Title: Life is too precious.

Text: Ecclesiastes1:1-11

By Rev.Taisuke Usui

Prepared Hymn: I need Thee / Key A#

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Today I want to deal with life

 

Here is the word— to read Ecclesiastes1:1-11

 

“Vanity of Vanities” It is the beginning words of the Book of Ecclesiastes. My bible is New King James version. So it says “Vanity of Vanities” On the other hands, in the Bible of New International version, this word was translated to “Meaningless! Meaningless!”

The word used in Hebrew here is hebel. It means “vapor” like fog, mist, steam, smoke, like the dew drop on the parch car front in the summer time. It appears and disappears immediately. 

 

And other meanings and usage in the Hebrew Bible of this word, hebel, are meaningless, vapid, in vain, false, foolish, fleeting”

From the beginning, this book is filled with the atmosphere of gloom, depression, darkness, no hope, no future, no peace. It seems the author tried to describe how life is in vain.

At the last part, the author concluded with positive matters “Fear God and keep His commandments, For this is the man’s all. For God will bring every work into judgment, including every secret thing, whether good or bad”

But it is obvious that this conclusion is not the main theme of this Book because it is only 2 verses in whole 222 verses of this book. After all, we concluded that this Book’s main purpose is to describe how life is in vain.

 

About authorship, there are many arguments. Some scholars say “It was written in the late history of Israel or pre-Maccabeam period, not the time of Solomon era.” Some says “It was written by some authors, not one author” But if we follow the Bible, the author introduce by himself as the king of Israel, son of David. So it is not strange that we identify that the author is King Solomon, the greatest king in Israel history. It is said that he wrote it at his old age. His life was filled with success, honor and glory but through his life, his conclusion is the life is meaningless.

 

 

<Note> The Maccabean Revolt was a conflict, lasting from 167 to 160 BC, between a Judean rebel group known as the Maccabees and the Seleucid Empire. In the narrative of I Maccabees, after Antiochus issued his decrees forbidding Jewish religious practice, a rural Jewish priest from Modiin, Mattathias the Hasmonean, sparked the revolt against the Seleucid Empire by refusing to worship the Greek gods.

 

 

Now let us consider the author of this book, Solomon. Who is Solomon? What did he do?

Let us explore the features of his life.

Here are some points.

 

No1.He was loved by God in born.

He is son of David by Bathsheba and the Lord gave him a special names: Jedidaih meaning “Beloved of the Lord” So from the beginning, his life is filled with the air of greatness and destiny. He also dedicated the God with all his hearts in his young age.

 

No2. He was wisest in this world.

His wise does not come from something. It came from God himself.

God himself declared to Solomon “I have given you a wise and understanding heart and there has not been anyone like you before you and arise you” (1King3:12)

He governed his kingdom with his wisdom and the nation of Israel reached its golden age.

 

No3. He was most successful man.

He succeeded to build the God’s temple and God said “My eyes and My heart will be there perpetually” (1King9:3c). Nobody could not achieve in the Israel history except him.

It is 876 feet length, 272 feet width; 438 feet tall building overlaid with gold and used top quality Lebanese cedars.

 

And he was unlimited rich.

 According to the 1King 10:14 the gold which came to Solomon yearly was 666 talents.

It is over 15 million dollars, according to the market price of gold in November.

Japanese like this kind of calculation.

 

His annual income with only gold was over 15 million dollars.

Of course we can expect that he received silvers, blonds and others, too.

He could do everything what he wanted to do.

 

And, he was respected by all of Israel people (1King3:28) and friend, kings and queen of neighbor countries like The Queen of Sheba’s story (1King10:1-13)

 

No4. He was fallen in his old age.

In his old age, he turned away from God and never turned back. He had 700 wives and 300 concubines.

He loved many foreign women, Moabities, Ammonites, Edomites, Sidonians and Hittites (1 King11:1) whom God forbid to associate with and married with. Through those women, he started to worship their gods and built the temples, Ashtoreth the goddess of Sidonians, Milcom the god of Ammonites, Chemosh the god of Moab, Molec the god of Ammon (1King11:5-7)

That kind of king wrote this book when he was in fallen and desperate with God.

<Verse 1>

“The words of the Preacher, the son of David. King in Jerusalem”

 

The author identified himself as King Solomon here.

 

 

<Verse 2-3>

 “Vanity of vanities, says the Preacher; vanity of vanities, all is vanity”

“What profit has a man from all his labor in which he toils under the sun”

 

“Under the sun” means in this world. It is one of the key words of this book and he used it 23 times.

 

Solomon speaks to us “Why do you work so hard? It is just in vain. All the matters in this world are temporary and meaningless.”

