Ecclesiastes makes a point of showing that life is perplexing and short (1:2–11). It also illustrates the confusion of life, questioning why the wicked prosper and injustice abounds (3:16; 4:1–5). The author shows the limitations of wisdom while affirming its importance (2:12–17; 7:1–13).
Ecclesiastes exposes the utter emptiness of life without God. The pursuits often thought to give life meaning—wealth, work, power, knowledge, and pleasure—are all fleeting. They are ultimately poor substitutes for serving God (Eccl 12). Likewise, learning cannot result in a meaningful life, because there will always be something that doesn’t make sense. As the author discovers, self-reliance and reason are deceptive devices. The pain of our struggles with futility and injustice should rightly prompt us to go to God.