Ecc 1: 2 “Vanity of vanities,” says the Preacher; “Vanity of vanities, all is vanity.”
3 What profit has a man from all his labor In which he toils under the sun?
As we celebrated year 2017, I begin to understand Solomon’s declaration that essentially all that we do is in vain if indeed is for the now and no connection to an eternal purpose.
At the end of our lives, we all will die (Ecc 3:19) and in a way no different than animals. We may have a better life than others who toil day and night to gather the harvest, the peasants to give to the rich (Ecc 2:26), but this again is also vanity and the grasping of the air because soon both will die. There is also deep injustice where the just and righteous man dies even sooner than those who does injustice (Ecc 7:15), the good man often suffers but not the evil person.
ECC 3:1 To everything there is a season, A time for every purpose under heaven:
2 A time to be born, And a time to die; A time to plant, And a time to pluck what is planted;
3 A time to kill, And a time to heal; A time to break down, And a time to build up;
What is the year 2017 going to be? There is always a time and a season. There was a time when there was a great move for GLBT churches in Asia a decade ago. Where are they now? actually there is little change, not much growth in the GLBT churches in many Asian countries, nothing much to show for despite being the only gay church in an entire city/nation of many millions. It is sad, because the time to plant, and the build up was so precious and amazing with great people having come and gone. The time is over.
Surely, many people have been blessed, but the season to build, the season to outreach the Gospel message of God’s grace to the GLBT community by those churches is over because they did not take up the baton being too preoccupied with a narrow agenda which takes away the centrality of Jesus Christ as the way, the truth and the life to God. Many simply did not believe Jesus as God and Savior making their works simply vanity. I saw the many who came and left, for they were not looking for Elohim but Yahweh, a personnel God and Savior. Many GLBT churches have simply become just good places of fellowship for the elites.
Again, all this is vanity.
ECC 5:1 Walk prudently when you go to the house of God; and draw near to hear rather than to give the sacrifice of fools, for they do not know that they do evil.
2 Do not be rash with your mouth, And let not your heart utter anything hastily before God. For God is in heaven, and you on earth; Therefore let your words be few.
Solomon was the smartest person on earth, yet like many people of intellect, in some ways, he was foolish. He maintained the worship and sacrifices in the House of God but did not walk in circumspect because he also sacrificed to the temple of other gods of his many many wives. Hence, he did evil by not walking on the straight path. In many GLBT churches, we say all the various gods and faiths lead to the same creator God. Essentially, we are like fools sacrificing to other gods and therefore make our sacrifice before the God of Israel ineffective as we put Him on par with other spiritual deities. This is again vanity not knowing that we do evil.
And the cause of it is being too smart, attending bible colleges, talking too much in our volumes of theology about God, being rash with what we proclaim as truth which is simply based on a self centered humanistic theology rather than being revealed by God in Jesus Christ who became flesh, the mystery no longer an unknown distant God. God with us, the amazing Cross of Calvary, the door of Christ death and resurrection where we can draw near to God to hear, rather than be rash in our words.
At the end of it, what matters is a quiet and contrite heart before the God of heaven and earth, having passed through the veil into the holy of holies to see the Ark of the Covenant, which is Jesus Christ personified, shielding within the judgement of the law for our sins by His blood through grace.
ECC 12:1 Remember now your Creator in the days of your youth,
Before the difficult days come, And the years draw near when you say,
“I have no pleasure in them”:
We will grow old one day, when we have seen it all, and even our desire to live is not joyous. At the end of his life, Solomon realised that many of the things he did was foolish and in vain. He remembered the times of his youth when he had sought God and knew his presence, the God of David who gave him the gift of knowledge and wisdom which ironically led him away from God by talking too much, ie life became centered on King Solomon rather than listening to God.
Therefore in this year 2017, it is important to remember and cherish the walk with our Father in heaven, the once quiet communion we had with Jesus Christ, when we seem so close to God, when Jesus was seemingly so close and present. Solomon was before the coming of Jesus. He knew God from afar off. But we know God personally as a child of God through Jesus Christ. The blessings of Abraham which Solomon had is ours as well if indeed we see ourselves as a spiritual seed of Abraham grafted through Jesus Christ.
At the end, for year 2017, it is a walk with Jesus Christ, to sit in the house of God in quiet reflection and learning and listening rather than talking too much, for at the end, all our talking and even our lives are vanity outside the presence and will and purposes of God.
Vanity of vanities is our life.