Wednesday, 2nd February 2022
Rev Daniel Xi An Poon
Section One V1-11 Vanity of Pleasures
V1 ‘I said in my heart, “Come now, I will test you with mirth; therefore enjoy pleasure”; but surely, this also was vanity.’ We like to seek entertainment, enjoyment, relaxation, etc. but at the end, none of this can give us true joy, as King Solomon said, everything is vanity. V2 ‘I said of laughter—“Madness!”; and of mirth, “What does it accomplish?”’ All these pleasures accomplish nothing! But we don’t know that everything is vanity, we still want to hold onto something we can see.
The Israelites did not see Moses coming down from the mountain, and therefore they made the golden calf to worship. They wanted to see something for them to have the assurance, but at the end, everything is vanity. V11 ‘Then I looked on all the works that my hands had done and on the labour in which I had toiled; and indeed all was vanity and grasping for the wind. There was no profit under the sun.’ When we laboured for the whole day, we will feel tired, and we will want to hold onto something to satisfy ourselves. But at the end we will realise that everything is vanity.
Section Two V12-17 Vanity of Wisdom
V12 ‘Then I turned myself to consider wisdom and madness and folly; for what can the man do who succeeds the king?— Only what he has already done.’ The wisdom here represents the wisdom of knowledge. If we seek knowledge, we can never be satisfied because only the Lord is the answer to everything. No matter how much knowledge we have, yet we still cannot get rid of this virus, which has been going around for two years now. Covid-19, Delta, Omicron… there are more and more things in our lives that are out of our control, that our human knowledge cannot answer.
V17 ‘Therefore I hated life because the work that was done under the sun was distressing to me, for all is vanity and grasping for the wind.’ The knowledge of the world is like the wind, we cannot grasp the wind, but big wind, such as the tornado, can grasp us. We should not rely on human knowledge more than we seek the wisdom from the fear of the Lord!
Section Three V18-23 Vanity of Labour
V18 ‘Then I hated all my labour in which I had toiled under the sun, because I must leave it to the man who will come after me.’ Labouring makes us tired and losing our joy. Not only physically labouring, but also in our mind and in our heart. We must learn to rest, to slow down our pace, and to see that no matter how much money we earn or how much inheritance to have, at the end, everything is vanity. The best thing we can inherit our children is ability, because no matter how much we left for them, if they don’t have the ability to manage, everything will be lost easily.
V22-23 ‘For what has man for all his labour, and for the striving of his heart with which he has toiled under the sun? For all his days are sorrowful, and his work burdensome; even in the night his heart takes no rest. This also is vanity.’ For those, who are thinking about work all day, labouring and worrying, they will never receive true joy. People can easily see they are burdened and yoked; do we want to live a life like this? The more we are afraid of losing and missing out, the more we will be labouring and worrying, and the more we will feel the vanity. This they way we work, but is this really the right way? A lot of people don’t sleep well at night, because they have too many worries. May God help us to really see the vanity of all these things.
Section Four V24-26 Only From the Lord
V26 ‘For God gives wisdom and knowledge and joy to a man who is good in His sight; but to the sinner He gives the work of gathering and collecting, that he may give to him who is good before God. This also is vanity and grasping for the wind.’ Are we willing to have a simple heart to rely on the Lord? Everything is vanity, but only when we rely on the Lord, we can receive the true fulfilment and joy.
传道书 2 – 虚空的都是虚空 唯有出于耶和华
V2a 连“喜笑”都被作者看为“狂妄”- “狂妄”这个词第一次出现在创世纪 12:14-15“及至亚伯兰到了埃及，埃及人看见那妇人极其美貌。 法老的臣宰看见了她，就在法老面前夸奖她，那妇人就被带进法老的宫去。”法老的臣仆没有专心办事，反而去看亚伯兰的妻子，还在法老面前“夸奖”她 – “夸奖”和“狂妄”的原文是同样的词。法老臣仆在法老面前所夸奖的话都是狂妄、虚无的。我们要警醒，不要讲出这些表面令人喜笑其实虚无的话。
V17 在原文里，作者所“恨恶”的是说“那生命”- 指的是那追求世上短暂好处的生命。这些都是虚空，如同龙卷风一般，没有人能抓住它，若想要“捕风”，自己反而会被卷走。