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  • Samuel at Gilgal

    This year I will be sharing brief excerpts from the articles, sermons, and books I am currently reading. My posts will not follow a regular schedule but will be published as I find well-written thoughts that should be of interest to maturing Christian readers. Whenever possible, I encourage you to go to the source and read the complete work of the author.

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Vanity And Human Wisdom

Human wisdom does not satisfy our real needs. We may know many wonderful things and not realize how many things we do not know. I could perhaps write down everything I know and it would produce a small book. If I could just make a list of the things I do not know; what a great library the pages would fill. The fact is that simple human knowledge does not answer the questions of our deepest needs. So what if we gain all this knowledge and do not learn the two things most worth knowing: 1) We are sinners in need of a Savior and 2) Jesus Christ is the only savior. Robert G. Lee helps us to find the rest needed in our hearts:

“Vanity of vanities; all is vanity.” (Ecclesiastes 1:2)

Thirty-seven times the word “vanity” occurs in the Book of Ecclesiastes. Moreover, vanity is the key word of the Book of Ecclesiastes; the keynote to its dirge like message.

“Vanity of vanities…All is vanity!” Now these words are not due to a fit of temporary depression. They are not given utterance because of some passing adverse circumstance. They were not born of the quick and passing bitterness begotten by the foul play of some friend who turned traitor. Subtle pride did not prompt this language of Solomon. They are, according to our judgment, the result of experience arrived at after mature and deliberate thought.

They are not the words of a man who walked a few paths, but the words of a man who walked many paths. Nor the words of one bored with the routine of some prosaic task. Nor the words of a man whose courage failed in some steep ascent of toil. Nor the words of one in prostrate rebellion against the tortures of some couch of pain.

Rather let us say that these are the words of one who sailed over many seas of human experience and made, with deliberate care, special notes and charts of his voyages. Words they are of one who drank of every cup and wrote a label for each. And in these words Solomon the wise, Solomon the rich, Solomon the mighty, has left the testimony that even a king could not find and cannot find genuine satisfaction in things finite, in things perishing, in things of the earth.

By what path shall I go to find the home of perfect happiness? Which road must I take to compass heart satisfaction? What must I do to find contentment? What must I do to have a “good time”? What must I do to be superior to the habitations in which I am domiciled? What must I do to have the merry heart within the stern war of things? What must I do to know the intoxication of pleasure without the dissipation of the soul’s finest resources . . . ?

But with all this, he missed the one essential and found no rest for his heart. It is he, this great Solomon with all his glory, who, after roaming through all the realms of thought and imagination, of human wisdom and human knowledge, cried “Vanity of vanities; all is vanity!” (“Paths of Disappointment”)

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