May 12, 2020
The words of the Preacher, the son of David, king in Jerusalem. 2 Vanity of vanities, says the Preacher, vanity of vanities! All is vanity. 3 What does man gain by all the toil at which he toils under the sun?
This week, Pastor Grant begins a new sermon series working through the Old Testament book of Ecclesiastes, with its troubling refrain of “all is vanity and a striving after wind” (Ecclesiastes 1:14, 1:17, 2:11, 2:17, 2:26, 4:4, 4:6, 4:16, 6:9). Paired with this meditation on the folly of human striving apart from the grace of God, we’ll read scriptures from Matthew and Isaiah which contrast the fleeting quality of human prosperity (“What will it profit a man if he gains the whole world”; “The grass withers, the flower fades”) with God’s eternal nature (“The Word of our God shall stand forever”). The hymns My God My Portion And My Love, Glorious Things Of Thee Are Spoken, and Give Me Jesus also bring out this contrast: “There’s nothing here deserves my joys, there’s nothing like my God,” “Fading is the worldling’s pleasure,” “You can have all this world: give me Jesus.” Though it often paints a bleak picture, Ecclesiastes ends with a different emphasis: “Fear God and keep His commandments, for this is the whole duty of man.” If we walk in His ways, our toil will not be in vain (Blest The Man Who Fears Jehovah—Psalm 128). Though we wither and perish like autumn leaves (Immortal, Invisible, God Only Wise), we can rest on the truth that God is unchanging. —Henry C. Haffner
Key Words: Preacher, Vanity, Vanities, All, Gain, Toil
Keystone Verse: Vanity of vanities! All is vanity. (Ecclesiastes 1:2)