A young man in Ukraine said to me, "I worry about not having purpose in life." Every person struggles to make sense of life in a broken world. That is exactly what the author of Ecclesiastes is trying to do, make sense of life in a broken world. In Ecclesiastes 1-2 life is put to the test. These chapters begin with a summary statement in 1:1-2, "all is vanity." 1:3-11 follow with a premise which will be tested throughout the rest of these first two chapters. The premise proposed is that life is an endless circle without meaning. In the following verses wisdom, and the pursuit of pleasure are both tested and found to lack the ability to bring meaning to life. Why? Ecclesiastes 2:12-17 tell us that the wise and the fool both face the same end, therefore life is meaningless. If pursuing pleasure and living wisely both end at the grave then what is the point? The first two chapters of this book then conclude that life is hard and we cannot control the future, therefore all is meaningless. If that is where the story ended we would be left with no hope and no joy. Thankfully that is the beginning of the story, not the end. Chapters 1-2 test life by experience. Chapter 3 will test life against theology. In chapters 1-2 life, as it is viewed under the sun apart from God, has no meaning or purpose. Chapter 3 reminds us that contentment is found in understanding that even in a fallen, broken world God never stops being God. Contentment is found in understanding God's sovereign control over all things. He can be trusted.
Father, it is really easy to see the meaningless side of life if we look closely. Would you remind us often of your goodness, your power and your sovereignty when we are struggling to make sense of life?
By His grace,