“Vanity of vanities,” says the Preacher,
“All is vanity.”
“All is vanity.”
Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter:
Fear God and keep His commandments,
For this is man’s all.
For God will bring every work into judgment,
Including every secret thing,
Whether good or evil.
History and Context:
According to the first verse of Ecclesiastes the book is written by, "the Preacher, the son of David, king in Jerusalem". This of course points towards King Solomon as the author. Traditionally it is believed that Solomon wrote Song of Solomon in his youth, Proverbs in his middle age, and Ecclesiastes shortly before his death. The Bible describes Solomon as the wisest and the richest man who ever lived. He was a man who began his rule by following God, but he then began making treaties with the surrounding nations, through marriages, and began following strange gods. Later in his life, as we see in Ecclesiastes, he seemed to repent of his ways and return to God. But this repentance came too late as God had already begun to split the kingdom.
The book of Ecclesiastes discusses the age old discussion of the meaning of life. Who better to hold this discussion then Solomon? In all earthly pursuits Solomon was as succesful as anyone in history. Money? He was the richest man who ever lived. The Bible says that the kingdom became so rich that even silver was "as common as stones"! (1 Kings 10:27) Success? He was king of one of the greatest nations in the world at the time. Knowledge? The Bible names him as the wisest man who ever lived, and people came from all over just to hear from his wisdom. Women? Just read the Song of Solomon.
So the point is, in everything that we as humans find ourselves pursuing, he had it all! Yet at the end of his life he claims, "All is vanity", all is meaningless. In fact he comes down to one thing in which he found meaning, God. "Fear God and keep His commandments". This is everything a man needs to do. This is all that brings meaning in man's life.
How much time do you spend on meaningful things? How much time do you waste with other things? When you come to the end of your day can you look back and say "not all was vanity"? The challenge today is to be more conscious about where you are sending your time. Have you don'e something today to make a difference in the world? Have you obeyed the commandments of our Lord? Do you fear God, in respect or awe of Him? Even if all your days in the past have been meaningless, give this day meaning! Do something that will truly make a difference! Keep the commandments of the Lord!
Lord, I do fear you, I do respect you. I want to follow you and keep your commandments. Help me to make my life worth something. Help me to make a difference today! In Jesus' name, Amen!