Ecclesiastes 1:1-11: Can’t Get No Satisfaction

Read Ecclesiastes 1:1-11

Ecclesiates waste no time declaring that everything is “vanity”. The world “vanity” in the Hebrew is “הֶבל”, Pronounced “hebel”. The word carries with it the idea of emptiness and meaninglessness in the manner of things that go nowhere or things that are vacuous of content. The writer declares that the work of man is of no value because it is like this. The author then reflects on the circular nature of things. Generations giving rise to the next, the way the seasons come and go, and the way that water runs to the sea and goes back again.

He also notes that the all is worrisome and nothing satisfies man so long as many toils, noting that there is nothing new under the sun. The old is forgotten and recalled as new, but eventually, like all things, the novelty wears off and the whatever the new thing was becomes memory, then fade out of memory altogether. When whatever the resurfaces, it appears new, but in reality is the same old stuff, just a different day.

This circular nature of life ultimately, as the writer notes, leaves one weary, wanting more, unsatisfied with life. Jesus says that the only thing that can really ever satisfy one’s desire is Jesus himself. He says in John 4:13-14 that the one who drinks from the living water that he offers will never thirst again. Also in Matthew 5:6 that the one who hungers and thirsts for righteousness will be satisfied. Ultimate satisfaction can only come from Jesus, and as the writer of Ecclesiastes notes, the best thing a man can do is fear the Lord and keep his commandments (Ecclesiastes 12:13). This sort is consistent with what Jesus said would satisfy, as only he can do!

Lord, help me find my satisfaction in you.