'Meaningless! Meaningless!’ says the Teacher. ‘Utterly meaningless! Everything is meaningless’ (Eccl 1:2, New King James Version). Ecclesiastes is a challenging book that can seem out of place in the Bible; it is an extended reflection on the meaning of life that sometimes feels fatalistic and cynical, as exemplified in its famous opening stanzas, quoted above.
To truly understand Ecclesiastes and perhaps the current phase of your Christian journey, you need to something of the life of its author, King Solomon, And keep the charge of the Lord your God: to walk in His ways, to keep His statutes, His commandments, His judgments, and His testimonies, as it is written in the Law of Moses, that you may prosper in all that you do and wherever you turn; that the Lord may fulfill His word which He spoke concerning me, saying, ‘If your sons take heed to their way, to walk before Me in truth with all their heart and with all their soul,’ He said, ‘you shall not lack a man on the throne of Israel.' (1 Kings 3-4).
The legacy that Solomon left was a lot weaker than that which he inherited from David, his father. Solomon, unlike his father David, followed God but not whole-heartedly. He loved the Lord but hung onto his baser desires. King Solomon started well and authored Proverbs 4:3-9 where he advises everyone to get wisdom and understanding, but after the kingdom was strengthened in his hands, he forgot his own advice.
The life of King Solomon clearly demonstrates that we are not blessed in the knowing but in the doing of what God has taught us, as James later reiterated But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does (James 1:25).
Rise and Fall Ecclesiastes is a study in the rise and fall of any Christian, of any man, of any kingdom, of any government, of the tower of Babel, of Nebuchadnezzar, anyone or system that is not constantly practicing God-dependence.
God-dependence The book clearly shows that when you depend on God, you get His support in all that you do. On the other hand, when you depend on your own strength, your own wisdom or other attributes such as education, family connections or size of your bank account, all you get is self-support, unlike God-support. And because there is nothing good in us, (Rom 7:18), self-dependence leads to a downward trend. Late in life, Solomon became an embittered, pessimistic disillusioned and depressed man who realized the futility of the human experience - apart from God.
He compares life under the sun with living above the sun, Then I returned and considered all the oppression that is done under the sun: And look! The tears of the oppressed, But they have no comforter— On the side of their oppressors there is power, But they have no comforter (Eccl 4:1).He concluded that apart from God, all the power, fame, money and enjoyment in the world cannot satisfy. Go above the clouds, see God and live an enjoyable life; like Daniel, Joseph and David. Otherwise, the downward trend continues into despair and depression, as we see even in contemporary history, e.g. Howard Hughes, who in spite of being the wealthiest man of his time, still lived a miserable life.
However, Solomon must be credited for having sufficient wisdom to both live it and observe as well as record this downward trend for anyone who lives under the sun. The rest of us live it, go through conflict, live with the constant tension of God-dependence vs. independence but do not take time to reflect on what we are experiencing in relation to knowing God. Unless properly managed, with the help of the Holy Spirit, the trend will cause some to perish. But when properly managed, with prayer and seeking the help of the Holy Spirit, you will recover, and emerge stronger above the clouds.
In conclusion, Ecclesiastes is a book of priorities. When you prioritize God, you have peace and the foundation for abundant living. When you prioritize self with your wealth and all other attributes, all you get is depression. Celebrities will tell you.