Moving from one book to another, as we do in today’s reading (Proverbs 31-Ecclesiastes 1-2) brings a jolt, a strong shot of reality. While Proverbs ends on a high note exalting the blessings of a virtuous wife and mother, Ecclesiastes sounds a somber note that “all is vanity” (Ecclesiastes 1:2).
Which view is correct?
Both are correct in their own way. Marriage can be delightful. Sometimes it is and sometimes it isn’t. But even when it is as good as it can be, it is never the ultimate experience. Its pleasures however glorious are not permanent. The accomplishments of the wife and husband are, at best, limited to a lifetime and no more.
Is this all there is?
Somehow it’s not enough. This is what we learn from the Preacher. He had it all. He tried it all. It didn’t satisfy. What is his solution? Spoiler alert: there is a glimmer of hope ahead. Keep reading.
A better inheritance
Meanwhile, keep in mind that God’s word equips us for everything for His service including a dose of reality in the midst of the pains and pleasures of our earthly lives. Ultimately, we have a better inheritance than all this world can offer (1 Peter 1:3-9).
[For more reflections on this passage, see the corresponding reading in my book Cover to Cover: Through the Bible in 365 days].