Everything is Meaningless

Scripture: Ecclesiastes 1:2, ‘“Meaningless! Meaningless!” says the Teacher. “Utterly meaningless! Everything is meaningless.”’


Observations: This single word ‘meaningless’ pretty much defined the book of Ecclesiastes. In the Hebrew it’s the word hebel, which occurs 35 times. It actually occurs 5 times in this very verse. The word hebel refers to something being empty, or futile, or temporary. In Hebrew they use a construct where they add the plural of a word to the singular (hebel hebels) as a way of intensifying the meaning of the word (in English we call this a superlative), which the NIV translates as ‘utterly meaningless! (which is also how the first two words ought to be translated as well)’ Most translations have it ‘vanity of vanities!’ So is the ‘teacher’ just depressed or is this what he really believes, that ‘everything is meaningless?’ The conclusion of this book is that without God everything is indeed meaningless. Only God provides meaning for life. He writes, ‘Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man. For God will bring every deed into judgment… (12:13-14)’ Everything else is just a ‘chasing after the wind!’ If there is no life after death than everything that we do in this life comes to nothing. If there is no justice after death than there is no answer to evil. If there is no purpose to life why bother living it? But according to the Bible there is life after death, there is justice after death, there is a purpose to existence – God gives meaning!


Application: Do you seek to find meaning in something other than God? If so eventually you will reach the same conclusion as the teacher in Ecclesiastes, that life is meaningless. I encourage you to find meaning and purpose in God. Discover why God made you, put your hope in God’s purposes, and look forward to the life that God has promised you beyond this one. Don’t live your life apart from God.


Prayer: Dear Heavenly Father, as I read through Ecclesiastes may You remind me of the futility of living life without You. Lord, may I not look to worldly wisdom, or personal pleasure, or wealth, or my achievements to give my life meaning, because all those things fade, they only satisfy for a brief time. Instead may I look to You and find meaning in serving You and living for Your glory. Instead of my life being a meaningless waste of time and energy, may I hear from You, ‘Well done good and faithful servant!’ In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.


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