Have you ever thought if I could just find the right mate I would be happy? Or if I only lived near the beach, in the city or had that job. I guess all of us have had thoughts like these at one time or the other. The truth is none of these things or a thousand others will ever bring lasting happiness. We as human beings are created for fellowship with a God who is eternal, therefore we are meant to last forever, and there is no amount of temporal things that will ever fully satisfy us.
There is a book in the Old Testament called Ecclesiastes that takes this matter on without flinching. The author of this book is believed by most to have been King Solomon. Now as you might recall Solomon was the son of King David, a man after God’s own heart. Solomon was raised in a Godly household and would have heard of his fathers exploits. He would have known about the great battles and victories David had in the name of the God of Israel. He would have heard many songs and psalms of worship that David wrote. In other words he was not unlike any number of children who have been raised in church, if you will, but at some point went off track.
One of Solomon’s favorite words he uses in the book of Ecclesiastes is the word vanity. It is a rather allusive word in a way because there are several definitions possible. You might think he is talking about someone who looks at themselves in the mirror all day and thinks rather highly of themselves but that isn’t what he is talking about here. Some translations use the word meaningless or futility. The word actually comes from a word meaning emptiness or something transitory. I don’t think meaninglessness is appropriate because something can have meaning and still be transitory or temporary. There is one way the word has been defined that I like the best and it is “a bubble that burst.” You know the bubble is okay for a while but eventually it will bust and all you are left with is air.
Another phrase Solomon uses is “under the sun.” If we put these two together we’ll see the picture clearer. Solomon is saying everything is vanity under the sun. This means that everything viewed from here on the earth upward is empty and eventually someone will bust your bubble. Someone will eventually let the air out of our tire. Reality is going to set in that we aren’t going to live here forever, and we can’t take all of these things with us.
Solomon spent twelve chapters describing what life is like without God. He tells of how he tried to find satisfaction in wine, women and song. He planted vineyards, read books, had musicians play for him and built great buildings yet fulfillment eluded him. He even went as far as to say we are no different than an animal. Without the Spirit of God that is the sad truth. Finally the bubble is busted and he comes to the conclusion that we are to fear God and keep his commands. This he said is the whole duty of man.
While having that job, spouse, title or hobby may not be sinful it is fleeting at best. We must always keep our eyes on the unseen and not be fooled into placing all of our hope on temporal things. Sometimes it isn’t fun to have our bubble busted but in this case it is best.
Written by Louie