– DUKE JEYARAJ
The writer of this book “tries” different things in his search for meaning in life (Eccl 2:1 NLT). First he tries “laughter”. Shall we make that “wit”?
2. WINE will not give meaning and purpose in life!
The search for meaning in Ecclesiastes continues. He tried to “cheer” himself with wine (Eccl 2:3). Again, he was disappointed. Wine can make you forget life for a while. But it can never bring it meaning and purpose!
Wine can make you forget life for a while. But it can never bring its meaning or purpose
Fourteen- year old Aarushi Talwar was found murdered on May 16, 2008 in the room of her home in Noida, near New Delhi, India. Her throat was slit. Her face had stab wounds. How could someone get so cruel to commit a murder so cold and clinical as this? The answer is given by the investigation team – the murderer was influenced by alcohol.
Paul Gascoigne’s addiction to alcohol led him to mental depression
The writer of Ecclesiastes next talks about how he got busy with work in his search for life’s purpose (Eccl 2:4-6). He made houses, vineyards, gardens, parks, forests and pools yet that did not make his life, sensible or purposeful. Ahithophel made a career out of counseling kings. He was the counselor of King David, the great King of Israel (II Sam 15:12). When David’s handsome son, Absalom rebelled against him and occupied the throne, Ahithophel joined his team. He gave key counsels to Absalom too. In fact, his counsel was seen as the very counsel of God, the Bible records (II Sam 16:23). But when Absalom listened to the counsel of Hushai instead of his counsel, Ahithopel could not take it and he instead took his own life (II Sam 17:23). In II Samuel 16:23, he was at the peak of his profession. In II Samuel 17:23, he was in the pit of depression because of a professional failure, so much so, he ended his life!
On a heart-stopping August Day in 1998, in his 5,000-square-foot, 20-room tract mansion in Herndon, the United States, he gathered his family in the master bedroom — his wife, Kalpara; their daughter, Reha, 11; and their son, Raj, 7 — and ended their lives and his with a 9mm Ruger rifle. Because of an obvious failure in his profession he behaved in this bizarre manner: he had had run up to $10 million in debts, some to casinos, and was under investigation for passing $2 million in worthless checks, the same website reported. Natrajan Ramachandran also killed himself.
The search for life’s meaning continues in Ecclesiastes 2. We read how this writer “bought” slaves, herds and flocks like no one else in all of Israel (Ecc 2:7, 8). Who is this writer? In the first verse verse of this book, he introduces himself as the son of David, king in Jerusalem. Bible Scholars tell us he was King Solomon. He was richest ever king to rule Israel. The weight of the gold that he possessed in a single year was 666 talent (I Ki 10:14). One talent weighed 34 kgs, mind you! He had 200 large gold shields. His drinking vessels were made out of gold. He sat in an ivory throne (I Ki 10:14-22). Here was a king who had seen wealth like no other king. Yet, this is his startling confession: wealth could not give him meaning and purpose in life.
If we were to resurrect Judas Iscariot, the man who betrayed Jesus for thirty pieces of silver coins and ask him, “Judas, will money give meaning to life?” he would vigorously shake his head to say ‘no’. “If money made my life, why would I have ended my life after I made money? Purpose in life is found in the One I betrayed to make money – the One who told us, One’s life does not consist in the abundance of His possessions! (Luke 12:15)”
5. WOMEN do not give meaning and purpose to life!
Scroll down to Ecclesiastes 2 and you will bump into yet another thing King Solomon tried out to get meaning and purpose in life: women. He had female slaves, female singers and female sex-partners (called concubines) in plenty (Eccl 2:7,8). Yet these women could not bring fulfillment to his life.
Women do not give meaning and purpose to life.
Solomon keeps travelling in his search for meaning and fulfillment in life. At each stop he met nothing but disappointment. His next stop in this seemingly insatiable journey is what I want to call as the stop of “Wows!” Solomon, in other words, wanted to find life’s meaning through the route of appreciation from people for his commendable achievements. He says, “So I became great and surpassed all who were before me in Jerusalem” (Eccl 2:9). In the “Wows!’ people would shower him with, he tried to find life’s purpose.
