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The outlook of ''The Teacher'' is critical and even somewhat cynical at times. His perspective and his advice do not seem to square with the more optimistic book of Proverbs, and his utterly pragmatic approach to life can seem to some readers as almost faithless. However, Ecclesiastes simply takes a very honest look at the way the world operates, observing that God's promises and God's wisdom do not always come to pass in the ways we expect. Just like the Teacher, we know that the wicked often prosper, the righteous often suffer, the wise man and the fool alike die.
We also agree that nothing - whether it be riches or power or fame or success or entertainment - nothing which the world offers can ultimately satisfy us. In light of all this evidence, it is a testimony to the Teacher's faith that he never once questions God's goodness, power, or wisdom. Rather, he wants to know what difference our decisions could possibly make in the seemingly chaotic universe. He attempts to answer the ultimate question - what is the meaning of life - and concludes that only a life with God has any value or purpose. For the Israelites living in a tempting, thriving, strange Persian culture, this book is a startling reminder that there is only one pursuit that is worthwhile.
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