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The Scriptorium

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Life's a gift. Enjoy.

Ecclesiastes 2.24-26

24Nothing is better for a man than that he should eat and drink, and that his soul should enjoy good in his labor. This also, I saw, was from the hand of God. 25For who can eat, or who can have enjoyment, more than I? 26For God gives wisdom and knowledge and joy to a man who is good in His sight; but to the sinner He gives the work of gathering and collecting, that he may give to him who is good before God. This also is vanity and grasping for the wind.

The Story: Solomon declares his main theme as the conclusion of all his searching and straying. Life is a gift from God; if we receive it as such and engage it with a view to being pleasing to Him, we will know true contentment and joy, and will find real happiness and purpose in life. There is no real happiness apart from God, Who gives to those who please Him everything they need for full and abundant lives. But to those who scorn the Lord and His ways, all that He gives them will be taken away and given to those who find favor in His sight. It’s vanity and striving after the wind to live this way, Solomon urges his son to recognize. How much better and more satisfying is it to see our lives as gifts from God and opportunities to do good and know peace and joy before Him? This, as we shall see, is where Solomon finally returned after his years of wandering under the sun.

The Structure: As clear as he has been in pushing his lesson on Rehoboam, Solomon is just as clear in setting forth his theme. These words have a gentle and pastoral tone to them, following the harsh and despairing mood of the preceding paragraphs. We feel Solomon’s contentment, but also his compassion for the son he has misled for so long. In a fallen world mankind’s only hope is to seek the Lord, to draw close to Him through Jesus Christ, to receive and use His many good gifts in service to His pleasure, and to grow in knowledge and wisdom so that they might enjoy and glorify God yet more and more. All men are completely dependent in every way on the goodness and sovereign power of God (v. 25); gratitude requires that they cease thinking only of themselves and begin serving the good pleasure of God. Wisdom teaches that, in so doing, they will discover the true meaning and purpose of their lives.

In what ways are you seeking to grow in the knowledge, wisdom, and service of God?

Each week’s studies in our Scriptorium column are available in a free PDF form, suitable for personal or group use. For this week’s study, “Solomon’s ‘I’ Problem: Ecclesiastes 2,” simply click here.

Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in the Champlain Valley of Vermont.
Books by T. M. Moore

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