This week, we continued with the Wisdom series – part II, and looked at the book of Ecclesiastes. Unlike in Proverbs, the book of Ecclesiastes takes us to a wisdom that changes our perception of the world. In Proverbs, we were taught that everything operates on a direct cause-and-effect relationship whereby if one works diligently and behaves good, they will be rewarded. However, if one does not try hard and misconducts, failure and punishment will result. In Ecclesiastes, we discover that there is a slight glitch to our system where sometimes, life does not necessarily go the way we anticipate despite how hard we work and strive.
Three themes are explored in Ecclesiastes:
The first theme – the march of time. In life, there is a timing for everything. Once that time is up, we no longer have the power to bring that time back or change it in any way. We come and then we go, and we are replaced by the next generation.
The second theme – we are all destined for the same ending. Everyone eventually will come of age and pass away. Whether one is an animal or a human, whether we are wise or foolish, and whether we are wealthy or poor, we all face death at one point.
The second theme – life includes chance. There is an aspect to life where things happen by random nature. Whether it is good or bad, we all face these unforeseen events in different stages of our life.
The above three concludes that there is nothing we can control with our own abilities. The teacher in the book of Ecclesiastes tells us that we all strive to find our purpose and meaning in life, however, apart from God, this all is meaningless and that the world can be very confusing. It is the author that concludes and teaches us that we should learn to appreciate the simple things in life, whether it be good or bad, as both are riches and blessings from God. Although we can not control the world, we can control our attitude towards the given circumstance. Instead of chasing the wind, or the “Hevel“, which in Hebrew holds the meaning of smoke, we should grasp onto things that are eternal, the Word of God and live life with integrity and honesty. The author tells us that all our deeds will face judgement, not just the seen but also the hidden ones. As such, we should continue to live and obey God’s commands and words.