Never before had I taken a close look at Ecclesiastes and what it had to say. I considered it the most negative book of the Bible, not so much anymore after learning about the Hebrew word hevel and its many translations. Of course vanity, pointless, meaningless, and futile are all somewhat if not very negative. The literal translation possibilities though are different: smoke, vapor, or mere breath – things that are real, but cannot be grasped.
I suggest reading through Ecclesiastes with whatever version you use and then read through it again substituting vapor or mere breath throughout wherever you find vanity or meaningless or their equivalent. See how it speaks to you then. As stated yesterday, I believe each breath counts and mankind’s first breath counted most of all.
Then the Lord God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being. Genesis 2:7 NIV
The central message of Ecclesiastes cannot be ignored either from 7:14
When times are good, be happy; but when times are bad, consider this:
God has made the one as well as the other.
Therefore, no one can discover anything about their future.
Adversity may not be enjoyable, but it can help make us the people of faith we ought to be. Link. Then the last two verses summarize everything for us in chapter twelve.
13 Now all has been heard; here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the duty of all mankind.
14 For God will bring every deed into judgment, including every hidden thing, whether it is good or evil.
This should not surprise us when we consider the verses from yesterday in chapter eleven
7 The light is sweet, and it is pleasant for the eyes to see the sun.
8 For if a man lives many years, let him rejoice in all of them! Let him remember that the days of the darkness will be many—all that is coming is mere breath!
9 Rejoice, O young man, in your youth, and let your heart cheer you in the days of your youth! Follow the ways of your heart and the sight of your eyes—but know that God will bring you into judgment for all these things.
10 Banish anxiety from your heart, and put away pain from your body, for youth and vigor are mere breath.
Life is to be enjoyed to its end and if it cannot be enjoyed lessons are to be learned. We are to always remember we will face God in the end. Thankfully, if we know Jesus as our Lord and Savior this will not be as terrifying as it would be otherwise when we meet our creator.