2 “Vanity of vanities,” says the Preacher,
“Vanity of vanities! All is vanity.” Ecclesiastes 1:2 (NAS)
It’s a dangerous thing to embark on a study of Solomon’s best seller Ecclesiastes. You need to go in expecting your mind to be altered, and your hopes to be dashed. If you’re used to chasing windmills, expect to chase a few more. It’s the ultimate self-help book if you let it be. He hits you upfront between the eyes. All is meaningless. All is futility. All is vanity. The caveat. Under the sun. If you’re searching for God you’ll not find him down here. He’s got the penthouse.
The Preacher writes about the horizontal, our natural habitat. On the other hand, God lives above it all. We seek desperately to live above it, but we desperately fall short. We seek an advantage and none is gained. Life comes and goes. We want it to stay. We want the gentle breeze to be at our backs, but we keep turning into it. We want an endless refill, but we’re drained dry. But in the end, we’ll get the point—hopefully—that seeking God in life’s things will always disappoint. Always.
When we finally throw in the towel and give up, we’ll have learned the secret. Eat, drink, be merry, love the wife of your youth, love the endless toil, and fear God. This is the Holy Grail? Yes, especially the last thing. It’s the only way to live above it all.