In recent months, the book of Ecclesiastes seems to be taking over my life.
Ecclesiastes all around.
My pastor has been doing a series on Ecclesiastes, I’m going through a devotional book by Dee Brestin about Ecclesiastes (titled: A Woman of Contentment, I encourage you ladies to get it from Amazon), A Time to Die had some not-so-subtle Ecclesiastes themes (there was even a guy called “The Preacher” in it).
All around me the brevity and vanity of life has come up. Why?
Perhaps it’s because near the beginning of 2014 I reread Ecclesiastes for the first time in a long time and actually absorbed the words. I was thoroughly convinced that Solomon had gone off the deep end in his old age. At that point, I was confused as to why the Lord put such a depressing, confusing book in the Bible.
Or perhaps it was that I needed a good sound thwack about how little time I have here.
The first bit of clarity concerning this book was back in June during a car ride with Grandma and Grandpa Fawcett (my mom’s parents). Grandpa was just finishing up a Sunday school class about Ecclesiastes (I did mention that it was coming up everywhere, right?), and when I my response was, “Wow.”, he chuckled. And then he told me something that suddenly cleared all the muddy water: the key phrase in Ecclesiastes is “under the sun”. “Under the sun” meaning that everything done apart from God, everything accomplished or toiled for without Him in the picture, is completely meaningless (I suppose everyone knows this, but I was a little behind).
The word “vanity” that is used over and over again in Ecclesiastes is the Hebrew word “hebel” (thanks, Pastor Steve and the footnotes of my Bible); “hebel” literally means “mist”, “vapor”, or “mere breath”. So, in the end, Solomon proved that even after falling away from God and not loving Him with his whole heart, he still had wisdom to share. After pursuing many other things that he hoped would give him satisfaction, he found that nothing that does not have God’s hand in it will stand any longer than a mere breath.
I have a nasty habit of wasting time, and, as we all know, once used, time cannot be taken back, used again, or redeemed. Maye this deluge of Ecclesiastes has been so that I get a grip and start doing something. As I mentioned before, Solomon said that anything done apart from God will not stand. Maybe this has all been to bring what is transient and what is eternal into focus.
God probably gave me an Ecclesiastes avalanche for both reasons: because I didn’t understand it and because I needed (need, actually, present tense, I still need the thwack multiple times a day. As Parvin Blackwater says in A Time to Die: “It’s difficult rebelling against my former habit of wasting time.“) to understand it.
You can read Ecclesiastes here.
You can find A Time To Die here.
Have a blessed week! :) :)