Hey there, Relentless Students! It has been a minute since our last Devo. With summer and more face-to-face gatherings, the writings will slow down. But today we continue our trek through the Bible and take a gander at the book of Ecclesiastes.
Ecclesiastes is a book on wisdom from King Solomon like Proverbs, except more to do with continuing thoughts then rhyming verses. Solomon's goal is to bring the reader through his journey of encountering the world for all it's worth. In this book, we see that everything is meaningless. He tried to find meaning in life without God and came up empty-handed. But the experience gave him insight into what can satisfy and what cannot. Through God, we can find meaning in life, through the good and the bad.
In the research of Solomon, we see that to find meaning we must pursue God. Embrace the good and bad as seasons that God can use for His glory. If we do this, then we will find true wisdom. Otherwise, we are just chasing fleeting happiness that will never last. Solomon then walks us through the value of wisdom and beginning our own quest from a young age to help avoid departing from the truth. Then Solomon ends the book with the idea that it is best to follow the commands of God, because at the end that is the standard that we will be juxtaposed to in the judgement.
Ecclesiastes can come off a bit intense. Solomon doesn't hold back, ever. He tells it like it is because he sees the wisdom being shared as to vital to sugar coat it. We see this right from the gate in chapter 1 verse 2 which says,
says the Teacher.
Everything is meaningless.'”
He then returns to this idea after explaining the flow of the worlds and how none of it has meaning in verse 14,
"I have seen all the things that are done under the sun; all of them are meaningless, a chasing after the wind."
It can feel quite depressing to go through the first chapter and walk away feeling like everything is meaningless. Luckily the book goes on for 12 chapters. Solomon will continue to refer to the quest for knowledge as meaningless and everything within the world as meaningless...without God. See what he's trying to get across? Without God, there is no meaning. The Creator is what gives its creation meaning. Creation can't give meaning to creation. So, we seek out God and begin to find meaning yet again.
The word that we translate into "meaningless" is actually "Hevel". This Hebrew word could more accurately be translated "vapor" or "smoke". This distinction doesn't change the overall meaning but gives us a visual for what Solomon is trying to get across. Vapor is nothing we can ever actually touch or grasp. Instead, it is just a cloud that can appear like something more. On top of that, it will inevitably disappear, leaving a void in its place. But when we seek out God, we seek something that in the end is tangible, regardless of how we feel during the good or the bad times.
For more info on the book of Ecclesiastes check out this video: