The words of the preacher, the son of David, the king in Jerusalem.
“Vanity of vanities,” says the preacher, “
“Vanity of vanities! Everything is imagination. “
What is the advantage of people in all of their work?
What is he doing under the sun?
A generation goes and a generation comes
But the earth stays forever.
If there was ever a book in the Bible that is relevant today (and of course all), it is the Book of Preachers. Vanity, vanity everything is vanity. It feels that way sometimes. Perhaps it is simply the self-imposed “home accommodation” a.k.a. Quarantine that reaches me. But life looks different on this side of an economic crisis, a medical epidemic and a global pandemic.
Vanity (used five times in verse 2) is the Hebrew word Havel. It means breath, steam, vain, senseless, empty. Life is just a steam or a breath. It often seems to be vain or without a reason or purpose. It can feel fleeting and therefore senseless. The reason why it seems so is because it is … At least that’s a way of perceiving life.
Fortunately, there is another point of view that reduces the reality of temporary vanity and perceives the ultimate victory.
It is true that man is like one breath (Psalm 62:10, 144: 4; Job 7:16), and it is true that life under the sun can ultimately appear without a definitive purpose. (Eccl. 2: 11,17, 3:19, 12: 8) But mark it well, the Lord our God is there and he is not silent. His goal is to restore creation, redeem people, restore order, and return to rule and rule.
Don’t miss the end of Preacher:
When everything has been heard, the conclusion is: fear God and keep His commandments, because this applies to everyone. Because God will judge every action, everything that is hidden, whether it is good or bad. (12:14)
Martin Luther had two days on his calendar: Today and That Day. We live today under the corruption of the curse and in the shadow of sin. We live between the day of ruin and the day of restoration. We sometimes wait anxiously but always faithfully for this day – the coming of the Lord.
Today we live on the clock that is passing from moment to moment while waiting for a cure for the virus and redemption in the financial market. But we also have to live by a compass that, regardless of how we feel, points to what we know. And we know that God is too kind to be cruel and too wise to ever make a mistake.
If we can trust him in the last hour, we can trust him in the next minute.
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