Looking Below - Looking Above
The book of Ecclesiastes, written by King Solomon, is a book that is intended to teach us the futility of seeking joy and contentment in the things of this world. It is the story of a man who is consistently disappointed and frustrated in doing so, but who ultimately gives up looking below for the answers and instead looks above. It has been said that an intelligent man learns from his own mistakes, but a wise man learns from the mistakes of others. This book is intended to prevent us from making the same mistakes that Solomon did, and to turn us to the only One in whom there is true joy and meaning.
“I have seen all the works that are done under the sun; and, behold, all is vanity and vexation of spirit.” (Ecclesiastes 1:14) The word “vanity” means “a vapor” or “a breath” (something of no substance or consequence; something meaningless and empty). The word “vexation” means a longing or striving. In the book of Ecclesiastes it indicates a longing and striving void of satisfaction.
“If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.” (Colossians 3:1-2) It is wonderful that we will find all of the things that bring true joy when we “look above”.
“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.” (Ecclesiastes 2:11) Some people, when looking back at their lives, will conclude that their efforts were for naught.
“Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.” (1 Corinthians 15:58) No labour for God is ever wasted.
“For in much wisdom is much grief: and he that increaseth knowledge increaseth sorrow.” (Ecclesiastes 1:18) Sometimes people consider that “ignorance is bliss”.
“And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” (John 8:32) True wisdom is a glorious, freeing thing.
“So I returned, and considered all the oppressions that are done under the sun: and behold the tears of such as were oppressed, and they had no comforter; and on the side of their oppressors there was power; but they had no comforter.” (Ecclesiastes 4:1) People sometimes look at the suffering in this world and become confused and even angry with God.
“And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever;” (John 14:16) There is a comforter.
“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. 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.” (Ecclesiastes 2:16-17) Since we all die, what is the point of being wise?
“But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.” (I Corinthians 2:9) Glory!