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The Sojourner Blog

How to Enjoy Your Brief Life

Posted by Steven Light on

“Enjoy life with the wife whom you love, all the days of your vain life that he has given you under the sun…” (Ecclesiastes 9:9) Who would disagree with encouragement to enjoy your life?  But why does Solomon throw that word “vain” in there? 

“Vain” in Ecclesiastes has the sense of “fleeting” or “vapor-like.”We will soon return to the dust. “Well that is a depressing thought!” you may say.  But rightly understood it is nothing of the sort.

This chapter began with a problem.  Who can tell where they stand with God?  “Whether it is love or hate, man does not know…” (Ecclesiastes 9:1).  What is God’s disposition toward you?  The same event happens to both the righteous and the wicked (verse 2). So your comfortable middle class life is no assurance that you are on God’s good side.  (The abuser lives that same comfortable life after all.)Furthermore, the human heart is really quite wicked (verse 3).  And finally there is this:  death is coming.  We will all be forgotten and even our emotions will be swept away (verses 3-6). 

These facts should leave a person troubled.  God’s word constantly is pressing in this direction.  In fact, from start to end, one of the main questions of the Bible is, “How can a person get right with God?”  Based on the facts, you should not be encouraged.  Where do you stand?  Eternity hangs on this question, friend.

But then there is this surprising statement: “Go, eat your bread with joy, and drink your wine with a merry heart, for God has already approved what you do.”  (9:7)  How can he say that?  This word is to the believer; the one who has faith in the Messiah.  That person is counted righteous in God’s sight because of the righteousness of Jesus Christ.  He is accepted.  Gloriously.  He is right with God.

And that brings us full circle.  When someone is right with God, they have the most profound reason to rejoice.  Even in light of the brevity of life.  Especially in light of the brevity of life!  Soon you will see God.  And if you are right with him, it will be glorious.  Rejoice, you who believe and enjoy your vain life.

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