Ecclesiastes 2:18-20—I hated all my work that I labored at under the sun because I must leave it to the man who comes after me. And who knows whether he will be a wise man or a fool? Yet he will take over all my work that I labored at skillfully under the sun. This too is futile. So I began to give myself over to despair concerning all my work that I had labored at under the sun.
Ecclesiastes is a collection of wisdom writings from King Solomon who called himself the Teacher (1:1). Sometimes wisdom is most profound for what it reveals. I don’t know how old Solomon was when he penned the words above. During the first part of his reign he was a God-fearing leader and was blessed from heaven with incredible wisdom. Later on he let his foreign wives turn his heart away from following God and his entire nation suffered. Which period do you think the words above reflect?
Solomon hated his work because he had no control over what would happen after he died. To label his effort futile is a picture of deep despair and he admits as much. He seems obsessed over his own work. Ten times he references himself in three verses. Instead of thanking God for the opportunity to design and build incredible structures he has a pity party. Rather than concentrate on God’s glory he seems wrapped up in his own legacy.
The fear of God is the beginning (and I would contend middle and continuation) of wisdom. The world’s wisest man until Jesus seemed defeated and rather earthly-minded. Or was he? Five verses later Solomon wrote, “because who can eat and who can enjoy life apart from Him?” In a backhanded manner, Solomon teaches his readers the emptiness of work and the centrality of God.
The Apostle Paul teaches us that all of God’s fullness resided in Jesus (Colossians 1:19,2:9). Paul further challenges us “to know the Messiah’s love that surpasses knowledge, so you may be filled with all the fullness of God” (Ephesians 3:19).
If we base our esteem and worth from our work we are in danger of colossal gloom. The earth will burn. Our monuments and lists of accomplishments will fade with time. But if our fullness is in God—because we are immersed in the Savior’s knowledge-surpassing love—we will always be able to enjoy life. So, who can enjoy life apart from God? According to Solomon in Ecclesiastes the answer is no one. Rather than pursue the wind let’s be filled by the Windmaker . . . something to think about . . . in reveration!
Drink deep and full of the love of God and you will not demand the impossible from earth’s loves; then the love of wife and child, of husband and friend, will grow holier and healthier and simpler and grander.—Oswald Chambers in The Love of God
©2017 Daniel York ARR. Reveration is the weekly devotional ministry of First Cause. If you would like to receive these devotionals go to www.firstcause.org and click on the “Click here to receive weekly devotionals” box. Unlimited permission to copy this devotional without altering text or profiteering is allowed subject to inclusion of this copyright notice.
Ecclesiastes 12:10-The Teacher sought to find delightful sayings and to accurately write words of truth. (Holman CSB)