So today I had a little bout of depression, which happens to all of us from time to time. Now there are various ways in which one can handle being in an off mood. For some people getting away by themselves and just brooding for a while helps; others need to vent and talk about their feelings. My solution is to read Ecclesiastes.

Now you’re probably thinking, “You’re depressed so why would you want to read a depressing book?” The answer is because misery loves company. For me reading the solemn and “depressing” words of Solomon helps alleviate my down mood.

Ecclesiastes is an interesting book; for many years it was debated on whether it should even be allowed in the canon. There are issues of authorship and time, and the themes of the writing are most strange when examined with the rest of the body of Scripture (Esther also suffers from many of the same textual concerns). But the book has been accepted into the canon and when one reads it there is something that strikes a cord in our hearts.

You see Solomon had it all: wealth, prestige, pleasures. If you ever want to know what would happen if you had all of your worldly dreams, just look at the life of Solomon (and this book) and you just may realize that you are better off right where you are. You see Solomon denied himself nothing and in the end he was lead away from God (as a result of his many foreign wives), and would say that all is vanity.

Yet even in this rather depressing book we find God to be present. Several times throughout the book the somber mood is broken and a glimmer of God shines through. Of course the true shining beacon in this book is the last two verses:

12:13 The end of the matter; all has been heard. Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man. 14 For God will bring every deed into judgement with every secret thing, whether good or evil.

That’s it; the sum of all things is to fear God and keep his commands. Nothing more, nothing less. Jesus will sum this up as love God, and love people.

So next time your depressed or in a down mood consider reading Ecclesiastes and see if you don’t feel better.