The Vanity of Life

Miss Becky Alexander, 18, the 1973 Washington Wheat Queen, had an embarrassing confession to make before the State Senate —she’s allergic to wheat. “I’m probably the only wheat queen in history who is allergic to wheat,” she told the lawmakers. She im … More


Kenneth Gangel in his book Thus Spoke Oskeleth(professor) says that the writer of Ecclesiastes in this first chapter is saying, “Stop the world-I want to get off!” He begins by pointing out the vanity of man’s existence in this world without God (vv. 1-2). In fact, vanity is one of Solomon’s favorite words. It is used thirty-five times throughout the book.

We need to keep the following threefold outlook as we study this book:

1. The man - who is the author and why is he telling us these things?

2. The motto - what is the theme or underlying premise of this book?

3. The motive - where is this book taking us?

The author uses three examples from nature to show that life is meaningless.

1. He says the sun rises and sets in the same place everyday. He is saying that days come and go and generations come and go but the earth remains forever (vv. 3-5).

2. He says that the wind blows to the south and turns to the north and goes round and round which is an endless cycle of seeming repetitions. He is simply saying that life seems to have an endless flow and is futile (v. 6).

3. He says that all rivers flow into the sea and it is never full. Water comes down, flows out, gets gathered up and then comes down again. This points out how generations come and generations go (vv. 7-11).


If I try to find meaning in my accomplishments rather than in God I will never be satisfied and everything I pursue will become wearisome. Only the pursuit of God will bring real satisfaction.

Ecclesiastes 1:1-11 (English Standard Version)

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