Be Satisfied, I love Ecclesiastes.
Baptist Pastor Wiersbe has been pastoring, speaking and writing for sixty-five years and is best known for his "BE" series on every book of the Bible; he has the gift of being literate and theologically sound while at the same time being clear and accessible.
I appreciated how he treated the book in the context of the whole Bible. He combines Solomon's perspective from the book of Proverbs with his "changed" perspective in Ecclesiastes, along with a rich dose of New Testament passages to help readers grapple with how to find satisfaction in a world of troubles and discontentment.
The famous phrase, "Eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we die" is nowhere in Ecclesiastes unless you interpret the book (as I used to) as a diatribe against life. Wiersbe points out that the "Eat, drink, and be merry" phrase is actually, "Eat, drink and be merry, for every good thing comes from God's hand." (Some form of that phrase appears six times in the book.) He asserts that Solomon found no lasting pleasure in his power, riches and wives, but learned that true enjoyment came from accepting life's simple joys as gifts of a loving Father. Wiersbe concludes, We will be satisfied to the extent that we see everything we have as a gift from God.
It is not enough to possess things; we must also possess the kind of character that enables us to use things wisely and to enjoy them properly. (p 46)
In addition to biblical insights, I loved all the literary allusions and the explanations of certain Hebrew words (including puns that are not evident in the English.) Sometimes I felt that he forced an applications onto the text, but I have been guilty of that myself on occasion.
With world news the way it's been lately, it was interesting to read these Bible passages about a man who found that life "under the sun" didn't seem worth living. It's too easy for me to become discouraged with disastrous events, the loss of freedoms that American Christians are facing, etc. How can we find hope and joy in the midst of it all? Not only was I encouraged by the book of Ecclesiastes, but I also appreciated this post by Joy Clarkson called "Sensible and Human Things."
Whenever Wiersbe's books are free, I post a link on my Worthwhile Books Facebook page, so be sure to check there for upcoming deals.