Ecclesiastes 7-12: Pursuit

You know when Solomon writes, on multiple occasions, “it is chasing after the wind”, I think it shows that Solomon understood the nature of frustration. That phrase is illustrative and talks about the futility of some of our earthly pursuits. You work at it, and work at it, and work at it, but not matter how hard or long you keep at it, you will never succeed. You can’t catch the wind.

So much of what we do in life is exactly like that though. Take, for instance, the statement from the Declaration of Independence that proclaims that all men have the right to the pursuit of happiness. I have no problem with the idea or the attaining of happiness (and neither does God, just to be clear). The problem is with the pursuit part. When does the pursuing end and the happiness begin?

Solomon writes: “Better what the eyes see than wandering desire.” Granted, he writes that in chapter 6, but it is the perfect lead in for the rest of the book, which talks about finding contentment in life. Better to have what you see, what is around you, already yours, than to have a desire that is constantly looking for the next thing. So much of what we have we are not happy with. That is why the divorce rate is around 50% and technology is outdated before you get it out of the box at home. We demand better than what we have. Unfortunately, it means that we have no understanding of just how good we have it now.

Waylon Prendergast, 37, of Tampa, Florida, committed a spur-of-the-moment robbery while on his way home from a late-night drinking session. A very inebriated Mr. Prendergast forced his way into the house through an open upstairs window, filling a suitcase with cash and valuables before setting the living room on fire to cover his tracks. He then escaped through the back door and made his way home, chuckling all the way. Only as he turned the corner into his own street, however, and discovered three fire engines outside his house, did he realize that in his drunkenness he had, in fact, burgled and ignited his own property. His comment: “I had no idea I had so many valuable possessions.”

We really should listen to what Solomon concludes in Ecclesiastes.  This is the wisest of the wise; the man who had more wealth at his disposal than any other nation; the man who had 1000 women at his beck and call (that to me proves his foolishness if you ask me), the man who pursued everything that there was to pursue.  This is what he concludes: “fear God, and keep his commands, because this is for all humanity. For God will bring every act to judgement, including every hidden thing, whether good or evil.”

So forget the pursuit part of what the Declaration of Independence has to say. Just be happy. Fear God, love your family, be content with what you have been blessed with and stop striving for more. Solomon, more than anyone else in history, shows us just how useless “more” is.

Happy reading

  • What was familiar from this passage of scripture?  What was something I already knew?
  • What was new from this piece of scripture? What was something that really stood out for me that I have never paid attention to before?
  • Does Jesus appear in this passage of scripture?
  • How does this passage apply to my life, here and now?  Do I need to do anything about it?
  • What prayer would I offer up to God after reading this piece of scripture?

Tomorrow’s Reading: 1 Kings 10-11; 2 Chronicles 9

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