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All is Vanity

Towards the end of his life Solomon wrote the book of Ecclesiastes as the “Preacher” to teach us what he had learned with all the wisdom and knowledge God blessed him with. As I read Chapter 2 this morning, I became aware of the greatest thing we can learn from him, and that is that anything and everything of this world is vanity and cannot bring true happiness. The only way to true happiness is to know and grow in our LORD and the things He teaches in His Word. I like the comments from Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary for added thoughts.

Ecclesiastes 2

1 I said in mine heart, Go to now, I will prove thee with mirth, therefore enjoy pleasure: and, behold, this also is vanity.

2 I said of laughter, It is mad: and of mirth, What doeth it?

3 I sought in mine heart to give myself unto wine, yet acquainting mine heart with wisdom; and to lay hold on folly, till I might see what was that good for the sons of men, which they should do under the heaven all the days of their life.

4 I made me great works; I builded me houses; I planted me vineyards:

5 I made me gardens and orchards, and I planted trees in them of all kind of fruits:

6 I made me pools of water, to water therewith the wood that bringeth forth trees:

7 I got me servants and maidens, and had servants born in my house; also I had great possessions of great and small cattle above all that were in Jerusalem before me:

8 I gathered me also silver and gold, and the peculiar treasure of kings and of the provinces: I gat me men singers and women singers, and the delights of the sons of men, as musical instruments, and that of all sorts.

9 So I was great, and increased more than all that were before me in Jerusalem: also my wisdom remained with me.

10 And whatsoever mine eyes desired I kept not from them, I withheld not my heart from any joy; for my heart rejoiced in all my labour: and this was my portion of all my labour.

11 Then I looked on all the works that my hands had wrought, and on the labour that I had laboured to do: and, behold, all was vanity and vexation of spirit, and there was no profit under the sun. (Solomon soon found mirth and pleasure to be vanity. What does noisy, flashy mirth towards making a man happy? The manifold devices of men’s hearts, to get satisfaction from the world, and their changing from one thing to another, are like the restlessness of a man in a fever. Perceiving it was folly to give himself to wine, he next tried the costly amusements of princes. The poor, when they read such a description, are ready to feel discontent. But the remedy against all such feelings is in the estimate of it all by the owner himself. All was vanity and vexation of spirit: and the same things would yield the same result to us, as to Solomon. Having food and raiment, let us therewith be content. His wisdom remained with him; a strong understanding, with great human knowledge. But every earthly pleasure, when unconnected with better blessings, leaves the mind as eager and unsatisfied as before. Happiness arises not from the situation in which we are placed. It is only through Jesus Christ that final blessedness can be attained.)

12 And I turned myself to behold wisdom, and madness, and folly: for what can the man do that cometh after the king? even that which hath been already done.

13 Then I saw that wisdom excelleth folly, as far as light excelleth darkness.

14 The wise man’s eyes are in his head; but the fool walketh in darkness: and I myself perceived also that one event happeneth to them all.

15 Then said I in my heart, As it happeneth to the fool, so it happeneth even to me; and why was I then more wise? Then I said in my heart, that this also is vanity.

16 For there is no remembrance of the wise more than of the fool for ever; seeing that which now is in the days to come shall all be forgotten. And how dieth the wise man? as the fool.

17 Therefore I hated life; because the work that is wrought under the sun is grievous unto me: for all is vanity and vexation of spirit. (Solomon found that knowledge and prudence were preferable to ignorance and folly, though human wisdom and knowledge will not make a man happy. The most learned of men, who dies a stranger to Christ Jesus, will perish equally with the most ignorant; and what good can commendations on earth do to the body in the grave, or the soul in hell? And the spirits of just men made perfect cannot want them. So that if this were all, we might be led to hate our life, as it is all vanity and vexation of spirit.)

18 Yea, I hated all my labour which I had taken under the sun: because I should leave it unto the man that shall be after me.

19 And who knoweth whether he shall be a wise man or a fool? yet shall he have rule over all my labour wherein I have laboured, and wherein I have shewed myself wise under the sun. This is also vanity.

20 Therefore I went about to cause my heart to despair of all the labour which I took under the sun.

21 For there is a man whose labour is in wisdom, and in knowledge, and in equity; yet to a man that hath not laboured therein shall he leave it for his portion. This also is vanity and a great evil.

22 For what hath man of all his labour, and of the vexation of his heart, wherein he hath laboured under the sun?

23 For all his days are sorrows, and his travail grief; yea, his heart taketh not rest in the night. This is also vanity.

24 There is nothing better for a man, than that he should eat and drink, and that he should make his soul enjoy good in his labour. This also I saw, that it was from the hand of God.

