Lesson 5 of 6
In Progress

Theological Themes in Ecclesiastes

Enjoy the gifts of God

“It is fitting to eat and drink and find enjoyment in all the toil with which one toils under the sun … .This is the gift of God” (5:18-19). The Teacher counsels enjoying the good days (7:14; 3:22) and the good things, because they are gifts “from the hand of God” (2:24-26; 3:12-13). Eat, drink, and enjoy the days that God gives you (8:15)! Enjoy good wine, the person you love, throw yourself into your work, because God approves of all these things (9:7-10).

God at a distance

“God is in heaven…,” says 5:2. Isaiah spoke of the Lord as “high and lofty” and “holy” which means separate or distant (Isaiah 6:1-3). Jesus taught his followers to recognize God’s transcendence in praying, “Our Father in heaven” (Matthew 6:9). All should be in awe of God (Ecclesiastes 3:14) and worship God in humility and reverence (5:1-2, 7; 12:13).

God cares

God is the maker of everything on earth (3:11; 7:13). God gives humans their lives (5:18; 8:15); God is their maker and creator (7:29; 12:1) and takes life back to God when the creature dies (12:7).

Human beings–creatures of the earth

“And you upon earth…”–humans are addressed in 5:2. On earth there are problems of injustice and evil (3:16-17), oppression (4:1-3; 5:8-9), greed (5:8-17), unfairness (7:15-18; 8:14; 9:11-12), and finally death (2:14-17; 3:19-21; 6:3-6; 7:2; 12:1-8).

What is God doing? 

“So you do not know the work of God,” says 11:5 (see also 3:10-11 and 8:16-17). For Ecclesiastes, there appears to be a gulf between God in heaven and people on earth.