Ecclesiastes is truly an amazing book. Life as it is lived out under the sun is often the most meaningless, futile and frustrating parade of experiences one can imagine. Solomon has made it clear that death always wins, life always 11 joyfulcheats, and that the best effort doesn’t always produce the greatest reward. Yet although life is filled with “vanity of vanities” he exhorts us to enjoy the many wonderful blessings that life affords us. In Ecclesiastes 8:15 Solomon says, “And I commend joy, for man has nothing better under the sun but to eat and drink and be joyful, for this will go with him in his toil through the days of his life that God has given him under the sun.”

David Jeremiah says, “Solomon gives us every reason under the sun to be gloomy. …Then, as always, he tells us to be joyful! Solomon’s message is not to candy-coat life, but to tell us that life doesn’t need candy-coating. Life is unfair and death is unstoppable, but we have what we have, and it happens to be this day before us—a gift from God, filled with pleasures, beauty, the satisfying enterprise of work, and the precious presence of God overseeing it all. Life is smelly, noisy, cruel, and uncaring. How much more glorious is the God who can be seen through the darkness, felt in the cold, and embraced in the valley of the shadow of death! He triumphs over the gloomiest observations you or Solomon could dish out. How shall we then live? Joyfully!”

Ryken says the same thing, “Yes, there is vanity under the sun. Yes, we see injustice that is hard to accept or understand. Yes, we have a lot of hard work to do. Nevertheless, there is joy for us in the ordinary things of life—eating, drinking, and sharing fellowship with the people of God.” God through Solomon is actually calling us to joy! God has given us the gift of life with all its problems and difficulties. Zeke, my 6 year old grandson got a new Lego toy for his birthday. He tore into it with such enthusiasm we all had to laugh. There is something truly satisfying about watching him embrace life and this small gift with such enthusiastic joy. I expect that God our Father is pleased when we take joy in the gifts He gives us as well. God wants us to enjoy life. That’s why He sent Jesus who says, “I have come so that you could enjoy life to the fullest.”