By NANCY STOPPE – “Inspirational Insights” Ecclesiastes 1:2, “Vanity of vanities”, says the Preacher; “Vanity of vanities, all is vanity”.
Ecclesiastes is one of the most misunderstood books in the Bible. In this book the word vanity, mentioned 38 times, means “breath” or “vapor” and speaks of life as “quickly passing”. Whenever we read the word vanity in Ecclesiastes, we shouldn’t think of what is “meaningless”, but of what is quickly passing. The teaching of the Preacher is to realize that life is a fleeting thing that needs to be savored and enjoyed as a gift from God.
In Chapter 1, verse 1, it states, “The words of the Preacher, the son of David, king in Jerusalem”. The “Preacher” is believed by most to be Solomon who wrote Proverbs. There are many such proverbs in the book of Ecclesiastes also.
So…in this article I’m going to give you some homework. You will have to look up and read the scripture I give, but I will try to explain them with help from many of my commentaries. So get that Bible dusted off and let’s get started.
Ecc. 1:15 – Solomon is trying to explain that no amount of investigating or using the resources of earth will ever straighten out all that is crooked, twisted, perverted, or turned upside down. (See also 7:13)
Ecc. 2:14 – Here he is stating that the inevitable “event” is death. Both the wise and the foolish must die. In some versions this word is stated incorrectly as “fate”.
Ecc. 3:1-8 – This simply indicates that everything has an appropriate time, but all events are in the hand of God, who makes everything happen in the time He judges suitable.
Ecc. 3:16 – The Preacher is warning wicked judges that God, the final judge, will come, rectify all wrongdoing, and bring true justice.
Ecc. 4:9-12 – This emphasizes the obvious benefits of companions and to confirm his case about the value of friends (I will add - such as fellowship with the church).
Ecc. 5:4-5 – We should never attempt to bribe God with a hasty vow. (See the example of Ananias and Sapphira in Acts 5:1-11.)
Ecc. 6:12 – Life passes away quickly, like a vapor. Only God knows what will happen to us after death and this book teaches that each person’s life will be reviewed by God.
Ecc. 7:21-22 – Many times you will see another person doing to you the same harmful thing that you have done to someone else. (We tend to judge others for the same sins we are also guilty of.)
Ecc. 8:1 – This is an image of a person who is stable. Out of the wisdom of experience and understanding, that person is able to enjoy life and build up others.
Ecc. 9:4, 10 – The point here is that death is not the absolute end of all things but while there is life there is hope of doing something to the glory of God. Verse 10 refers to Colossians 3:23.
Ecc. 10:20 – Watch what you say because you never know who is listening.
Ecc. 11:9-10 – This urges young people to enjoy themselves while not forgetting that God will review the quality of their life. Youth passes like a vapor. (We soon discover that we get old too soon and smart too late.)
Ecc. 12:13-14 – To fear God is to respond to Him in awe, reverence, wonder, and to shun evil and any worship of anything else in His universe. Life must be lived through faith with the values of the eternal God in view.
This book is intended to guide us through the pitfalls and perils of life. Read it and use good commentaries to help you understand. Solomon sums it best in 12:13, “Fear God and keep His commandments, for this is man’s all”.
Answer from last week: Bethlehem. (Micah 5:2)
This week’s question: What king of Moab and son of Beor did Micah mention? (Micah 6:5)
Nancy Stoppe of Jenners is affiliated with Jenner Township Baptist Church, Boswell. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This article originally appeared on The Daily American: Good advice from a wise man