Vanity: The Diagnosis and the Antidote

April 17, 2013 at 10:53 am | Posted in Ecclesiastes | 3 Comments
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The Book of Ecclesiastes is – in my opinion – one of the more difficult books in the Bible to teach. Many of its proclamations seem troubling and paradoxical in light of New Testament revelation. However, when understood in the proper context, it is an extremely edifying book, and, like all Scripture, it is immensely profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, and for instruction in righteousness. It also contains its own helpful thematic summation:

Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man.

Ecclesiastes 12:13

Our earthly life is both temporary, and, in some respects, vain, but it is also valuable and of eternal significance. It is a gift from our Creator, and we must be good stewards of it.

For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil.

Ecclesiastes 12:14

Three solid principles for Christians to remember each day are: Fear God, obey God, and prepare to meet God.

The antidote to Ecclesiastes’ diagnosis of “vanity of vanities, all is vanity” is:

Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.

I Corinthians 15:58 (emphasis added)

Here are links to the previous lessons on the Book of Ecclesiastes:

1. Contextual Wisdom
2. Nothing New under the Sun
3. Darkness Under the Sun
4. Break It Up!
5. Right Where You’re Supposed to Be
6. Do Birds Sing about Eternity?
7. Good Timing
8. Order in a Fallen World
9. Beware of Foolhardy Finagling
10. Working for a Living
11. Fresh, Frail, or Fruitful?
12. Two Kinds of Heart Medication
13. Don’t Ruin Your Name
14. Would You Rather? (Wisdom of Solomon Edition) (*)
15. Don’t Lose Your Balance
16. Accurate Timing
17. The Best Laid Plans of Mice and Men
18. Fooling or Ruling?
19. A Fly in the Ointment
20. His Heart Was in the Right Place
21. A Little Bird Told Me
22. Fortifying the Fulcrum
23. Indulgent, Incompetent, or Industrious?
24. Life’s Big Adventure
25. Under the Sun vs. Over the Sun

* most-read post in series

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3 Comments »

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  1. […] I suspect that this is what Peter was expressing in Luke 5:5. If he had spent all night catching fishing instead of fruitlessly lowering and raising empty nets, he would have been a little more eager to do as Jesus asked. However, the “nevertheless” which Peter speaks forth without any further urging is a good reminder to us to heed the words of Christ even when they may not be to our liking at the moment. “Toil” is not our preferred word for describing the work of our Lord, but neither is it an excuse for goldbricking. The Christian life ought to be a life of service, and service can make us weary, but, thankfully, we serve a kind and loving Master, and our spiritual labors, unlike our physical labors, will never be in vain. […]

  2. I really enjoyed your post and I re blogged it today.

  3. […] Vanity: The Diagnosis and the Antidote […]


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