Chasing the Wind
The book of Ecclesiastes is one of the wisdom books of the Old Testament. It is a book that brings to us the wisdom of God, and does so in a twofold way: (1) It seeks to make us wise about the life of faith lived out in a fallen world. It seeks to impress upon us that wisdom will look at this world for what it is – a fallen world, a sinful world, a world that God has appointed to futility or frustration (see Rom. 8:20). It is a sin-cursed world, and therefore, we must realize that the life of faith is lived out in the reality of this life ‘under the sun’. In this sin-cursed world we are not yet home. We are not yet in a sphere where sin has been banished and life is all harmony and wholeness and blessedness. We live out the life of faith in a world consigned by God to frustration because of the sin of Adam. Therefore, we should not be surprised when limitedness, frustration, and disappointment cross our paths. God does not exempt his church from living in a broken world. We do not live in a spiritual bubble that cocoons us from the reality of living in a world that brings us to tears and frustration. This is the authentic life of faith.
But alongside that, Solomon also wants (2) to impress upon God’s church, that even though we live ‘under the sun’, the ache in our hearts, which belongs to the very fabric of our existence as people made in the image of God, that very ache, can only be satisfied beyond the sun (God ‘has put eternity into man’s heart’, Eccles. 3:11). Not that we live heedless of this present world, but that we realize that only the One who dwells beyond the sun can evade life under the sun and can give to us a measure of the significance and longing and joy that we are capable of receiving and experiencing. There is a note of unrelenting frustration pulsing through every Christian believer. The reason for that is simple: we are far from home, living in bodies where sin troubles us, and in a world that God has cursed because of the fall.
Ecclesiastes has been described as a commentary on life by a man of faith to people of faith. It does not fit into neat categories, just like life itself. Life is not neat. If there is one phrase that seems to capture the essence of the book of Ecclesiastes it would be Paul’s words in 2 Corinthians 5:7: ‘We live by faith and not by sight.’ Paul is speaking about the temporariness of our existence. We are bound for an eternal home, not made by human hands. Like Abraham, we are traveling to this home, whose builder and maker is God.
Solomon provides us a traveling journal; at least the trails he explored, and he tried them all. In the book’s conclusion, he offers the way of wisdom (12:13-14). Will you take this route? Or will you choose to take lesser roads, roads which lead to shipwrecked lives in a sin-cursed world?
The book of Ecclesiastes can be divided into four sections, punctuated with an interesting refrain, which serves as a key interpretative phrase: ‘There is nothing better for a person than that he should eat and drink and find enjoyment’ (2:24; 5:18; 8:15; with variation in concluding words of 12:9-14). This week we will consider the first passage (1:3-2:26), in which Solomon begins his search for a meaningful life.
Please join us in prayer for the Spirit’s work in our service. We invite you to join with us in worship as we explore ‘Chasing the wind’. Invite someone to come along with you. It is such a joy worshiping the Lord with you; I eagerly anticipate our time together in Christ.
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