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THINGS THAT ARE VANITY

August 20, 2017

L. John Bost
L. John Bost
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Previous: Evidence of Jesus' Divinity

Introduction

In Acts 4:25, the apostles referred to a statement by David in Psalm 2:1, "Why did the heathen rage, and the people imagine vain things?" Vain is from a Greek word meaning, "Empty, vain, devoid of truth," according to Thayer. The word in the Hebrew has a similar meaning. What are the "vain things" that the apostles and psalmist are referring to?
Solomon is an Old Testament expert on vain things, writing about them extensively in the Book of Ecclesiastes. He begins the book by saying, "Vanity of vanities, saith the Preacher, vanity of vanities; all is vanity" (Ecc. 1:2). In Verse 14, he writes, "I have seen all the works that are done under the sun; and, behold, all is vanity and vexation of spirit." He then enumerates some things that are "vanity." He uses the word twenty-eight times, seven times in the phrase, "vexation of spirit." In this article, we will study some things that are vanity.

Mirth and Pleasure

Solomon writes in Ecclesiastes 2:1-2:
I said in mine heart, Go to now, I will prove thee with mirth, therefore enjoy pleasure: and, behold, this also is vanity. I said of laughter, It is mad: and of mirth, What doeth it?
The wise man continued with a discussion of things that he tried to bring him pleasure: Wine, wisdom, folly, works, houses, vineyards, orchards, treasures, singers, musical instruments, whatever his eyes desired.
How did that work for you, Solomon?

Works Labor and Wisdom

Of the works and labor that he engaged in, he wrote in Ecclesiasates 2:11:
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.
Of wisdom and folly he wrote in Ecclesiastes 2:13,15:
Then I saw that wisdom excelleth folly, as far as light excelleth darkness...Then I said in my heart, that this also is vanity.
He concluded in Verse 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.
The wise and the foolish will all die, so why give your life to seeking wisdom?
The point is not that great works and wisdom are wrong, but that these are not the things that bring genuine, lasting, happiness and fulfillment in life.
(Continued on page 2).

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