“The words of the Preacher, the son of David, king in Jerusalem.
Vanity of vanities, saith the Preacher,
vanity of vanities; all is vanity.
What profit hath a man of all his labour which he taketh
under the sun?”
I enjoy a good book. In fact I try not to pick one up unless my other work is done. You can guess why. Solomon, the accepted author of Ecclesiastes, does not begin this book with a good hook, at least not for me. It has the markings for being a downer with no happy ever after ending. A closer look reveals there is hope in opposition to the vain pursuits of one living, under the sun. Please, stick with me for the good part.
The first two chapters bemoan a life lived, under the sun. Solomon states his thesis in chapter 1, verse 14.
“I have seen all the works that are done
under the sun:
all is vanity and vexation of spirit.”
He proceeds to reinforce the statement with examples…the world’s wisdom, seeking pleasures, great accomplishments, and hard work. None of these things bring lasting peace, joy, contentment, or hope. They are all “vanity and vexation of spirit”.
According to the apostle Paul in Romans those without Christ, those living only under the sun, are also without profit.
“What then? Are we better than they? No, in no wise: for we have before proved both Jews and Gentiles, that they are all under sin;
As it is written, THERE IS NONE RIGHTEOUS, NO, NOT ONE: THERE IS NONE THAT UNDERSTANDETH, THERE IS NONE THAT SEEKETH AFTER GOD. THEY ARE ALL GONE OUT OF THE WAY, THEY ARE TOGETHER BECOME UNPROFITABLE; THERE IS NOE THAT DOETH GOOD, NO, NOT ONE.”
No wonder there are so many depressed people in the world.
Now comes the good part. Paul’s words to the Colossians tell of those living and seeking, “those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God.” In Ecclesiastes 3, Solomon makes reference to the ones knowing the gift of God.
“He hath made every thing beautiful in his time: also he hath set the world in their heart,(also translated, set eternity in their heart) so that no man can find out the work that God maketh from the beginning to the end…
I know that, whatsoever God doeth,
it shall be for ever:
nothing can be put to it,
nor any thing taken from it:
and God doeth it,
that men should fear before him.”
God has made everything beautiful in his time through Jesus Christ.
I know that whatsoever God doeth, it shall be for ever…
“Jesus took bread and blessed it, and brake it, and gave it to the disciples, and said,
Take eat; this is my body.
And he took the cup, and gave thanks,
and gave it to them, saying,
Drink ye all of it;
For this is my blood of the new testament,
which is shed for many for the remission of sins.”
“For the law made nothing perfect,
but the bringing in of a better hope did;
by the which we draw nigh unto God.
And inasmuch as not without an oath he was made priest…THE LORD SWARE AND WILL NOT REPENT, THOU ART A PRIEST FOR EVER AFTER THE ORDER OF MELCHISEDEC:)
By so much was Jesus made a surety of a better testament…
But this man, because he continueth ever,
hath an unchangeable priesthood.
Wherefore he is able also
to save them to the uttermost
that come unto God by him,
seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.”
…nothing can be put to it…
“Be it known unto you all,
and to all the people of Israel,
that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth,
whom ye crucified,
whom God raised from the dead,
even by him doth this man stand here before you whole…
Neither is there salvation in any other:
for there is none other name under heaven
given among men,
whereby we must be saved.”
“For by grace are ye saved through faith;
and that not of yourselves:
it is the gift of God:”
nor any thing taken from it…
“But if it be of God,
ye cannot overthrow it;
lest haply ye be found even to fight against God.”
and God doeth it, that men should fear before him
“Declaring the end from the beginning,
and from ancient times the things that are not yet done,
My counsel shall stand,
and I will do all my pleasure;”
“WHO SHALL NOT FEAR THEE, O LORD,
AND GLORIFY THY NAME?
FOR THOU ONLY ART HOLY:
FOR ALL NATIONS SHALL COME AND WORSHIP BEFORE THEE;
for thy judgments are made manifest.”
There are two ways to live this life.
- One is under the sun. It promises you fleeting pleasures without fulfillment of purpose. It lies and ends in eternal death apart from God.
- The other is, seeking those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. It promises you abundance in life with fulfillment of purpose. It is truth and ends in eternal life with God and our Saviour Jesus Christ.
Only life with Christ can reach its highest level of purpose.
Are you reaching for the heavens or living under the sun?