Vanity of vanities, saith the preacher, vanity of vanities, all is vanity.
In this post I will tell you what I understand from chapter one of Ecclesiastes. I am learning everyday more about God and what he wants for my life. I find reading one chapter a day and trying to understand it helps more than reading a few at once.
Before we go any further what is vanity? After doing a very short search for the meaning it is most translated as meaningless. Verse 2 of Ecclesiastes says all is vanity. Does he mean everything in the entire universe is meaningless or everything we do is meaningless?
All on earth is meaningless, in verse 14 he says, he has seen all the works under the sun and all is vanity and vexation of spirit.
Verse 3 asks what profit is there for us in all of the work we execute. I don’t think it is referring to “profit” as in making money to eat, pay our bills, and for entertainment purposes. I think it has more to do with the grand scheme of things. Some people spend all of their lives researching or developing a product or proving a scientific theory, but all in all what profit is in it for them? Or perhaps some people do everything in their power to get the nicest clothes, best shoes, biggest house, and fanciest yacht and for what?
Sometimes it’s a matter of wanting to be legends, to be remembered as great but in time we will all be forgotten (Ecc. 1:11). It may be true that you will be remembered for a very long time but a day will come when you will be forgotten. History books have the names of many great men and women from the past but while their names lingers long after they have gone their true essence are forgotten. Their bones have turned to dust, the memory of their walk or the intonation of their speech are no longer etched in the mind of a living person. And eventually not even their names will be remembered by the generation many years from now.
It may be in a dusty history book nobody reads.
Steve jobs, bill gates, beyoncé among others will be the “new” history. None of us will survive death. And our greatest achievements do not allow us to escape death or illness. So the question remains, what does in profit a man in all his labor?
“One generation passeth away and another generation cometh but the earth abideth forever.” Ecc.1:4
The sun ariseth, and the sun goesth down , and haseth to his place where he rose. Ecc. 1:5
Every day the sun rises and sets, verse 6 tells us the wind blows, all rivers run into the sea but the sea is never fill. All things are full of work, the eyes does not get satisfied by seeing and the ears not filled by hearing. We can watch a million movies but still want to see more. We can travel and see all around the world and still want to experience more. Some of us thankfully can hear our entire lives but if (sad to say) something happen and we become death it will pain us terribly because we can never hear so much our ears are filled and we will feel ok about going death.
The preacher says there is nothing new under the sun (in verse 9 and 10). Most young people hearing this will say this is not true. In the past they had no Ipad, or flat screen tvs, or power seeds, or this high tech speaker or this quality moisturizer or whatever. However, if you really think about it based on the geographic channel nothing is new in truth. I was watching the national geographic channel and they we talking about technologies of the past that were beyond the years of the time period they placed it in; saying it seems impossible these folks long ago figured out such and such with their little resources. It was really unbelievable. Take a look at how fashion is a cycle the things your great grandma wore is coming back in style in a slightly different way but still the style is returning. Joshua Prager explains it lovely how we experience the same emotions as those before us. And though they did not have the same inventions we do they had many inventions that brought about the same emotions and level of awe.
I gave my heart to know wisdom and to know madness and folly: I perceived that this also is vexation of spirit. For in much wisdom is much grief; and he that increaseth knowledge increaseth sorrow. Ecc. 1:17,18.
You know what I like? It’s that he didn’t give himself to wisdom only but also to madness and folly. Often times I have heard it said mad people are the happiness they have no worry, no stress. But are they really? Wasn’t it the stress and the burdens of life that drove them to madness in the first place?…………………..
With wisdom comes great responsibility. It is not always easy to do the right thing. And sometimes knowing the right thing and not being able to do it because of lack of resources or circumstances can be very troubling.
I leave this word with you for your enlightenment and edification.
Until next post…..Ciao.