We quote numerous verses in Ecclesiastes as if they represent God’s opinion of us, or as if they offer God’s insights regarding our purposes:
To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: Ecclesiastes 3:1 (KJV)
Yeah, yeah, I know, “It’s in the Bible!” Well then … it’s got to be right! Right?
Now, if you think I’m denying the truthfulness of what Solomon wrote, you might want to reconsider. For something tells me that I believe its truthfulness more than most who quote it. I say this because I suspect that most who quote verses from this Bible book have very carefully selected the ones they agree with but disagree with some verses they may not even realize sit right next to their favorites. But you already know this don’t you? That’s right, there are people who live by some very different principles than you do, and they validate their beliefs by other verses in the Bible. I say that it all fits together as one seamless truth, and that it must be seen as such! Here is the very core of that truth:
“Futile! Futile!” laments the Teacher, “Absolutely futile! Everything is futile!” Ecclesiastes 1:2 (NET)
What exists now is what will be, and what has been done is what will be done; there is nothing truly new on earth. Ecclesiastes 1:9 (NET)
I suggest that our attempts to stir up some good vibrations from what Solomon wrote will keep our heads spinning in the dimension where everything is absolutely futile. You see, it wasn’t until the very, very end that he revealed the worthlessness of everything he had experienced “under the sun.” All the philosophical viewpoints and beliefs we’ve built from our favorite passages in this book have only served to keep us bound to the vain, the worthless, the futile existence we see in the world around us. Listen to this:
Having heard everything, I have reached this conclusion: Fear God and keep his commandments, because this is the whole duty of man. For God will evaluate every deed, including every secret thing, whether good or evil. Ecclesiastes 12:13-14 (NET)
Now, before you think I’m suggesting that by trying to keep God’s commandments you might somehow be rescued from the futility of this world, just remember that unlike Solomon, you don’t live under the Law. The truth is that the Law couldn’t save him then any more than it cannot save you now. But it did convince him that his very existence was linked to God himself. You see, the phrase “this is the whole duty of man” should actually read “this is the whole of man.” That’s right, the word “duty” has been inserted into many of our translations. Sure, Solomon lived under the Law, but the intent of his statement had more to do with the recognition that man can only find his purpose in God. And something tells me that Solomon would be shaking his head at how God’s people have been living by parts of what he referred to as futility.
Don’t we know that in Christ, we have been rescued from the hopeless futility of the world … especially that which comes from the mind of the religious world? Our citizenship is not found in this present world, it is found in the new creation through Christ which is inside God himself! Why do we view our purpose according to the philosophies of this world. After all, for us, Christ IS our purpose.