25 For who can eat, or who else can hasten hereunto, more than I?

26 For God giveth to a man that is good in his sight wisdom, and knowledge, and joy: but to the sinner he giveth travail, to gather and to heap up, that he may give to him that is good before God. This also is vanity and vexation of spirit. (Our hearts are very loth to quit their expectations of great things from the creature; but Solomon came to this at length. The world is a vale of tears, even to those that have much of it. See what fools they are, who make themselves drudges to the world, which affords a man nothing better than subsistence for the body. And the utmost he can attain in this respect is to allow himself a sober, cheerful use thereof, according to his rank and condition. But we must enjoy good in our labour; we must use those things to make us diligent and cheerful in worldly business. And this is the gift of God. Riches are a blessing or a curse to a man, according as he has, or has not, a heart to make a good use of them. To those that are accepted of the Lord, he gives joy and satisfaction in the knowledge and love of him. But to the sinner he allots labour, sorrow, vanity, and vexation, in seeking a worldly portion, which yet afterwards comes into better hands. Let the sinner seriously consider his latter end. To seek a lasting portion in the love of Christ and the blessings it bestows, is the only way to true and satisfying enjoyment even of this present world.)

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Posted by on April 25, 2017 in God's Love

 

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Becoming a Godly Woman Part 4

Portrait of two women and a boy by Charles Bay...

 

Titus 2:3 “The aged women likewise, that they be in behavior as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things;”

“Teachers of good things”.

Teacher: Instructor, Educator, Mentor

I like to think of us as mentors to our younger Christian sisters, much the same as our younger siblings. To be teachers of good things, we are to be a good influence for the younger women and teach them God’s doctrine and principles. The Greek word for teachers of good things is kalodidaskalos (kal-od-id-as’-kal-os) meaning teachers of the right.

What are we to teach that is right? Titus 2:4, 5 “4. that they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, 5. to be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed.”

1. “be sober” – Greek word sōphroneō – serious, self-restrained, of a sound mind, temperate (control our tempers?)

2. “love their husbands” – This goes above and beyond just “loving” our husbands. It is to be lovers of our husbands, putting our love into action by putting his needs above our own. This is the foundation for all domestic harmony as a Godly man will, in turn, do the same.

3. “love their children” – Godly women not only nurture their children physically, but train them up in the Lord as well. We make our homes and our families our priority.

4. “be discreet” – self-controlled (moderate as to opinion or passion) probably from an obsolete Greek root phrao (to rein in or curb). Could this possibly be referring to curbing our tongue? I would say so, but I would say that we are to also curb our thoughts that lead to what rolls off of our tongues.

5. “be chaste” – the Greek word hagnos means pure in our thoughts as well as in our behavior – innocent, modest, perfect – being faithful to our husbands

6. “keepers at home” – Guardians of the house – here again this has to do with keeping our homes our top priority and fulfilling our household duties, even if we work outside the home, our families need to come first. If we are training our children in the Lord, they will chip in and help. Godly families work together as a unit.

7. “good” – kind (Greek word ag-ath-os’) beneficent or thrifty as housewives helping our husbands to be good stewards of what God gives us

8. “obedient to their own husbands” – submission to our husbands. Please see my SIDE NOTE in my Enter Evil posting for the best description of wifely submission.

We are to teach our younger women this lifestyle so that “the word of God be not blasphemed.” We are not to bring shame or reproach to God or His word.

In conclusion, as teachers of good things we not only do what is good and right, we teach our younger women to do the same and pass on Godly precepts to the next generations. And this we do, not just in church, but we let our very lives show them how to become Godly women. They want to hear us and see us portraying these wise, Godly principles, not just mouthing them.

 
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Posted by on May 17, 2011 in Godly Women

 

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Becoming a Godly Woman Part 3

English: Wine grapes. Español: Uvas de vino ro...

English: Wine grapes. Español: Uvas de vino rojo. Русский: Грозди винограда. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

Titus 2:3 “The aged women likewise, that they be in behavior as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things;”

Today’s topic will cover “not given to much wine”. I think that is pretty straightforward in that we are not to be drunk with wine. I would go so far as to say that it would be unwise and a very bad example to consume alcohol at all. Would those looking to us for guidance take us seriously if they witnessed us in a drunken state? Of course not. In fact it would be more likely that we would cause some to stumble in their walk.

I find that God’s word, as always, says it best:

Proverbs 20:1 “Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging: and whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise.”

Proverbs 21:17 “He that loveth pleasure shall be a poor man: he that loveth wine and oil shall not be rich.

Proverbs 23: 29-32 “29. Who hath woe? who hath sorrow? who hath contentions? who hath babbling? who hath wounds without cause? who hath redness of eyes?”

“30. They that tarry long at the wine; they that go to seek mixed wine. 31. Look not thou upon the wine when it is red, when it giveth his colour in the cup, when it moveth itself aright. 32. At the last it biteth like a serpent, and stingeth like an adder.”

Proverbs 31:4-6 was written as wise advice to a king, but I feel that it is also fitting for those of us who wish to become a Godly example to others:

“4. It is not for kings, O Lemuel, it is not for kings to drink wine; nor for princes strong drink:
5. Lest they drink, and forget the law, and pervert the judgment of any of the afflicted.
6. Give strong drink unto him that is ready to perish, and wine unto those that be of heavy hearts.”

Though alcohol may be used to sooth and comfort, it is only temporary, and we must be aware of the dangers it imposes on its victims. It dulls our senses, limits our judgment, hinders our self-control, and destroys our bodies and minds. Very many families and marriages are destroyed by it as well. It is not a solution to any problem. Instead of losing ourselves in alcohol; why not find ourselves in God?

 
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Posted by on May 3, 2011 in Godly Women

 

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