Monday, December 9, 2013

VANITY OF VANITIES

Suggested Reading: Ecclesiastes 1-3

Click scripture link to read online or HERE to listen online (then click the symbol of the audio speaker above the scripture portion).

This is the monument to Pius VIII in St. Peter's Basilica in Vatican City, Italy. The Pope is shown kneeling, accompanied by a statue of Christ enthroned, with statues of Sts. Peter and Paul. Pius VIII was imprisoned in 1808 during the French domination of Italy for refusing to take the oath of allegiance to Napoleon. Napoleon, the Emperor of France, Europe, North Africa and much of the middle east, would probably agree with Solomon that "All is vanity," particularly if Napoleon was asked about his life from his imprisonment and exile during his later years.

GOOGLE MAPS – To see where the photo was taken, click HERE.

 

Key Verses: Ecclesiastes 1:2, 3:11

“Vanity of vanities,” says the Preacher;

“Vanity of vanities, all is vanity.”

…He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also He has put eternity in their hearts, except that no one can find out the work that God does from beginning to end.

 

We cannot help but notice the repetition “the Preacher” used for his desired emphasis. The word, “vanity” occurs 37 times. It means “useless” or “empty.” The “preacher” has tried all life has to offer. Worldly wisdom, works, women and wealth, as well as laughter and wine are all found to be empty. When these goals are reached, he finds only frustration. This can all be discouraging to us, his readers, unless we refer several times during our readings to chapter 12. We may want to read Solomon’s conclusions about life each day.

The word “time” is repeated 31 times in today’s reading. Time is short and there is no eternity on earth, but a ray of hope shines through with the statement that God “has put eternity in their hearts.” All anthropological studies done in every people group on earth prove that the human family is constantly reaching beyond ourselves and into eternity. The monument pictured above gets it right. Peter and Paul got it right. Pius seems to have gotten it right. Napoleon got it wrong, as is the case of everyone who seeks their ultimate values here and now in this life alone.

PRAYER FOR TODAY:

Lord God, I pray that I will live every moment of my life with eternity’s values in sight. As I grow older, may I grow up into Your love and truth. I ask for grace to keep the vain things of earth in their proper perspective, always seeking to use material possessions and human pursuits for eternal purposes. Thank You for putting “eternity” in my heart. I pray that eternal values will also be in my head, my consistent thoughts and decisions. In the Name of Your eternally existing Son, Father God, I ask these mercies, Amen!!!

100 PERSONAL WORDS:

Remember the TV show Hee Haw? I know one of the main characters personally. Gordy Tapp lives in London, Ontario, and is the son of Salvation Army officers. I have no doubt that when he and Roy Clarke sang of gloom, despair, etc., he knew about the book of Ecclesiastes. In fact, that song could’ve been lifted right out of this book. It was meant as comedy, of course, but then the essence of humour is the gap between what we know we should be (eternity in our hearts) and what the human condition is. Jesus bridges that gap, for we who believe in Him and seek Him daily. He places one hand on us and the other on God, and brings us together as one in Him.

I’m thinking again today of the late, great man, Nelson Mandela. He had such high hopes for his people. It must have been discouraging for him as reality set in and he observed the rampant corruption that has become epidemic in the South African government since he stepped aside from the presidency. He surely tried his best and I commend him for setting such a good example. I want to commend highly our former Prime Minister of Canada, the RT. Hon. Brian Mulroney, for taking the strongest stand of any world leader for doing what was right in South Africa prior to Mandela’s release from prison, and after. Mulroney withstood Britain’s Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher in his support of Mandela. God bless you former Canadian P.M. I’m proud of you!

Yours for filling the emptiness of life with the fulness of Christ!

David

P.S. Here’s the Hee Haw song I referred to (click here). While Solomon tells us that “laughter” accomplishes little, it is good for us. In Proverbs 17:22a, Solomon told us that, “A merry heart does good like a medicine.”

13 thoughts on “Monday, December 9, 2013

  1. I love your prayer this morning David, this I pray right along with you. We need to be ever mindful that this life is but a short journey and it’s what we do in the name of Jesus that will have eternal value. The humanistic world in which we live in today echoes much of the thoughts I read in Ecclesiastes, hopelessness abounds. Thankfully there’s no need for us to feel dejected in heart when reading these passages, for Christ reigns, and for those who know Him personally shall also live with Him eternity. Our faith gives us hope, it gives us an assurance and a security that transcends this life. Jesus saves … He saves to the uttermost! Praise His name indeed!

    • And again another AMEN!!!

      Thank you Pastor David for that heartfelt prayer, I make it mind as I say it out loud.

      Great thoughts too Scott as we see some around us running aimlessly about, but our faith brings us to the hope we have in Jesus Our Lord and Saviour.

      Blessings to all today.

  2. The Hee Haw song was hilarious and definately puts a sad perspective on “all is vanity” and “grasping at the wind!” James 4:14 comes to mind, “whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away.” Having an eternal spiritual perspective and values is all we can grasp and place our faith and hope in. Communicating with our Lord, while our Lord communicates with us, is the only hope we have as “we do not know God’s plan from beginning to end.” So may we put the spirit of Christ in Christmas within our hearts and not be caught up in rhetoric. Blessings and cheer, to all!

  3. In the NIV, the translator substatuted the word vanity for meaningless.
    I felt that the meaning had been altered so I looked up the word vanity in my
    Funk &Wagnalls Standard College Dictionary.
    It says 1. The condition or character of being vain ; excessive personal pride; conceit. 2. Ambitious display; ostentation; show.

    This is the context in wich I understood the meaning .It may also be true that vanity is useless but I don’t relate to that passage that way.
    The bible says pride cometh before the fall, there fore my thoughts related to that warning.
    Am I out in left field here?

    Also ….. even though Jesus was a teacher and preachers are indeed teachers, I
    feel that the word preacher would serv better to have remained preacher as in the NKJV and not be substatuted in the NIV because in the NKJV, it clearly reveals that the teacher was no ordinary teacher but rather was a man of God.

    You may say ….but the reader is reading the bible so it is obvious that the teacher is a preacher, how ever many times we see people using quotes from the bible, one liners , and that is when things can be taken out of context.

    What do you think David again am I out in left field?
    If so why?

    M.

  4. Nelson Mandella may have been a “great” leader, but if you check out his stance on abortion, it is so disappointing …he introduced a very liberal law that allowed many unborn babies to die in South Africa.

  5. The resemblance to the French Revolution and similar events before and since then with descriptions of the fall of the whore of Babylon are strong. Marie Antoinette and Louis XVI did not see it coming as if they said to themselves, I am a Queen and will always have privilege which I deserve. One day, she yells to Jacques, eat cake (this might have been a euphemism). The next she was his food. While she was not actually eaten, the belief is that the Jacques were forcing the their prisoners to eat their own families. Napoleon had power as a king for a short time but he was not supposed to be a king. Also, I saw a documentary that showed the burning if a priest or pope at the stake. At that time, he cursed the man who was responsible. That man died mysteriously a few days later. I don’t remember the identity because I only saw a few minutes of the documentary but it was during the French Revolution. Other events also resemble descriptions of the desolation if the whore. More recently, this includes the the Cuban Revolution; the fall of the Shaw of Iran; the fall Ceaucescu in Romania. The characters of each if these governments resembled the whore of Babylon and their destruction resemble hers. Yet, I am glad I am not of the beast that destroyed them. The wise will stick with God.

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