Solomon addresses himself as “the Preacher”. He is the one that will proclaim the spritiual truths of God to those in his nation and to Christians throughout time.
Keep in mind, Solomon learned these truths by trying to find the meaning to life through experiencing all this world has to offer. Solomon was uniquely suited to learn these lessons and share these truths with the people of God…
First of all, very few men possess sufficient wealth and power to be able to sample all this world has to offer (1 Kings 10:23).
Secondly, only Solomon and a few others throughout time, have been universally respected causing his teachings to be taken very seriously and thoughtfully by all (1 Kings 4:30-34). (Keep in mind, even Christ Himself and His teachings were rejected by many of those around Him.)
Solomon was God’s man, in God’s place, at God’s time, by God’s grace, to learn this most important truth and proclaim it with authority to those he loved. May we all listen carefully as Solomon reveals to us the true meaning to life and answer the question… “What Is Our Life If Not Lived for The Lord ?”.
Eccl 1:1-2 – “The words of the Preacher, the son of David, king in Jerusalem. Vanity of vanities, saith the Preacher, vanity of vanities; all is vanity. What profit hath a man of all his labour which he taketh under the sun?”
The words of the Preacher, the son of David, king in Jerusalem.
Ecclesiastes contains for us the written words of King Solomon, as he searches for the true meaning to life. In this book, we will be reading about the events of Solomon’s life which led him to the answer to this very difficult question, and also the answer Solomon was shown by God as his life drew to a close.
Vanity of vanities, saith the Preacher, vanity of vanities; all is vanity.
The word for “vanity” throughout the book of Ecclesiastes is translated from a Hebrew word that describes something that is short-lived and possesses no lasting value. A good example of this would be an air bubble in water which quickly rises to the top and then explodes leaving nothing behind.
When words are immediately repeated it is to emphasize the words meaning. For example “king of kings” (Dan 2:37) emphasizes the ruling authority of Nebuchadnezzar who, at the time, was the most powerful ruler of all the kings that existed. Also “servant of servants” (Gen 9:25) described Cain who, due to the curse placed upon him, who was condemned to hold a position of servitude beneath all of his brothers without exception.
When Solomon speaks about this world and everything in it are “vanity of vanities”, he is stating that this world and all it contains, without exception, is completely short lived and without any lasting value whatsoever.
What profit hath a man of all his labour which he taketh under the sun?”
Because this world and its offerings are thoroughly void of lasting value and purpose, Solomon then draws the logical conclusion that all our worldly labors, that which occurs under this sun, is of no profit to us.
The idea behind Solomon’s statement is very similar to the well-known saying that “we can’t take it with us”. In other words, why should we labor to accrue that which we cannot take with us (is only temporal and it holds no lasting value for us).
In this opening portion of Ecclesiastes, a loving Solomon states for us the reason why Ecclesiastes is written. It is a warning from Solomon that, hopefully, will save us all from living a life that is wasted, empty, and vain.
When our lives center upon the accumulation of wealth, power, and fame that this world has to offer, our lives have been lived in vain. Any benefits we may receive from these offerings of the world will be short-lived and, in the end, will disappear like the bubble that exploded at the top of the water.
In our next segment of the book Solomon will continue to explain the worthlessness of this world’s offerings and the need turn our eyes from them.
May the Lord continue to bless our time in His Word as we seek to live in pursuit of that which holds lasting and eternal value for all of us.
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