Living Life on Purpose.

We continue to build an overview of the book of Ecclesiastes before diving into the detail of this book of wisdom.

Life can be difficult and hard to understand. In the midst of complexity, Scripture teaches that the fear of God of the beginning of wisdom. 1 Peter 5:6-7 gives a New Testament summary of Ecclesiastes. Proverbs 3:5-6 provides an orientation for life that is important to understand before getting into the details of everyday dilemmas.

There are 3 approaches to understanding the book of Ecclesiastes.

  1. Unsaved readers see little more than a man following his desires. They interpret the message as "Whatever will be, will be."
  2. Truth seekers looking for purpose will still be confused when merely applying human understanding.
  3. Only people who orient their search for meaning and satisfaction toward fearing God will be able to understand the true meaning of the book.

Ecclesiastes can be divided into 4 major sections:

  • Though humanity seeks pleasure and happiness in a myriad of ways, we are powerless to produce complete happiness (1:2 to 2:26).
  • God has a definite and detailed plan for your life. This plan is divinely beautiful even though we may not understand it completely (3:1 to 5:20).
  • Prosperity may not be good, and adversity is not always bad. Understanding this will remove any idea in your mind that God is not fair (6:1 to 8:15).
  • Regardless of our activity or joy, we are to fear God (8:16 to 12:14).

Each section ends with similar wording. Read and compare Ecclesiastes 2:24, 5:18, 8:15, and 12:13-14. Essentially, the exhortation for us is to keep living life. Keep persevering. Live life wisely, because when it ends, we will be judged by God. The only way to live with joy is with God's wisdom.

Next week, we will see what this book says about who God is and what He does. He is the powerful Creator of all, our wise Sovereign, your perfect Judge, and my supreme Reality.

Application Points

  • God's plan will always be beyond our complete understanding. When life gets confusing, we are naturally tempted to be discouraged. It is unnatural for a believer to stay in that discouragement indefinitely; instead, we trust in the Lord.