Today’s Passage – Ecclesiastes 1 – 4 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – click here to view the text from the Blue Letter Bible website)
Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Ephesians 4:32
Read the “0725 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.
“Vanity of vanities, saith the Preacher, vanity of vanities; all is vanity.” – (Ecclesiastes 1:2)
A few years back I preached a series of messages through the Book of Ecclesiastes at our church, so I have had the advantage of giving these passages a little more thought than perhaps I would normally give one of our morning devotions. As I have told our church many times, there are three keys to understanding the Book of Ecclesiastes:
1 There is a key word – “vanity” – It literally means vapor or breath. It means emptiness. James said that our lives were like a vapour.
“Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away.” – (James 4:14)
This key word appears 27 times in the Book. It carries with it the idea that much of what this life has to offer ultimately is empty in itself, or will lead to emptiness. God wants us to have an abundant, fulfilling life.
2 There is a key phrase – “under the sun” – This phrase appears 33 times in the Book. It speaks of the things that are of this earth. Things that are temporary in nature, not eternal. Things that are “under the sun” are not necesarily evil things, they are just things that will be forgotten, and are without eternal value.
3 There is a key verse:
“Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man.” – (Ecclesiastes 12:13)
Solomon came to the conclusion that much of what is done by man “under the sun” are things that are in themselves “vanity”: they produce emptiness. Therefore, we should devote as much time and energy as possible to the things that are eternal: things that will last forever. Fearing God and keeping His commandments are the highest order of business for the child of God today. Though it is certainly not wrong to enjoy the lawful things of this earth, it is important for us to keep in mind that they are temporary, not eternal; so our primary focus should be on eternity – living for the Lord.
One more thing. It might help us to remember that the human author of this book is Solomon, a man who experienced everything that this world had to offer. He had wisdom, wealth, works, and lots of women; but none of those things brought any lasting value. Only the things that were done for the Lord followed him into eternity.
Posted in Thoughts from Ecclesiastes by Phil Erickson with 1 comment.