In our study, we look at the purpose of our lives. We all at one time or another have asked ourselves "What is the purpose of life?" This book will help us to see and learn from the mistakes of a king.
"The words of the Teacher, son of David, King in Jerusalem:" NIV translation
Ecclesiastes means "philosopher" and is a book of the Bible that was written by King Solomon near the end of his life. Solomon was the son of King David who was the king of God's people (Israel). Near the end of David's life, he wished to build a temple for God in Jerusalem but God would not allow him to do so because he had killed men. But, God promised David that his son would build the temple.
Solomon was made king when David died and at this time the Israelites worshiped God at various high places. Solomon went to Gibeon which was the most important high place to worship God.
That night, God appeared to him and allowed him to ask for anything that he desired. In humility, Solomon admitted that he could not carry out his duties as king without wisdom from God and so that is what he asked for.
Because he asked for wisdom to rule God's people, the Lord also granted him wealth and honor. Solomon built the Temple of the Lord as well as a great palace in Jerusalem. His fame spread because of his great wisdom and many nations came to visit him. Solomon loved many foreign women and married women from nations that God had forbidden. God appeared to him in another dream and informed him that, because of his disobedience in this area, the Kingdom would be taken away in his son's generation. Solomon reigned for forty years (which is the time of trial and proof throughout the Bible). This book tells the story of a man that had it all and yet lost sight of his purpose in life. Where the book of Proverbs demonstrates Solomon's wisdom, this book demonstrates his foolishness. We can learn from his mistakes!
"'Meaningless! Meaningless!' says the Teacher. 'Utterly meaningless! Everything is meaningless.'" NIV translation
Solomon sums up his lesson at the start by declaring that everything is meaningless. This was a man who had it all and at the end of his life found that it was all fading away and you can almost hear his plea to the following generations. His plea is to wake up and realize that what we see is not what is important. This timeless lesson is just as important for us today as it was back then.