29 Sep 2013 – Ecclesiastes 2 – Meaningful Meaninglessness

Published September 22, 2013 by Ray Bell in Next Sunday

In the second chapter of Ecclesiastes, Koheleth, the Preacher looks at three particular aspects of life in his quest for meaning and gain: he ‘tests’ himself with pleasure; considers wisdom; and then reflects upon all his toil. He found that none of these could satisfy, nor could they offer any lasting substance or meaning to life. In fact, they lead him to despair. After all, he concludes, in the end we all die, whether a wise man or a fool. It is all meaningless… under the sun!

This series may already be sounding too miserable to go on with. However, in this chapter we are given a sneak peek out from ‘under the sun’ – any joy in this life is a gift from the hand of God. There must therefore be something more than life ‘under the sun’. We may not gain anything from all our labours and toils under the sun, but we are given all things from the hand of God.

Furthermore, with the help of Paul in Romans 8, we are shown that this meaninglessness under the sun is in fact full of meaning! The creation has been subjected to futility (meaninglessness) in hope – with a purpose and a goal – of freedom and glory! And so, without exhorting us explicitly, the Preacher calls us to lift our eyes beyond that which is ‘meaningless’ and ‘under the sun’ in order that we might call upon the One ‘from whom are all things, and for whom we exist’.

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