Ecclesiastes chapters 1 through 12
Reading Ecclesiastes chapters 7, 8, 9 I have to say I needed to read these chapters again and again. I needed to ponder over the words vanity and wisdom with each verse. The colons and lists were so many, I kept seeing myself and what I wanted for myself. (did that make sense?)
The book of Ecclesiastes is about Vanity. I think most people think of vanity as simply how pretty you think you are, but it's about feeding any earthly need you have. It is about all earthly goals and ambitions to which the end result can only be a separation from God. In the life God has planned for us there can be no vanity.
But by choosing Wisdom over vanity the conclusion is Life. "fear God and keep His commandments, for this is the the whole duty of man". 12:13
When we choose laughter, hedonism, wine, works, sex and wealth all roads lead to emptiness. Contentment and joy are found only in doing it God's way.
8There is no man that hath power over the spirit to retain the spirit; neither hath he power in the day of death: and there is no discharge in that war; neither shall wickedness deliver those that are given to it.
I'm reflecting on my own life and all the choices I have made, I'm sure we all do, and for sure the result of my days now are far different from days in years past. There were many days filled will laughter and fleshly satisfaction which for that moment were so exciting and intoxicating I couldn't get enough. I am seeing now that there never is "enough", and that was/is because they don't lead to joy or contentment - they didn't/don't lead to God.
The message seemed complex to understand for me, but as I prayed and took each verse to ponder, then put it into perspective in my own life it was easier to see that the result I want is Life not death, joy not moments of happiness and a contentment which comes only from committing to the duty of man as stated by God. I want each day to feel like I had "enough", I gave "enough", I did "enough". That's a much different feeling from always needing "more, more, more", the need you have when all that you give and receive just feeds that need for more. Drinking, pills, sex, money, excitement, emotional attachments, stimulants of any kind...only make you empty, they are a hole which can never be filled, it grows and consumes you. Never leading to satisfaction or "Life".
Completeness and contentment feel so much better! Thank You Lord for Salvation, thank You for my now quenchable hunger for "more" of the right thing, YOU. Thank You for being patient with me, for Wisdom which comes only through You. Amen
In the Tanakh, the book of Ecclesiastes is in the 5 books of the Megillot (scrolls), which is a section of the Ketuvim (the "Assorted Sacred Writings")