Prepare – Ecclesiastes 1-2
I the Preacher have been king over Israel in Jerusalem. And I applied my heart to seek and to search out by wisdom all that is done under heaven. It is an unhappy business that God has given to the children of man to be busy with. I have seen everything that is done under the sun, and behold, all is vanity and a striving after wind.
You might not think of turning to Ecclesiastes in this season of life, but from my experience I believe you will be surprised by the wisdom you will find in this old book written by the wisest man who ever lived. Ecclesiastes has been an encouragement to me, especially in difficulties. Spend some time in it over the next three days and allow God to teach you through it.
“The Preacher” (as he is called in Ecclesiastes) spent his time examining life in this world. When he wrote, he wrote about the reality of life. The Preacher doesn’t pull any punches when he opens the book with the phrase, Vanity of vanities, says the Preacher, vanity of vanities! All is vanity. It’s meaningless. That’s what it seems like right now! What does he mean?
He is contrasting reality and our expectations of reality. My expectations were not to work from home for two months or more, but reality is much different. My expectations of going out, eating out, shopping, even being with people are totally different than what they are presently. The difference between the way we think things should be and the way things are is absurd. Solomon wants us to recognize and acknowledge that truth.
What do we do, then, to deal with the absurdity of life? The first step in living, according to Solomon, is to acknowledge that things are broken as a result of sin, but God is still in charge. God is still working! Second, don’t give up. “There is nothing better for a person than that he should eat and drink and find enjoyment in his toil. This also, I saw, is from the hand of God.” (Ecclesiastes 2:24 ESV) Keep living and working and doing, knowing that God will give joy in it.
Third, fear God not gain. When we fear and serve God, we hold everything else loosely, for we know it doesn’t satisfy. Fourth, remember that God is making all things new! This isn’t it. This isn’t the end. God is making us new, and he will make a new heavens and earth. We have a future hope!
~ Pastor Craig