Ecclesiastes was written by Solomon near the the end of his life. The main phrase that runs through the book is: “it is vanity.” He uses it to describe nearly every aspect of life. The book is started out with “all is vanity.” Then he uses the rest of the book to elaborate. What people see as great accomplishments, he says, are worthless. What people spend their lifetime to obtain means nothing. Riches are pointless because death takes it all away, or you lose it all suddenly before then. Affluence means nothing, for after you are dead you are quickly forgotten. Often times the good, righteous people live in poverty and despair while the wicked seem to prosper. Youth should be enjoyed while it is had, but it will be gone soon enough. Love and enjoy your wife, but death will come and that time will mean nothing. The only thing that seems to have lasting meaning is wisdom, and even this seems to be vanity. The wise are ignored while the foolish are exalted. But one thing brings meaning to life, and that is serving God. At the end of the book, in Ecclesiastes 12:13, Solomon says that man’s purpose is “to fear God and keep His commandments.” Unless we are glorifying God in what we are doing, everything that we do is useless. No matter what great things we accomplish, if it does not glorify God than it will be burned up as “wood, hay, and stubble.” Only the “gold, silver, and prescious stones,” the things that we do for the glory of God will last. These will be what we remember and rejoice in for eternity.
An overview of the book of Ecclesiastes.