This site will feature Bible-based articles some days, silly posts and quotes at least twice a week and facts about Jack the Ripper-to begin with.

Posts tagged ‘vanity’

Ecclesiastes Chapter 2-Wealth Is Vanity

I’ve started a series of posts on the book of Ecclesiastes, where the writer says “life stinks” and “what’s the point?”. In chapter 2, he talks about experimenting with toys that you can acquire in life and what he found out.
Get your Bible because I may not list every verse in these posts. Ecclesiastes can be found halfway through the Bible after Psalms and Proverbs and before The Song of Solomon and the prophets. Let’s begin.
The first 3 verses is sort of a summary of his findings. Do you remember in school, when you had to write a five paragraph paper and the first paragraph you had to summarize what it was about? That’s what he is doing, here. He has one advantage that we don’t have-the wisdom God gave him. He still found it to be vanity.
Verses 4-8 talk about all the things that he acquired-houses, vineyards, gardens, parks, slaves, flocks and herds, silver and gold, singers and concubines. That’s a lot of stuff! You would think he was the happiest man on earth, but all this did not make him happy. In life, we think that if we just get that new car we want, that new and bigger house or whatever else you may want, that we’ll be happy. You know what? I finally got a large, new townhouse a few years ago, and it did not give me the happiness I thought it would. In fact, I was let down after the excitement wore off and I am less happy than I was in the townhouse we had before this one. It was brand new and kind of big, but we were renting it and we needed to buy something to stop throwing money out the window. When I saw this one we’re in now, I was no longer satisfied with the one we had, and thought if we bought this one, I would be totally satisfied. I have actually been depressed.Go figure!
Verse 9-“Then I became great and increased more than all who preceded me in Jerusalem. My wisdom also stood by me.”
The wise man’s wealth and status grew-a lot of people want to be great in this life-but does it bring them happiness?
Verse 10-“Amd all that my eyes desired I did not refuse them. I did not withhold my heart from any pleasure, for my heart was pleased because of all my labor and this was my reward for all my labor.”
This makes me think of a kid in a candy store. What if, when you were a kid, someone took you to a candy store and said,”Go up and down every aisle and get whatever you want.”
You would take off, wouldn’t you? I know I would have. I still might today-but I would grab mostly chocolate-I don’t like the other stuff anymore.
My parents have given me money in the past, for Christmas or my birthday. It is fun to shop and decide what to buy with money just handed to you. What if you earned it? For years now, I have been wanting to make some money with my writing and have the satisfaction that I earned it. It seems more satisfying if you earn money from a job well done. I have a list of things I want to get-a new kitchen table, for one, to match the decor.
This also sounds like many celebrities, not withholding any pleasure from themselves-we can see that in the news. Does it last forever? Look at verse 11.
Verse 11-“Thus I considered all my activities which my hands had done and the labor which I had exerted, and behold all was vanity and striving after wind and there was no profit under the sun.”
I would take that to be a “no”. After getting all those things for himself-vanity and he had no profit. What a letdown! We expect more from our toys than that, don’t we? Shame on those toys!
Verses 12-17 are poetic in nature as he describes weighing fun with wisdom. In verse 12, he asks about the man who will come after him. He will probably not be satisfied with what the wise man did and will want to do it himself. You don’t want the hand-me-down, you want the new thing.
In verse 14, he compares the fool and the wise man with light and darkness. If you walk around in the dark, you can’t see what you are doing and you end up doing dumb things, like running into the wall or knocking over a lamp, when you could just turn on the light. At the end, however, they will meet the same fate-no matter what they do in this life.
In verse 15, he asks himself why he has been wise because what’s the point if he is just going to die. In verse 17, he hates life because his work was grievous and everything was vain. Have you ever felt that way?
In verses 18-21, he basically says that life is not fair and he was in despair. He mentions the man who will come after him-will he be wise or foolish? Will he take care of what the wise man acquired? The wise man will have no control over his things after he is dead and it is not fair to have to hand over your things that you worked for to someone else. Sometimes I wonder who lives in my grandparents’ house and if they take care of it? My grandparents worked hard to build the house and took care of it for 50 years. It is only fair for the next person to take just as good care of it. It seems like people don’t take as good of care of things handed down to them, as opposed to working for it themselves.
Verse 22-He repeats his question of the vanity of life.
Verse 23-“Because all his days his task is painful and grievous; even at night his mind does not rest. This too is vanity.”
Have you ever lain awake, thinking about some project?
Verses 24-26-the wise man says that we should live our life and appreciate what we have because everything we have is a gift from God. He says if you don’t have God in your life, you can’t be happy. Think of all the celebrities who had it all and ended up committing suicide because their life was empty without God. So true. What is it worth without Him?


