In Ecclesiastes, the phrase “chasing after the wind” describes the pursuits of life on earth. King Solomon had come to the conclusion that the grand acquisitions and achievements of his life were worthless, part of a never-ending race with the grave as the finish line. He most likely wrote the book long after he had compromised his faith by marrying into practically every religion and every nation on earth.
Solomon’s successors on the thrones of Israel and Judah followed in his footsteps of compromised faith, and they did so without Solomon’s depth of wisdom. They chased after the winds of pagan worship, and all of their work was an exercise in futility. They sowed in spiritual ground that could never bear fruit, and they would reap a whirlwind of destruction (v. 7).
The theme of Israel’s doom runs throughout today’s passage, beginning with an image that could prove misleading to those familiar with the American icon of the eagle. But the bird described here is no symbol of freedom; it is a bird of prey or a scavenging vulture circling overhead as if Israel were a carcass. Israel was perishing because they were in blatant violation of God’s covenant. To show that their infidelity was not a recent development or a one-time occurrence, God made reference to one of Israel’s earliest and most blatant blunders.
Israel had been unfaithful to the law of the covenant even as it was first being etched into stone. They struggled to produce any semblance of faithfulness toward God, always testing the limits of His mercy. God wasn’t punishing Israel for a brief lapse in righteousness. The national epidemic of sin was a chronic condition. Their worship of gods made from human hands had peaked, and they had provoked the anger of God for far too long. The gods they depended on for agricultural success were no gods at all, and the fruit of their labor and misguided worship would be devoured (v. 7). The true provider of blessing for generations was repaying their evil with destruction and loss.
Apply the Word
You may not engage in anything as drastic as bowing down to a golden idol, but there are many common activities and ambitions that are equally futile from an eternal perspective. We must learn to consider a full and prosperous life as one that makes an eternal investment in God’s kingdom. Evaluate your activities throughout the next week. Is your life lived in worship of God or in pursuit of personal gratification? Ask God to use your life for His glory.