Well, after having dipped into the story of Moses, Job and the Psalms, there is another book in the Old Testament that is difficult to get your head around, and understand what the writer is saying to us: the book of Ecclesiastes. It appears to have a somewhat negative message, but at the same time, has been included in the Bible, so we must see why.
It is interesting in that it starts where most people are in their questioning about life. Who am I? Where did I come from? What difference is my life going to make in this world? Does it matter anyway? If I die, the world will just go on without me. Doesn’t that sound a bit like the opening lines of our book: Ecclesiastes 1:1-11. The strangest thing is that the words are uttered by the wisest, richest, most powerful person of his day!
He uses the word “meaningless” thirty five times, reflecting a sense of a lack of purpose in his life. When Rick Warren wrote a book called “The Purpose Driven Life” in 2002, he was astounded at the interest in secular circles, and the book remained on best seller lists in the U.S. for 90 weeks, and to date has sold over 50 million copies in 85 languages. This seems to reflect a generalised lack of purpose in many lives and a search for answers. There is a feeling that troubles fair-minded people today. The rich get richer, and the poor get poorer. Evil people prosper and good people suffer. Tyrants and dictators seize power. Disasters happen, disease spreads, everyone dies and turns to dust. Life is unfair, and nothing makes sense. Surprisingly, the Teacher concludes (and this in the Bible) “Forget prudence. Eat, drink and seize any fleeting happiness you can. What else is the point of living? You work hard, and others get the rewards. You try to do good, and you are branded as weak. If you do put aside some money, it goes to spoiled heirs. And in the end, good or bad, we all die.”
Well I’m sure that has cheered you up! But don’t write your letter of resignation from the church, because we haven’t finished yet. More tomorrow…
Lord, what do you want to teach me in all of this? Let’s pray for those who seem to face the greatest challenges among us. Also from our church prayer list, pray for:
Colin & Penny
Martin & Lucie