Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Recap On Vanity or We Can Have It All!

We are in the Book of Ecclesiastes in Sunday school. It tied in to what we consider important in life. It has come at a time when others and myself have been giving thought to simplifying our lives and homes and the accumulation of things we have.nlet me add, the loss of a family member has been another reminder of accumulating stuff as we go through to sort what has been left behind.

All that we have, all we have worked for will someday be meaningless. It's like the old saying, you can't take it with you. Or, you come into this world with nothing and leave with nothing. All the things we hold so dear might just mean nothing to the next person. We strive for all the worldly goods and accolades from others in this life. And why, is the question Solomon is bringing up. Why, when we can't take it with us? What's the point? 

Here's the point...one can have all the stuff in the world, a big house, nice car, greatest college education, high paying job, all that money can afford, and still not have it all and will never be satisfied. All the worldly pleasures. One only wants more. The stuff never satisfies. Think about it. Solomon had it all and this is what he narrowed it down to for us to realize...as an example. There's only one thing that satisfies. That is our relationship with God. Do we know Jesus? Do we have His Holy Spirit? This is what is meant by having it all. It all boils down to Jesus...as it should be.

I knew I had written something about Solomon and wisdom and what should really be important in our lives. I thought it was just days ago when it actually was two years ago! I will simply repost it because it pretty much added to the most recent thoughts.

October 2013
God Never Changes

Ecclesiastes 1:2 - “Vanity of vanities,” says the Preacher; “Vanity of vanities, all is vanity.”

Solomon, son of King David, was a wise man. Most of Solomon's life was lived in godliness. God granted him wisdom when he asked for it and because he asked only for wisdom, God granted him riches as well, which in the end was his downfall.

Solomon wrote the book of Ecclesiastes. This book was written as a reflection on the vanity of human life. It shows us how nothing is ever new but that all things have been done before. I began writing the other day about Psalm 100:5 - For the Lord is good; His mercy is everlasting, and His truth endures to all generations.

There is, in my mind, a connection between that psalm and Ecclesiastes! As I began to write my post for the other day (I wanted to let it rest before editing) I was going to discuss how since God has created all things, everything seems to fall into its own routine...in the life of the earth and human life. Seasons of life on earth and seasons of human life. They never change...and God never changes. He's the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. I guess I'm trying to say that because God never changes, His truth endures forever, that which has been done is what will be. Why the Bible is an excellent guide into seeing what has been done in the past has been repeated...and what the outcomes are.

So Solomon sought wisdom and came to the conclusion all is vanity, that which has been is what will be, that which is done is what will be done, and there is nothing new under the sun (Ecclesiastes 1:9). God never changes.

God's plan all along was for all generations to seek Him and believe, trust and have faith in Him. He has not changed. Sadly, man wants to believe in himself before God. Sadly, also, that is nothing new 

under the sun! His desire will remain the same till the Lord returns.

So, it is vain to think we can live our lives without knowing God. It is vain to think our lives are fine without any thought or obedience to Him. That, as Ecclesiastes tells us:

Whatever my eyes desired I did not keep from them. I did not withhold my heart from any pleasure, for my heart rejoiced in all my labor; and this was my reward from all my labor. Then I looked on all the works that my hands had done and on the labor in which I had toiled; and indeed all was vanity and grasping for the wind. There was no profit under the sun. (Ecclesiastes 2:10-11) Later he says, He who loves silver will not be satisfied with silver; nor he who loves abundance, with increase. (Ecclesiastes 5:10).

Oh my. So what is life all about if all we desire, all pleasures of our labors is not at all profitable in the end? And neither has it been for anyone in life? What is all this? What do we do?

Ecclesiastes continues by telling us that we should enjoy what we have, enjoy our life...but not without first knowing and believing that God has given us all we have. And if He has given it, it can be taken away...why it is important to know He is our greatest reward, not all we achieve or store up in the world.

I know, you can't put a finger on what is most valuable that He has to give. You can't hold it in your hand or look at it to admire it. Well, we are told that faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen (Hebrews 11:1). Maybe that's why many do not trust the Lord. They want what they can hold, see, smell, taste. God wants us to trust Him, not self.

If one is willing to give himself over to Him, there is a true presence, contentment, peace and joy. It cannot be explained. It's a spiritual knowing. Minds discern and eyes see things differently. Hearts long not for the things of the world but the things of God. All the stuff one has might be seen as part 

of those things eyes desired, the pleasures of labor...which when one has received those desires one is quickly dissatisfied with and something new must replace it. A perpetual grasping for the wind??? God gives good things. Wouldn't it be better to receive His good things instead?

Solomon goes on to reveal more of God's truths (Ecclesiastes 3)...to everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under the heaven. You know the old song...a time to live and a time to die...a time to plant and a time to reap... Plus, He has made everything beautiful in its time. Oh, those seasons, those lives I was about to write about. Those things God, who never changes, has created.

I know that whatever God has done or does, it shall be forever. Nothing can be added to nor taken from it. God does it, that men should fear before Him. That which is has already been, and what is to be has already been; and God requires an account of what is past. (Ecclesiastes 3:14-15)

This book reminds us all that God gives and takes away. He brings us into this world, like He does the seasons. They come, they go. The sun rises and sets, as does the moon. He controls all things. We can conclude that wisdom is a good thing...God's wisdom the best...and we should be thankful for what we have and acknowledge God in the process. Enjoy what we have but realize it's not all about our stuff, which can still leave us unsatisfied...and which God can take away. Be of proper mind to let it go if necessary.

There will always be rich and poor, oppressed and blessed. Our fates are equal. We die taking nothing with us. But where we end up after death is what is important. Rich and poor, oppressed and blessed can all be assured of their end if they look to God now. As Solomon says, 4:9-10: Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their labor. For if they fall, one will lift up his companion. But woe to him who is alone when he falls, for he has no one to help him up. If we have the Lord with us, we have that One who will lift us up.

Everything is still always about God. Start with Him, gain His wisdom, receive the good things He has to offer. Proverb 21:21 states He who follows righteousness and mercy finds life, righteousness, and honor. See, it is attainable...in God's way, the best way.

Receive His gift of salvation...now...because life can be taken away in a moment's notice...and what good does it do to strive for so much without acknowledging Him? We long to live longer to enjoy more when God knows the actual number of our days...so we should be right with God before it's too late.

Besides the greatest gift of salvation through Jesus Christ, we can receive His wisdom. Through both of these we will know what is beneficial. Nothing of God is a mistake or disappointment. Trust Him with our lives and with all He gives us. Solomon figured it all out for us. His words were written for our understanding and guidance. It all begins and ends with God. In Genesis He created the world; in Revelation He destroys all wickedness and returns to reign in peace and holiness.

He has shown us what He desires. He has shown us that wisdom is greater than stuff. He has shown those who seek wisdom what is important...it's all about Him. Seek Him and all "real" life may be yours, in difficult times or good. It is His miracle worked out in us.

All throughout this book Solomon shows us, like he does in his proverbs, the difference between the wise man and the fool, the one who seeks God and the one who does not believe that God provides all the answers. God gives and takes away; He is the Judge of our sin; He determines where we go on our last day. Jesus also told us not to worry about our lives (Matthew 6:25-34)...these words of wisdom are understood by true believers.

Ecclesiastes 12:13-14 - Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God and keep His commandments, for this is man’s all. For God will bring every work into judgment, including every secret thing, whether good or evil.

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