Ecclesiastes: Living and Leaving – Only God Satisfies Our Hearts

A Christian is a person whose life has been transformed by Jesus. Because Jesus has paid for our sins and clothes us with the robe of his righteousness, we are significant, secure, accepted, forgiven, and empowered. 

In Ecclesiastes 9, Solomon starts with the one thing in life that is certain, closes the chapter with the uncertainties of life, and tells us how to live a life of godly wisdom in the middle verses. In Ecclesiastes 9:8, Solomon simply says to look after yourself. 

Ecclesiastes 9:8
Let your garments be always white. Let not oil be lacking on your head.

Sidney Greidanus has an excellent commentary on the book of Ecclesiastes. Here’s how he explains this verse. 

In a hot climate, white garments would reflect the heat of the sun, and oil would keep the skin from drying out. Here the white garments are symbols of joy. When people were distraught, they showed it by wearing sackcloth and putting ashes on their head (see 2 Sam. 13:19). When people were joyful they showed it by wearing white clothes and putting oil on their head. In our culture we might show our joy by wearing colorful clothes . . . and a smile on our face 

Greidanus not only provides historical insight but practical application. We can demonstrate our joy through our demeanor and clothing choices. We can eat healthy foods (along with a few meals of burgers and fries☺) and get plenty of exercise. Solomon’s wise advice is to enjoy the days of your life by taking care of yourself. 

Now I get it. Some can overdo it. Diet can become an unhealthy focus, even a deity. Appearance can be a prideful downfall. Exercise can become an idol. All good things in this fallen world can go south. Nothing done to bring honor to ourselves will ever satisfy our hearts. Only God can do that. And with a heart satisfied by God alone, we can enjoy the great gift of life. 

Father, thank you for all the great gifts you give us. Help us enjoy all that you provide. And help us always worship the Giver, not the gifts. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

¹ Sidney Greidnaus, Preaching Christ from Ecclesiastes, (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 2010), 233. 

 

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