Saturday, 23 April 2022
“Nothing is better for a man than that he should eat and drink, and that his soul should enjoy good in his labor. This also, I saw, was from the hand of God.” - Eccl.2:24
The book of Ecclesiastes, like all other Scripture, benefits and edifies God’s people, although it is often one of the misunderstood books in the Bible, as Christians either ignore its messages or consider it as a testimony of a man living without God.
Eat and drink…..enjoy good in his labor: Here is a central affirmation of Ecclesiastes in the midst of a world of trouble whereby a Christian is able to embrace life in joy, from God. Genuine meaning, satisfaction and enjoyment in life are ultimately elusive without God! Solomon also warns us that if we insist on pursuing selfish goals, then disappointment is inevitable and ruin will be our well-wisher. For because of man’s mortality there can be no endurance. Our goals and aspirations could die with us. It will all be like chasing after the wind!
Solomon is asking himself and us this simple, but profound question. Is there nothing more to life than to work? And that once you have toiled under the sun, you must then pass on the fruits of your labor to someone else- someone who may never appreciate what sacrifices you had made. Solomon sees this kind of thinking as not only vanity, but a great misfortune (V.21). We are not granted any guarantees as to the person who will come after us.
It’s quite possible that Solomon may have been expressing doubts concerning his own son, Rehoboam, who would succeed him as king of Israel. History would later prove that Rehoboam was not up to the task. The so-called “Golden Age” of Israel came to an end with the death of Solomon, the kingdom was divided and much bloodshed followed. His son was foolish- failed to learn from his father’s mistakes or apply his father’s wisdom in ruling the people of Israel.
Solomon tells us that we are to view our work as being a gift from God and that whatever happens after us is none of our concern. It is God alone who controls all things. Consequently, the outcome is ultimately not our concern at all. It is better by far to leave things in God’s care and keeping, for He alone views things from His Kingdom perspective. “For without God, who can eat or find enjoyment?” Solomon tells us that only those who please God are able to enjoy the fullness of life.
As believers, our daily lives receive meaning, because Christ Jesus reconciled us with God. Because Jesus has done this, He restores and renews our hearts through His Word. Ultimately, He will restore our bodies as well, when He creates the new earth and a new heaven. Then nothing we do will ever be meaningless, because there won’t be any more sin or death or even consequences of sin. Until then Solomon’s approach to life is not to worry, but be happy as conveyed through verses 24-25. We have so much to be thankful to God and there are so many who are living meaningless lives without Christ Jesus. Remember it’s He who gives every success and blessing.
Prayer: “Almighty God, help us to be happy and joyful to live this life and give us the understanding that it is the gift from You.”