We jump into chapter 5 of Ecclesiastes and we see that even though the view is from being under the sun and not living with eternity in full view. There are still things that must be. The “preacher” is not taking the view that is atheistic, as if God is not real, but rather the view that there is a God and we still must operate by His ways.
Ecclesiastes 5: 1 Guard your steps when you go to the house of God. To draw near to listen is better than to offer the sacrifice of fools, for they do not know that they are doing evil.
There are multiple situations that he covers in the first section. He talks about things like honor and speech, fools and wise. It’s better to guard your steps and honor God rather than make the mistake of dishonoring and ending up a fool. Fools tend to have hasty speech. They say things before they think. They often speak too much and do not listen enough to what God is saying. They don’t obey. They would rather give a sacrifice to cover their sin than to listen to God’s word and obey it. It is better to come before God with a spirit of honor, listen long, and pray short. Many words don’t move God’s heart, honor does.
Next, the “preacher” moves on to wealth, status, and money. In verse 8, he talks about not being surprised by the oppression that you see here on earth. Under the sun, there is much oppression and injustice. He almost scoffs, “Why are you surprised?” The scripture tells us that man’s heart is deceitful. Is it any wonder that we look out and see the conditions of deception all around us. Without God and eternity in view men seek to make their own utopia and that often looks like “my own way!”
Ecclesiastes 5: 10 He who loves money will not be satisfied with money, nor he who loves wealth with his income; this also is vanity.
More money never satisfies and the desire and the addiction that comes from trying to get it all the time leaves us with an emptiness that is worse. The more you gain the more you bleed money. The more you have the more others expect that you ought to give it to them and share it with them. When our security is wrapped up in getting money, when misfortune comes, we’re ruined but the heart with God in mind is steady knowing that He will provide all that is needed.
Ecclesiastes 5:18 Behold, what I have seen to be good and fitting is to eat and drink and find enjoyment in all the toil with which one toils under the sun the few days of his life that God has given him, for this is his lot. 19 Everyone also to whom God has given wealth and possessions and power to enjoy them, and to accept his lot and rejoice in his toil—this is the gift of God. 20 For he will not much remember the days of his life because God keeps him occupied with joy in his heart.
In this life, if all we have, is this under the sun moment then all we have is to eat, drink and find enjoyment. If most of us are going to live as fools who talk too much, in a world full of oppression, and a never-ending cycle of addiction to get money then I guess we better make the best of a bad situation. The fact that we have any wealth at all and have the ability to enjoy it is a gift from God.
If getting and having will give us many restless nights. It is better not to hoard it but to enjoy it. Ultimately the “preacher” tells us that our best bet, under the sun and without God, is to keep busy and try not to think about it.