A ‘wow’ performance could not give Michael Schumacher his life’s purpose
What about you? You thought “Once I have a Beyonce Knowles figure and once I hear a ‘Wow’from my male admirers, my life is made!” You do have Beyonce Knowles’s figure now. You have heard that ‘Wow!’ you were waiting for. But, guess what? Your life is still far from being made. You still are searching for meaning in life.
7. THE WHOLE WORLD cannot give meaning and purpose in your life!
After his great disappointment of trying out the first six Ws – wit, wisdom, wine, work, wealth, women and ‘wows’ – Solomon makes a summary statement. And whatever my eyes desired I did not keep from them. I kept my heart from no pleasure (Eccl 2:10). Notice the word “whatever” here. And that word is an all-sweeping, all-encompassing word he used to imply that he tried everything “under the sun” (a frequently appearing word in this Bible book) to find meaning and purpose in life. Whatever his eyes set sights on, whatever his heart felt could give meaning and purpose to life, and he tried that out. What was the end result: the same.
Jesus said, “What good is it if someone gains the whole world but loses his soul?”
The whole world and all of its pleasures cannot give one’s life meaning. That is the message of this Bible book. The gambling which Las Vegas can offer, the girls which Paris can parade, the gold which Johannesburg can brag about cannot give your life meaning and purpose! The porn site about which your pals say, “You have not lived, until you have seen it, bloke!” cannot give your life meaning. Solomon kept nothing from his eyes (To put that in modern terms, “There was no porn site which Solomon did not surf…”). Yet, fulfillment of life was kept from him!
Solomon openly confessed “everything is meaningless” at least six times in his book (Eccl 1:2,14; 2:17; 3:19; 11:8; 12:8). The seven routes he took to get meaning and purpose in life led to only disillusionment and disappointment.
Hell?! In the Bible, God’s Words in Human words, no one spoke about this place more than the person who actually came to save us all from going there. His name is Jesus! Jesus compared hell to “a lake of fire” in which worms will forever feast on the eternally alive human body. He preached that He, God in Human Flesh, came to this world to give each one of us, life, and “life to the full” (John 10:10). Without a living relationship with Jesus, our life will never be fulfilled. Without a daily relationship with Jesus, our life will be a living hell, even as we head to the literal hell. This is the message of John 3:36 – a verse in the Bible. When we come to Jesus who claimed to be “The Bread of Life”, we will no longer be hungry – our hunger to find life’s meaning can be only quenched by Jesus (John 6:35)!
This message is what even the guy we were talking about, King Solomon, all along was getting at. After having observed the whole world and what it had to offer, Solomon makes a very important statement. It is this: “God, for apart from him who can eat or who can have enjoyment? (Eccl 2:24-25). While he openly confessed “everything is meaningless” at least six times in his book, Solomon, offers some hope in some sections of his book (Eccl 1:2,14; 2:17; 3:19; 11:8; 12:8). His message is simple: the person who made life can make it meaningful! His message is direct: life ‘under the sun’ (a phrase he uses in his book 20 times) will be meaningless, until we have a living relationship with the one above the Sun – with God!
Remember also your Creator in the days of your youth- (Eccl 12:1)
So why are you waiting? Would you bow your head, right now, and ask the resurrected and returning Jesus to come into your repentant heart, to begin your eternity-long relationship with Him – a relationship that will fill every second of your life with purpose and meaning and fulfillment? Don’t delay this decision!
As Solomon pointed out, let us do this in “the days of our youth”! As Solomon penned, let us do this before the door to life’s opportunities is closed (Eccl 12:4, NLT). As Solomon scripted, let us do it, before you near the grave, before the silver cord of life snaps – which technically is ‘any time’ in this world full of heart-stopping terror (Eccl 12:5,6 NLT)!