Imagine keeping a private journal of your most intimate thoughts and feelings, only to discover that someone has leaked your gut-wrenching, heart-breaking contents all over the internet. How would you feel? I am sure it would be totally devasting for all of us!
When you read through the book of Ecclesiastes one gets the impression that Solomon has been writing in his journal, wrestling for years with many different thoughts and emotions, only to realise that his struggles are the same struggles as everyone else's.
So, in the end, Solomon decides to 'leak' the contents of his journal to the world himself. And in the end, we get the privilege of reading his intimate thoughts in Ecclesiastes and we find that God speaks to us, equally through his wisdom and through his pain.
"Useless! Useless! Completely Useless!
Everything is useless!" - Ecclesiastes 1:2 (NCV)
To understand Solomon's despair we must remember that he was a man who had everything that the world would consider "success". There was nothing he didn't have or couldn't buy, YET he still felt empty and he struggled with true meaning.
The phrase we see in today's verse is translated into many different words, but they all convey the essential meaning of frustration and futility. In some versions of the Bible the word is translated as:
Vanity, Meaningless, Futility, Smoke, Pointless, Vapour...
Today, I am drawn to the Amplied version, which says:
"Vapor of vapors and futility of futilities, says the Preacher. Vapor of vapors and futility of futilities! All is vanity."
The reason that this stands out for me is because it corresponds withe James' teaching about Life and how our lives are just like a vapour - here today and gone tomorrow. Now I say this not to make us depressed but rather to spur us on towards love and gratitude.
What will you do with the knowledge that your life is like a Vapour?
Living in Grace