Ecclesiastes and Literature

The other night, I was reading in my Bible and was wondering why Ecclesiastes was so important as a book of the Bible. Don’t get me wrong, I think that it is an important book, but it’s so different from the other books of the Bible. The entire tone of the book is much more depressing and hopeless than other books. I was sitting there, reading chapter 3 and thinking about chapter 2 and all the pointlessness that seems to just fly off the page. “Why” I wondered, “is this included? Most people don’t seem to have a problem feeling lost and confused in their life? Just think of all that postmodern literature that’s being written! This almost sounds just like it.” So, instead of ignoring my question, I decided to do a little research.

I went onto and found an audio lecture by R. S. Sproul. The whole series is called “Themes from Ecclesiastes” and the particular lecture that I listened to was the first one, “Futility of Life.” ( .) It was both an eye opening explanation on the first chapter of Ecclesiastes (as well as an overview for the entire chapter) but it also appealed to the English major side of me. Sproul, being the great literary man that he is–and I mean this with absolute and complete respect; I cannot figure out how he has the time to do so much reading and I also cannot figure out how he can remember so much information! I’m quite envious of him, but I praise God that He has gifted Dr. Sproul to be a great Reformed Christian leader–and in my lifetime, too!!!…but I digress. One of Dr. Sproul’s favorite books is Moby Dick, and I’m being serious. Before I heard the explanation as to why he liked this big long book full of whaling information, I thought that I had misheard him. But no, he really does like Moby Dick. So, in his lecture on Ecclesiastes, Dr. Sproul said that Ecclesiastes and MB share a same theme. Both texts show what life would be like if there was no God who was absolutely in control. Life becomes pointless and hopeless.

This made me realize that modern and postmodern literature is not the first to write literature that seems to lack hope. Ecclesiastes was written thousands of years ago, yet Solomon recognized how life would look like if one did not have hope in God. I actually thought that this was a little hopeful. Maybe soon we will realize that living a life of futility is pointless and I pray that soon people will stop fighting against God and God will reign supreme in their life. Sproul, in the lecture mentioned above, said that he walked into his dorm room a pagan, read Ecclesiastes after his friend handed it to him to read, and after that was a born again Christian. I pray that this will happen to many other people in today’s society. May they read, learn, repent, and accept the LORD as their God and Savior.

“For all who have sinned without the law will also perish without the law, and all who have sinned under the law will be judged by the law. 13 For it is not the hearers of the law who are righteous before God, but the doers of the law who will be justified. 14 For when Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do what the law requires, they are a law to themselves, even though they do not have the law. 15 They show that the work of the law is written on their hearts, while their conscience also bears witness, and their conflicting thoughts accuse or even excuse them 16 on that day when, according to my gospel, God judges the secrets of men by Christ Jesus.” (Romans 2:12-16)

Resting in His Hope,



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