Is God a killjoy? I have been reading a lot of Baptist materials and they all seem to describe God as a killjoy. I am very puzzled because Ecclesiastes 8:15 seems to suggest otherwise.

God desires people’s happiness and God truly knows what can give people happiness and lasting joy.

People might think that God is a killjoy by giving his laws and commandments. Nothing could be further from the truth. The way in which God prefaced the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20:1-2) demonstrated his grace and love for his covenant people of Israel. God’s laws are not restrictions on having a good time in life or barriers for personal freedom. Quite the opposite, sin is what enslaves people (John 8:34), and Christians find freedom in doing what God says (James 1:25).

Of course, the chief purpose of the law is to show us our sins and point out our need for a Savior. The gospel shows us the perfect Savior we have in Jesus Christ, through whom there is forgiveness of sins and eternal life. To Christians, the gospel message is a source of unending joy.

The passage you cited does describe Solomon’s observation that we can enjoy God’s gift of life by appreciating all his gifts to us.

I would encourage you to change your reading material. Beyond reading the Bible, of course, Forward in Christ offers good, solid reading material about the Christian faith and the Christian life.