Ecclesiastes: Chapter 1

Hey, y’all! If you read my last two posts on Ecclesiastes, we were reviewing the overview of the book and possible author. The overall message of the book: Life stinks…and then you die. The wise man looks at life and finds it vain.
And now, it’s time to take a close look at the first chapter. If you have a Bible, grab it and read along, since I may not list every verse. Besides, the more you study using your Bible, the more comfortable you will become opening it up and the more familiar you will be with your own Bible. Ecclesiastes can be found about halfway through the Bible, after Psalms and Proverbs, in the Poetry section of the Old Testament and yes, it is a book of poetry. The author uses poetic language to discuss what he has observed about life.
We’ve already discussed the first two verses: the writer identifies himself, or hints at who he is, and declares that all is vanity. What a happy message!
Vs 3-“What advantage does a man have in all his work
Which he does under the sun?”
The wise man knows everyone has to work for a living and is not talking about the immediate results, like picking up your paycheck or paying your bills, or even finishing that project you’ve been working on. He is talking about the long term effects of work on your whole life. It is kind of like when we say, “I get up, go to work, come home, eat dinner, go to bed and get up and do it all over again.”
You will see the phrase, “under the sun” many times throughout the book. It pretty much means “on the earth” or “in life”.
Vs 4-“A generation goes and a generation comes,
But the earth remains forever.”
We’ve heard this said before. We live, we die, a new generation comes and replaces us and the world keeps going on, generation after generation.
Verses 5-7 give more examples-the sun, the wind, the rivers keep doing the same thing.
Vs 8-“All things are wearisome;
Man is not able to tell it.
The eye is not satisfied with seeing,
Nor is the ear filled with hearing.”
When you were a kid, do you remember wanting that new toy, the one that everyone had? Then, after you got it, another one came out that was even better? It seems like it still happens. People want that new, most advanced technological device, the one that everyone has; then, after they get it, a better one comes out. Our daughters have even been victims of that.
Well, the writer noticed the same thing. No matter what we have, we always want more.
Vs 9-“That which has been is that which will be,
And that which has been done is that which will be done.
So, there is nothing new under the sun.”
This was a memory verse for me when I was younger and I still remember it. This sentence is summing up the first eight verses.
Vs 10-11-we might think that we discover things or invent things that no one ever has but the more the archeologists find, the more we find out that other generations had the same thing-lighted streets, embalming, medicine, the aging process, etc. The ancient world already knew these things.
Martina McBride has a line in a song, called “Anyway”. “You can pour your soul out singing a song you believe in, that tomorrow they’ll forget you ever sang. Sing it anyway.”
I think that sums up the idea of the verse. I read an article that Sylvester Stallone is doing another Rambo because he is afraid he will be forgotten. It happens to everyone. Celebrities are constantly reinventing themselves so they are not forgotten.
One thing I really want in life is to be remembered for what I write. I also want to stand in front of God on the judgment day and have Him tell me that souls were saved because my writing pricked their hearts. But I have to admit, I struggle with wanting to be great. Why do we want that so bad?
Vs 12-18-The heading in my Bible in front of these verses says-The futility of wisdom.
He says that he set his mind to find out everything he could about life. He says that he found that it is vain. He begins using another phrase, which he uses often-“striving after wind”. It has the same meaning as “vanity”. Remember the first verse, when he said that all is vanity? He is going to keep coming back to that point and he uses, “striving after wind” as a poetic way of saying that things are vain. Can you catch the wind? Have you ever tried? The next time you are outside on a windy day, reach out your hand and try to catch the wind. It will go right through it. I can’t explain how, but you can’t catch the wind. You can’t see it but you know it’s there, which leads me to think that people believe in the wind, even though they can’t see it but they don’t believe in God because they can’t see Him. They don’t have to alter their lives and answer to the wind, like they would God, and I am going to get off this soapbox now.
In verse 14, the wise man says he has seen everything done under the sun and it is vanity and striving after wind. He should know since he has seen everything. In verse 16, he says that he increased in wisdom more than all than were in Jerusalem before him, observing a lot of wisdom and knowledge. He is sort of telling us what he did before writing this book and why he is qualified to write this book. I think he is also saying that since he is qualified, maybe we should listen to him. He is kind of saying, “If you want to know about life and what it really means, follow me and I’ll show you.”
Vs 17-“Ad I set my mind to know wisdom and to know madness and folly; I realized that this also is striving after wind.”
I did want to single this verse out because I want to explain a couple of things that might be fuzzy. “Folly” is a really old word that means foolishness. “Madness” is being used as they say in Britain, “He is mad”, or crazy, not in the sense of being angry.
The wise man is saying that he wanted to know both ends of the spectrum-wisdom on one end and foolishness on the other.
Vs 18-“Because in much wisdom there is much grief, and increasing knowledge results in increasing pain.”
Have you ever felt this way? We have a saying today similar to his statement: “Ignorance is bliss”. Have you ever felt that the more you find out about life, the more miserable you are? Do you ever want to go back to being a kid, when life was much simpler and you didn’t know as much? I know I have. The more wisdom I gain, the more miserable I become and I really struggle with depression, especially since I am a writer and my mind never stops. I wish I could just put it on pause for a few minutes but no can do. Sometimes I get so tired of my own mind. ,you know what I mean?
Well, that’s it for Chapter 1 and as we go along, the wise man will have much wisdom to share with us. It does get happier as the book goes along and the wise man tells us how to deal with life. One advantage we have that he did not, is that he did not have the whole story. Jesus had not come yet and saved us from our sins, and revealed things to us about heaven and spending eternity with Him in heaven. Try to remember that as you read along and I will, too. I might remind you along the way to do so.
In Chapter 2, we will take a look at what all the writer did to achieve his wisdom and all of the things that he had, and what he found out about it.

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