Ecclesiastes: Vanity of Vanities
|The Preacher’s Subject, |
|The Preacher’s Sermon, |
|The Preacher’s Summary, |
|He states his text, 1:1-2||Some of the things he had sought, 1:12-2:26||He repeats his complaint about life, 11|
|He states his topic, 1:3-11||Some of the things he had seen, 3:1-6:12||He relates his conclusions about life, 12|
|Some of the things he had studied, 7-10|
- The Preacher (Solomon, 1:12-13)
- Vanity of vanities, all is vanity
- Grasping for the wind
- Nothing new under the sun
- Fear God
- A gift from God
- Futility of life without God
- Fear God
- Enjoy life
Ecclesiastes is a difficult book to read, as it appears to present a very pessimistic outlook on life, and one could easily become discouraged reading it.
The author is stressing the nature of “life under the sun,” life apart from God. If God is taken out of the equation, life is most distressing and futile. This futility is seen in the oft repeated phrases “vanity of vanities” (the word vanity occurs 35 times in the Old Testament, 33 of those occurrences being in Ecclesiastes); and “grasping for the wind” (the phrase occurs 9 times in this book).
But the Preacher does not leave this as his final word. Interspersed throughout are references to life and labour as a gift from God (2:24-25; 3:12-13); and he says that life is to be enjoyed (cp. 1 Tim. 6:17). Five times the Preacher encourages us to “fear God” (8:12-13; 12:13).