Book of Ecclesiastes is the ultimate chronicle of regret. I felt I could relate to the subject manner at that time in my life. You can imagine my surprise when I realized that there truly is nothing new under the sun.
If you are at low point in your life right now, maybe the lessons from this reading will help you find peace of mind.
Are there any writings, movies, or music that helped you make sense of a dark time? I’d love to hear about it.