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The Sojourner Blog

Is Your Life Empty?

Posted by Steven Light on with 1 Comments

“Vanity of vanities, says the Preacher, vanity of vanities!  All is vanity.”  So begin Solomon’s words in the book of Ecclesiastes.  He was the man who had it all; the richest king of Jerusalem (2:9), having enjoyed every pleasure imaginable (2:10), having succeeded in project after project (2:4), having searched out wisdom and learning beyond any previous king (1:16).  But at the bottom of it, nothing could fulfill.  He found himself despairing of lasting meaning, joy, and purpose (3:20). 

After all, he had come to see that the cycles of nature go on and on but man fades away and is forgotten (1:11).  The wise dies just like the fool (2:16).  Often what you have is left to someone who did not work for it (2:21).  Work is full of difficulty, sorrow, and vexation (2:22-23).  Moreover, there is institutional evil (3:16), oppression is rampant (4:1), and so much of human behavior is driven by greed (4:4).  Fame is fleeting (4:16), love of money leads to dissatisfaction when you get it (5:10), emotions perish with you (9:6), and the same event happens to the righteous and the wicked (9:2), ultimately death.

If you have felt that life is hollow, then you have joined the company of Solomon who described the state of things “under the sun” (1:3).  You are feeling the reality of a fallen world in which man has been cursed to return to the dust from which he came (Genesis 3:19); a world in which sin has entered, and therefore death (Romans 5:12). 

Solomon presses us to be honest about this life “under the sun.”  Most people would prefer not to.  But Solomon does not press this in order to drive us to despair.  Rather, he wants us to have true joy, meaning, and purpose (2:26).

To find such firm footing in this fallen world “under the sun,” one must lift up their eyes over the sun by the word of God.  One must come to know God, who “has made everything beautiful in its time” (3:11) and whose works endure forever (3:14) unlike our fleeting lives.  When one comes to know the living God through Jesus Christ, this world of “vanity” is suddenly flooded with meaning, joy, and beauty of eternal quality.  May you learn from Solomon.


Bryson Hoobler January 26, 2019 6:40pm

Good word Brother. A few months ago, I was challenged by another aspect of Ecclesiastes. Like Solomon, we all know that we are mortal, but long to be immortal. (3:11). God hardwires is to long for something which only He can provide, that we might revere Him.