 

It is the main air of this book and his conclusion of his life.

He described how our life is temporary and meaningless below with his most wisdom.

 

 

< Verse 4>

Ver.4“One generation passes, and another generation comes but the earth abides forever”

 

King Solomon deals with born and dying here. He described how human being is temporary, regardless of rich and poor, famous and nameless, good or bad. It just appears on the earth and disappears like the dew drop.

He also says in same book, “All go to one place: all are from the dust and all return to dust” (Eccl3:20)

 

In ver.5 to ver.7 He deals with the nature.

< To read: Verse 5-7>

The sun also rises and the sun goes down, and hastens to the place where is arose.(ver.5)

The wind goes toward the south and turns around to the north; the winds whirls about continually, and comes again on It circuit. (ver.6)

 

In ver.4 to 7, He said “About the nature and human being, all things are not steady.

Just move around.”

Nothing is steady

 

 

 

 

All the rivers run into the sea, yet the sea is not full; To the place from which the rivers comes, there are return again. (ver.7)

 

It rains and it makes so many rivers. All rivers flow into the sea. It is incredible much water. But the sea is never full. Even all of rivers in the world try to be full of the sea. It never accomplishes. It just circulates.

Nothing can accomplish.

 

 

< To read: Verse 8>

All things are full of labor; Man cannot express it. The eye is not satisfied with seeing, nor ear is not filled with hearing.

 

Solomon says “Nothing can be satisfied.”

 

 

< To read: Verse 9-10>

That which has been is what will be, that which is done is what will be done, and there is nothing new under the sun.

Is there anything of which it may be said “See, this is new”? It has already been in ancient times before us

 

He says “Nothing is new.”

 

 

< To read: Verse 11>

There is no remembrance of former things. Nor will there be any remembrance of things that are to come. By those who will come after.

How many can tell our great great grandfather’s name?

How is great great great grandmother?

It might pass only 100 and some years but we cannot remember.

He says “Nothing is remembrance.”

 

 

 

Let me summaries them.

In the verse 1, the author of the book of Ecclesiastes introduce himself as King Solomon

And through verse 2 to 11, Solomon says

Life is meaningless.

Nothing is steady.

Nothing can accomplish.

Nothing can be satisfied.

Nothing is new.

Nothing is remembrance.

 

 

Let me repeat Solomon’s feature of his life again here.

No1.He was loved by God in born.

No2. He was wisest in this world.

No3. He was most successful man.

No4. He was fallen in his old age.

 

And I need to add one more important point about his special feature of his life.

It is most important.

He had lived before Jesus Christ came to this world with His flesh

So he didn’t know Jesus Christ.

 

For that,

He didn’t know His miracles.

He didn’t know His compassion and love.

He didn’t know God’s love through Him.

 

He didn’t know the salvation through Jesus Christ.

He didn’t know His redemption.

He didn’t know His resurrection.

He didn’t know His incarnation

because he couldn’t have Jesus Christ in his life.

 

So when he desperate with the God in his old age, all he could do is just despair.

Solomon said

“Nothing is steady. Nothing can accomplish. Nothing can be satisfied. Nothing is new. Nothing is remembrance. Life is in vain”

 

 

 

But now we live in the New Testament time. We can have Jesus Christ.

Solomon said “Nothing is steady.

But Jesus is the steady foundation.

 

Solomon said “Nothing can accomplish.”

But He accomplished the redemption for all of the human being on the cross.

 

Solomon said “Nothing can be satisfied.”

But we can be satisfied with Jesus Christ.

 

Solomon said “Nothing is new. “

He established new covenant with his blood.

 

Solomon said “Nothing is remembrance.”

But He is the Alpha and Omega. The Beginning and the End. The First and the Last.

He is remembrance because He is eternal.

 

 

If we can be wisest in this world, without Jesus, it is meaningless.

If we can be a richest in this world, without Jesus, it is meaningless.

Even if we can win greatest fame in this world and thousand beautiful women in the world, without Jesus, our life is filled with “vanity of vanities”

Without Jesus Christ, we feel that our life is like the dew drop.

It appears and disappears in this world. Nothing is valuable.

It is just temporary and meaningless.

 

Job also called to the silent air in his affliction

“I don’t have mediator between God and me ”

 

But we have Jesus Christ

With Jesus Christ, we can be connected with eternal.

God says

“Since you were precious in My sight, You have been honored and I have loved you”(Isaiah 43:4)

 

God declare that we are precious.

Only through Jesus Christ we can be connected with the God who tells like that.

Just follow Jesus Christ, God makes our life precious.

With Jesus Christ, Our life is too precious because Almighty God who creates the earth and heaven and all things says so.