“The words of the Preacher, the son of David, king in Jerusalem. Vanity of vanities, says the Preacher, vanity of vanities! All is vanity. What does man gain by all the toil at which he toils under the sun? A generation goes, and a generation comes, but the earth remains for ever. The sun rises and the sun goes down, and hastens to the place where it rises. The wind blows to the south, and goes round to the north; round and round goes the wind, and on its circuits the wind returns. All streams run to the sea, but the sea is not full; to the place where the streams flow, there they flow again. All things are full of weariness; a man cannot utter it; the eye is not satisfied with seeing, nor the ear filled with hearing. What has been is what will be, and what has been done is what will be done; and there is nothing new under the sun. Is there a thing of which it is said, “See, this is new”? It has been already, in the ages before us. There is no remembrance of former things, nor will there be any remembrance of later things yet to happen among those who come after. I the Preacher have been king over Israel in Jerusalem. And I applied my mind to seek and to search out by wisdom all that is done under heaven; it is an unhappy business that God has given to the sons of men to be busy with. I have seen everything that is done under the sun; and behold, all is vanity and a striving after wind. What is crooked cannot be made straight, and what is lacking cannot be numbered. I said to myself, “I have acquired great wisdom, surpassing all who were over Jerusalem before me; and my mind has had great experience of wisdom and knowledge.” And I applied my mind to know wisdom and to know madness and folly. I perceived that this also is but a striving after wind. For in much wisdom is much vexation, and he who increases knowledge increases sorrow.”
Ecclesiastes 12:13, 14
“The end of the matter; all has been heard. Fear God, and keep his commandments; for this is the whole duty of man. For God will bring every deed into judgment, with every secret thing, whether good or evil.”
It appears the writer of Ecclesiastes was king Solomon, the wisest and wealthiest on earth. He was also the most lost when it came to having a relationship with God. In spite of his wisdom and knowledge he still turned his heart away from God and embraced the things of the world. He followed after the gods of his wives (700 wives and 300 concubines). Although he built the temple to God he wearied himself with amassing great wealth and trying to find out what the meaning of life was. He looked to the physical rather than the spiritual and completely lost the perspective of what God’s plan and purpose for mankind is.
Solomon was told that his kingdom, which he and his father had built, would be torn apart by his son, Jeroboam. All that he had worked for, physically speaking, would be lost. It appears at the end of his life he saw the true meaning in life: “fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man”.
I think Jesus summed it up quite well in Mark 8:36, “For what does it profit a man, to gain the whole world and forfeit his life?” We can strive after the things of the world our whole lives and never see the spiritual things that really matter.
Let us not make our lives a striving after wind; rather, may we focus our energy and perspective on being God-centred in everything we do.
Subject: Daily Bible Message – Breath of Life
Date: October-20-10 8:33:09 AM
Breath of Life
“then the LORD God formed man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being.”
“Praise the LORD! Praise the LORD, O my soul! I will praise the LORD as long as I live; I will sing praises to my God while I have being. Put not your trust in princes, in a son of man, in whom there is no help. When his breath departs he returns to his earth; on that very day his plans perish.”
“The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in shrines made by man, nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all men life and breath and everything.”
“There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set me free from the law of sin and death. For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do: sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the just requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. To set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace.”
From that first breath we take as a baby to the last one we take when we die we do not stop breathing. I love the account in Genesis when God made man from the dust of the earth and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life. It was in that act of God breathing into man that he became a living being. That same breath is in you and me. Psalms says that if that breath departs all of our plans depart with it. God has given us this breath, this life, and everything we have comes from Him. Yet like breathing, we can take God for granted. How can we take for granted the very thing that sustains us? Just ask someone with cystic fibrosis or asthma how important that next breath is! And, like breathing, we will usually take God for granted until our “breathing” is threatened.
In our lives of earth and spirit we have a struggle between the two with the world winning out many times. Yet, when things are difficult we find the answers are not in the world but in the spirit and this can cause us to turn to God for direction and help. Let us be more mindful of the spirit within us and may we turn to it.
May we take time today to appreciate the great miracle of God’s breath within us, which is from Him and sustains our earthly bodies. Let us also be grateful for the spiritual breath of life He offers us through His son and may we seek after that in our lives.