Read Ecclesiastes 6
6 I have seen another evil under the sun, and it weighs heavily on mankind: 2 God gives some people wealth, possessions and honor, so that they lack nothing their hearts desire, but God does not grant them the ability to enjoy them, and strangers enjoy them instead. This is meaningless, a grievous evil.
3 A man may have a hundred children and live many years; yet no matter how long he lives, if he cannot enjoy his prosperity and does not receive proper burial, I say that a stillborn child is better off than he. 4 It comes without meaning, it departs in darkness, and in darkness its name is shrouded. 5 Though it never saw the sun or knew anything, it has more rest than does that man— 6 even if he lives a thousand years twice over but fails to enjoy his prosperity. Do not all go to the same place?
7 Everyone’s toil is for their mouth,
yet their appetite is never satisfied.
8 What advantage have the wise over fools?
What do the poor gain
by knowing how to conduct themselves before others?
9 Better what the eye sees
than the roving of the appetite.
This too is meaningless,
a chasing after the wind.
10 Whatever exists has already been named,
and what humanity is has been known;
no one can contend
with someone who is stronger.
11 The more the words,
the less the meaning,
and how does that profit anyone?
12 For who knows what is good for a person in life, during the few and meaningless days they pass through like a shadow? Who can tell them what will happen under the sun after they are gone?
We strive and we toil and we pursue, yet King Solomon once again reminds us that this is a striving after the wind. He clearly communicates that this pursuit of wealth, honor, and possessions is just another evil under the sun that will weigh heavily on us, while only a relationship with God can fulfill the desires of our heart. Solomon provided this wisdom around 900 years before Jesus was born, yet the struggle has persisted. We see it affecting the disciples when Jesus reminds them: What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? (Matthew 16:26). And now, over two thousand years later, here we are. Still striving after the wind.
It is interesting to read and study this book at this particular time. In a world of COVID, increasing costs, and hardships around the world, things are feeling unstable and uneasy. Anxiety is on the rise and many of us are realizing in various ways that our “stuff” isn’t quite as valuable as we have thought it to be. Doesn’t it feel as if God is saying something? Look again at verse 2: We might have every possession we want in this world, but God is the One who will grant whether we even enjoy them! As the Creator of all things, perhaps God, as our loving Father, is using the current struggles of the world to remind us to return to what is important—the only thing that can truly fulfill our soul’s desire.
Our time here is fleeting and very little of what we think is important or worth our worried thoughts even matters in the end. When it comes down to it, we already have what we truly need. Let’s pray that we can shift our focus to the One who gave it all to us, trusting His plans and direction and submitting to His will. That may not be easy while we are here under the sun, and God knows that, too. He is just asking us to focus on the promise of eternal glory with Him.
Matthew Henry once said, “The desires of the soul find nothing in the wealth of the world to give satisfaction. Let us return to God, trust in his mercy through Jesus Christ, and submit to his will. Then soon shall we glide through this vexatious world, and find ourselves in that happy place, where there is fullness of joy and pleasures for evermore.” Let us reflect on that truth today!
- What do you strive after harder than anything else?
- If your answer is something other than a deeper relationship with Jesus, spend time today doing something that stirs your soul for Him and make that a daily habit.
- Pray today asking God to make your soul satisfied in Him alone.
Did You Know?
This chapter is the ninth and final time that Solomon uses the phrase “striving after the wind.” Solomon begins and ends the first six chapters of Ecclesiastes teaching us that the things we strive after on earth will never make us happy apart from a relationship with God.
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