Everything Is Utterly Hevel

Apr 7, 2024    Daniel Englehart

This morning we begin a new study through the book of Ecclesiastes. The author introduces us to, "the words of the Preacher", a wise teacher who offers reflections on wisdom, work, pleasure, wealth, time, and death. The preacher opens with a statement of the theme of the book. The Preacher says, "Vanity of vanities, vanity of vanities! All is vanity!" (Ecclesiastes 1:2). These opening statements describe the seemingly monotonous rhythm of life using imagery from the sun, wind, and streams.

This opening poem cultivates humility and cultivates hope in a world beyond "life under the sun." The Preacher gives us a reality check that we are a mist or vapor. We are here but for a little moment and then gone. Instead of driving us into a kind of nihilist despair or hedonistic lifestyle, the Preacher of Ecclesiastes causes us to long for hope and look forward to the promises of Jesus in the gospel. Against the dark and bleak backdrop of Ecclesiastes, the promises of Jesus and the hope of the gospel shine bright. All is vanity and meaningless apart from Jesus, but if you are in Him, the call to love God and love others is eternally significant. It invites us to be present and attentive to those around us.