The key to understanding the book of Ecclesiastes and its teachings is to realize that its perspective dwells on all that is ‘under the sun’.  This phrase is used 29 times in this book which was written by Solomon.  Solomon seems to be on a search for truth, but he limits his search to that which is ‘under the sun’ or on the earth.  He searches for the meaning of life, but leaves the Lord out of his search, therefore he often draws incorrect conclusions.  Does this mean that this book is not inspired of the Lord?  Not at all!  As Solomon seeks to find answers to his questions, the Lord leads him to write down his thoughts so that we might see the futility of finding truth without the Lord.

Let’s read Ecclesiastes 9:7-10, “Go thy way, eat thy bread with joy, and drink thy wine with a merry heart; for God now accepteth thy works. Let thy garments be always white; and let thy head lack no ointment. Live joyfully with the wife whom thou lovest all the days of the life of thy vanity, which he hath given thee under the sun, all the days of thy vanity: for that is thy portion in this life, and in thy labour which thou takest under the sun. Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest.”

In this portion, Solomon’s perception is that we should just live life as we please because, in the end, we all die. 

The assumption of the natural man is that since we all end up “in the grave”, we should make the best of our lives…have fun, eat heartily, enjoy your wine, enjoy your wife, etc.  In Luke 12, we learn of a certain man who was concerned with wealth but had no interest in eternity.  We find his counsel in verse 19, where he says, “And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry.”  The Lord responded to him in verse 20, “Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided?”  There is so much more that what is found ‘under the sun’.  The natural man does not realize that but seeks to find all his satisfaction in this world. 

Ecclesiastes 9:9 speaks to those who are married.  Since the Lord has given you a wife, enjoy the married life.  The word ‘vanity’ in this verse is translated “futility” or “meaningless life” in other translations.  The thought here is that life itself is futile and meaningless, so live with your wife and enjoy her.  This sounds like good advice, but the perspective from Solomon here is that nothing really matters anyway, so enjoy what you have. 

This portion is depressing.  We are presented with the idea that whether sinner or saint, unrighteous or righteous, we all share the same fate…death.  However, I often say, “When life is over, life is not over!”  We read in Hebrews 9:27, “And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment.”  We all face death, that is inevitable, but there is something on the other side of death that we must be aware of…there is judgment.  For those who are believers on the Lord Jesus Christ, we rejoice to know that, “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus…” (Romans 8:1).  Christ has borne our judgment when He hung on Calvary’s tree and received God’s wrath for our sins. 

But, for those who have not put their faith in the Lord Jesus, there will be a harsh judgment and a harsh eternity.  We read in Revelation 20:11-15, “And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them. And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.”  What a tragic fate for those who do not accept the Lord Jesus Christ as their savior. 

There is so much more to be concerned with than simply those things ‘under the sun’.  Have you thought about eternity?  Have you considered how and where you will be in eternity?  Consider the words of the Lord Jesus in John 5:24, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.”  (387.4)