Ecclesiastes 1:4 One generation passes away, and another generation comes; But the earth abides forever. (NKJV)
Ecclesiastes is frequently labeled as pessimistic and depressing. Far from it, Solomon, the writer, was simply being brutally honest.
After attempting to find happiness using virtually unlimited resources, he found that life “under the sun” was a waste of time. The phrase “under the sun” is key to understanding the entire book. Solomon was attempting to find meaning in life on a horizontal plane of existence. With his unmatched wisdom, wealth and power, Solomon was uniquely prepared by God to be denied NOTHING in his pursuit of fulfillment.
Solomon was singularly qualified to declare that
life is meaningless “under the sun”.
He observed the stifling monotony of daily life. We live, we die. Another generation lives and dies. All pass away and are quickly forgotten. How many of us can remember the names of our great grandparents, much less the generations before that. If your own great-great grandkids won’t even be aware you ever lived, who else do you think will?
Ecclesiastes 1:3-7 What profit has a man from all his labor In which he toils under the sun?
In other words, things never change. You wake up, you work, you go home. You get a job, then you lose a job. You save up money for the day it’s taken away. You work hard to get ahead only to have it ruined, robbed or devalued in a moments time. It’s the daily monontonous routine that seems to have no end or reward.
Ecclesiastes 1:9 That which has been is what will be, That which is done is what will be done, And there is nothing new under the sun. (NKJV)
Individuals tend to think their discouragement is unique. They feel like the only person who have ever been so tired of life. They wonder if this is all there is. The reality is that this hopelessness has plagued man from the time sin made it’s entrance and corrupted God’s perfect creation.
Wow, this is really depressing, right? No!
This is just honest. There is nothing to be gained by ignoring it. Merely covering it up with human effort to find happiness, or manufacture “positive” attitudes doesn’t change anything. It just keeps us from having to face the inevitable.
No, far from being depressing, it leads us to God. It leads us joyfully to God thankful that life has nothing to offer us that can take His place. God mercifully and miraculously takes our sin-cursed futile existence and supernaturally transforms it into a life of joy, peace and purpose!
The purpose of Ecclesiastes is not to discourage, but to leave us
face to face with the only solution to life’s monotonous futility.
As Christians, Ecclesiastes is an incredibly POSITIVE book that confirms our hope in God. Ecclesiastes gives us the reasons why our horizontal intuition is correct… life IS frustrating, monotonous and hopeless. That is, until God comes to rescue us and miraculously transform futility into hope beyond measure.
Life without God is futile. There’s no way around it. Monotony can be horribly discouraging. Life WITH God dispels the monotony and brings a daily adventure overflowing with a wealth of opportunity to receive God’s blessings! God brings the morning full of anticipation of what the Wondrous Creator has planned for every glorious day! There’s no futility or monotony in the arms of our loving Heavenly Father!
Lord God, thank you for transforming our life into joyful anticipation, filled with the endless variety of Your blessing. Help us to be grateful that You bring hope and meaning to what could have been a futile existence, Amen.
Contemplation: Do you feel your life is boring and monotonous? Is happiness always one dollar, one achievement, one girlfriend… one something from being obtained? Are you fatigued with the endless cycle of daily life?
Application: Monotony is repetition and routine without hope or reason. That same routine can be a source of security and comfort if God is present. The Lord takes monotony and turns it into security and opportunity.