What has a man from all the toil and striving of heart with which he toils beneath the sun? For all his days are full of sorrow, and his work is a vexation. Even in the night his heart does not rest. This also is vanity.
These verses summarize what I have written in two of my previous posts. Those posts covered King Solomon and his quest for understanding man. In Ecclesiastes 1:13-14 Solomon writes about setting his heart to seek the understanding of man’s actions. As a result of this quest he realizes how hollow man can be.
In Ecclesiastes 1:2-11 Solomon writes about the forces of life, God, the universe, and the vanity of man. He tells me, for man to think that these forces don’t exist, or that man can change them, well that is truly vanity.
So now in Ecclesiastes 2:22-23, Solomon tells us the results of toiling and striving after worldly things under the sun. The constant toil for worldly items brings sorrow and vexation. It is vanity, it is pointless. Continue reading
I thought today, since I am writing about the book of Ecclesiastes, I would start from the beginning. The very first verse tells us in a sort of cryptic way about the author of this book. They refer to themselves as the Preacher. Most people believe that person to be King Solomon.
The words of the Preacher, the son of David, king in Jerusalem.
If you take this verse at it’s face value, the son of David and King in Jerusalem was Solomon. Some say that “son” may refer to the lineage of King David, but I’ll keep it simple and stick with Solomon as the Preacher. Who wrote the book isn’t as important as the lessons being taught in this book. King Solomon starts teaching from the first verses. Continue reading
Again I saw all the oppressions that are done under the sun. And behold, the tears of the oppressed, and they had no one to comfort them! On the side of their oppressors there was power, and there was no one to comfort them. And I thought the dead who are already dead more fortunate than the living who are still alive. But better than both is he who has not yet been and has not seen the evil deeds that are done under the sun.
Solomon is writing about the evil that exists in the world. When I read these verses I wrote the following note to myself: “Evil always has and always will exist in the world.” Solomon writes that those who are dead and those who have not been born are better off than the living. Why does he say this? Because from birth to death we will always come in contact with evil. Only those who no longer exist or those who never existed will be void of evil. Continue reading
It is better to take refuge in the Lord
than to trust in man.
It is better to take refuge in the Lord
than to trust in princes.
You have heard some variations of the quote, “In God we trust, all others we verify”, or “all others we monitor”, or “all others bring data”. This is what David is saying in these two verses but in a more eloquent and poetic manner. Continue reading
Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might, for there is no work or thought or knowledge or wisdom in Sheol, to which you are going.
King Solomon is telling us that no matter what we do, do it to the best of our abilities.
This reminds me of something I was told by one of my contacts whom I worked with at a large customer. I dealt with him for a number of years. He was always honest and fair with me and I appreciated it very much. Unfortunately he passed away suddenly and I never had the chance to express my gratitude and enjoyment of working with him. Continue reading
Set a guard, O Lord, over my mouth;
keep watch over the door of my lips!
This is sound advice and a theme that appears numerous times in the Bible. Prophets from the Old and New Testament speak of guarding the words the come out of your mouth. I have written a number of posts on this subject and I thought I would touch on it again. Continue reading
Unless the Lord builds the house,
those who build it labor in vain.
Unless the Lord watches over the city,
the watchman stays awake in vain.
It is in vain that you rise up early
and go late to rest,
eating the bread of anxious toil;
for he gives to his beloved sleep.
Unless the Lord builds the house.
What is the house that King David is talking about? It is you, your body, my body, and our community as human beings. To go through life, building a life and a community without God in your heart is vanity or as David’s son would say, vanity and a striving after wind. Continue reading