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May 2, 2021 – Ecclesiastes 1-12

“Vanity of vanities, says the Preacher, vanity of vanities! All is vanity” (1:2). As I read these opening words, I think of 1 John 2:17 – “ And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.” Just as it would be misleading to read only the first half of John’s verse, thus reaching a very disheartening conclusion (everything is going away, no real meaning in life or hope), it would be wrong to camp out on Solomon’s opening words. John is drawing a contrast between a world passing away and the eternal hope that is ours in Jesus Christ.


And, so, we do not lay up treasures on earth, but in heaven where “neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal” (Matthew 6:20). Solomon sought to know wisdom and to know fulfillment. He tried pleasure, hard work and skill, riches, relationships, humility, good works, and more. Time and again, Solomon seemed to fail in reaching his goal. But one needs to read the book of Ecclesiastes all at once, in one sitting. For Solomon’s pessimism turns to hope only in the end: “The end of the matter; all has been heard. Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man” (12:13). That is, to have a sure hope, both in this life and in eternity, look to God, follow after him, trust in him. Jeremiah agrees: “Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose trust is the Lord” (Jeremiah 17:7).


Trust in the Lord, O troubled soul,

Rest in the arms of His care;

Whatever your lot, it mattereth not,

For nothing can trouble you there;

Trust in the Lord, O troubled soul,

Nothing can trouble you there. –Thomas Chisholm

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