In a nutshell, the message of Ecclesiastes is:
Everything in life is absurd. No matter what you do, it will come up empty, because you live and you die. The only things you have in life are what God gives you; you can’t do anything to change it, and you have God to blame for it. To Qoheleth (“the Preacher” and author) the sun rises and sets everyday just to rise another day. There is no sense to stop, look at, marvel and learn from the sun, because it will just be there tomorrow; and besides if you do, you might go blind. Compare this to the Psalmist who looks at the sun and learns of God’s glory (Ps 8 and 19); he sees the sun like a bridegroom, as it runs its course like a strong man with joy (Ps 19:5). Commentators have sought to harmonize Ecclesiastes’ contradictions in order to try to make them make sense in light of the rest of Biblical wisdom literature. But in this sermon series, this preacher is going to take the view that Qoheleth’s take on life is quite honest and thoroughly orthodox; that nothing he says contradicts anything in the Bible; and that his words, while provocative are indeed right – everything around us is dying! This is exactly what we learn from the first few chapters of the book of Genesis, is it not? If all this is true, then the appalling implication that “nothing matters under the sun,” is also true. This challenges the self-confident, godless, optimist to take off his rose-colored glasses with which he trusts in human justice and integrity. In this way Qoheleth’s realism drives us to life’s only place of recourse – God; and it is from this point then that we are in a place to hear the Gospel, and then everything matters under the sun.