This may come across as a little odd, but my favorite book in the Old Testament is Ecclesiastes. I love this little book because it makes me think harder, and therefore it exercises my mind.
Not only does it exercise my mind, but it helps us to understand the world and events happening in the world better. As the preacher says, “What has been is what will be, and what has been done is what will be done, and there is nothing new under the sun” (Eccl. 1:9 ESV).
Interestingly, nothing is new. Everything that has happened is going to happen again. Yes, there may indeed be new techniques and inventions that do it a little differently, but the point remains that “there is nothing new under the sun.”
Under the sun are the words we must look at in this little book: them and the many uses of vanity, vain, or vanities. What we will soon realize is that life under the sun, lived as if that is all, is vain and a waste.
This life is nothing but mere vain existence if we live it as if it is all that matters. That is if we live here as if there is not something above heaven or the sun. I argue this point because we see the preacher say thirty-one times the term under the sun, or under heaven, and vain, vanity, or vanities is said thirty-six times. This comprises a large amount of the book.
He points out that life under the sun is vain and pointless if we do not see that there is more than this. He tells us that God “has put eternity into the man’s heart” (3:11). Also, he has written, “It is the same for all, since the same event happens to the righteous and the wicked, to the good and the evil, to the clean and the unclean, to him who sacrifices and him who does not sacrifice. As the good one is, so is the sinner, and he who swears is as he who shuns an oath. This is an evil in all that is done under the sun, that the same event happens to all. Also, the hearts of the children of man are full of evil, and madness is in their hearts while they live, and after that, they go to the dead” (Eccl. 9:2-3).
Everyone will die one day regardless of their standing or what they have done. What good or value was what they did in this life if there is not an eternal home after it? It was vain and useless under the sun because they did not seek out the eternity that is placed in their hearts.
If all that is done is for the here and now, or maybe to their future here, that one needs to hear this advice from the preacher, “I hated all my toil in which I toil under the sun, seeing that I must leave it to the man who will come after me, and who knows whether he will be wise or a fool? Yet he will be master of all for which I toiled and used my wisdom under the sun. This also is vanity. So I turned about and gave my heart up to despair over all the toil of my labors under the sun, because sometimes a person who has toiled with wisdom and knowledge and skill must leave everything to be enjoyed by someone who did not toil for it. This also is vanity and a great evil” (Eccl. 2:18-21).
The work one does that is left behind for another is useless because they do not care what you did. They will take it and say it is theirs for the same glory you were seeking. You may have used wisdom and hard work to do it, but they will take it as theirs.
If we are only working with the thinking that this life is all and we think when we die, our purpose was to leave behind a legacy for others, we are sadly mistaken. This life has meaning only when we live with a view that we are under the sun but that we are living for the one who created the sun. Who sent the Son.
If we live under the sun with a view to eternity, a view that is placed in our hearts, then this life will no longer be vain and pointless. We will see it in a whole new light. We will love the Lord and others and live for Him and them. We will desire to see people saved and loving the Lord. We will not allow the same old tired events that are not new to bring us down. We will live life to the fullest and love it because it is a gift from God, and when this life is over, we will really begin to live. Live a life that is above the sun. A life that is everlasting in everlasting joy and glory.
So I ask that none let this world that is stuck on repeat to bring them down. It is terrible out there, but we have He who is stronger and more prominent than it all in our corner. And if you do not have Him, I say just as Paul did to the Philippian jailer, “Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and you shall be saved” (Acts 16:31). He came and suffered and died and rose again for the forgiveness of our sins. He did the work, so you don’t have to. Believe today and receive everlasting life and fill that spot in your heart that craves eternity. Jesus will do it, and then this life under the sun will no longer be vain but excellent and good.