Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Vanity, Vanity

Submitted by Lara Cook
Vanity of vanities, says the Preacher, vanity of vanities! All is vanity. What does man gain by all the toil at which he toils under the sun?  Ecclesiastes 1:2-3

The definition of vanity is Vapor.  Solomon, in all his wisdom, had much to impart to us about life from some of the lessons he learned.  The word vanity is used 37 times in the book of Ecclesiastes.  In this book, he is really telling his story of how he tried to find fulfillment in all the wrong places.  He was a king, with unlimited fortune and influence.  He had seven hundred wives, princesses, and three hundred concubines.  God blessed Solomon with wisdom, which he didn’t always use wisely in decision making. When he became King, he got way off track, choosing to disobey God.  
In Deuteronomy 17:14-20, God had given only three clear instructions for kings: no amassing of horses, no multiplying of wives, and no accumulating of silver and gold.  These commands were in place so that no king would trust in military might, follow foreign Gods, or depend on their own wealth instead of God.  Clearly Solomon didn’t follow the rules and he suffered great consequences.  
Solomon was living it up.  He was king and had all that he wanted at his disposal.  God didn’t force Solomon to obey and He doesn’t force us to obey either. He lays out His will and equips us, expecting us to obey.  He equipped Solomon with wisdom and set His will before him.  Solomon learned the hard way, like we do at times as well.  He found out that life without God, no matter how much wealth or other things you accumulate, is no life at all.  He came to the understanding that everything we work for here on earth is fleeting.  It is a vapor and it all goes away, but life in Jesus Christ is forever. Earthly pleasures are pure vanity, a vapor, empty.  
One lesson Solomon learned is that he spent a lot of money and time on things and people that were not God honoring and, in the end, didn’t even matter.  He urges us to think about the end when we are living our lives, toiling under the sun.  We need to be good stewards of the gifts God gives us, our time, and what He equips us to carry out.  
Life is short.  Let’s all learn a lesson from Solomon so we can spare ourselves of some of the same self-destructive behaviors.  Seek God first, for everything else in life promises to disappoint, and what a great waste of time and energy!  Spend your life wisely and focus on the end result, your relationship with Jesus Christ and an eternity that will not disappear like a vapor. 
Scripture to Claim:The end of the matter; all has been heard. Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man. For God will bring every deed into judgment, with every secret thing, whether good or evil.  Ecclesiastes 12:13-14

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