Devotion and Prayer for Week of August 4, 2013

Meditation for the week of August 4, 2013

 

 “Vanity of vanities, says the Preacher, vanity of vanities! All is vanity.”    Ecclesiastes 1:2 

 

It’s often said that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.  I can remember growing up reading the Peanuts comics, and every so often we would see Charlie Brown in his usual position of being persuaded to kick the football while Lucy held it.  Of course, the joke was that she would pull the ball away at the last second, and Charlie Brown would miss the ball and fall flat on his back.  Talk about the definition of insanity – or as the book of Ecclesiastes puts it: vanity.

“All is vanity.” says the book.  We keep trying to do the same things over and over, and all we do is fail.  Think about life.  Even from the time we are little we realize how many things we do are merely vain attempts.  We try to build sand castles at the beach only to have them washed away by the tide.  We seek to have playtime with our friends that never ends, only to have the sun go down, or our curfew time arrive.

Of course, as we get older the things that we strive for change, but the vanity of our attempts doesn’t.  We make our attempts for earthly wealth, but fail.  We seek everlasting earthly pleasures, but fail.  We seek to always be comfortable, but fail.  We seek to maintain a perfect body, or at least one that is eternally healthy, and we fail.  All is vanity.

The writer of Ecclesiastes, later in the book says, “There is nothing better for a person than that he should eat and drink and find enjoyment in his toil. This also, I saw, is from the hand of God, for apart from him who can eat or who can have enjoyment?  For to the one who pleases him, God has given wisdom and knowledge and joy, but to the sinner he has given the business of gathering and collecting, only to give to one who pleases God. This also is vanity and a striving after wind.”

When we seek our pleasures apart from God, we miss out and find that there is nothing enjoyable.  However, when we seek our pleasure in the midst of the life we have in Him, only then do we find true pleasure in this life – a pleasure that delights not in creation itself, but in the One who has created.  Apart from this One who has created, everything will be destroyed.  It will all go away, it will all be left to deteriorate.  Because sin has entered this world, this creation has a shelf life; everything in it will die and pass away.

But we have the promise of eternal life.  Our loving creator sent His only Son Jesus Christ to die for us and to be raised again so that we who suffer in the vanity of sin in this life will be given life forever with God.  And He gives us this life as He baptizes us and makes us His own, as He speaks His Word forgiving us and as He gives us Jesus body and blood so that we would receive that life by faith in Jesus.  In Jesus, the vanity of this life has been overcome, and even though we still live in the midst of a world, which will pass away with all its vanity, we no longer chase after the wind.  Rather, we live in the One who will not pass away, the One who will carry us into a life that is eternal.  Amen.

 

Our Weekly Prayer

 

Lord God, Heavenly Father, in the vanities of this world brought by sin, you sent Jesus to rescue us from the mortality and vanity of sin.  We thank you for His work, and pray that we would always cling to the promise in Him, the promise that when He returns we will live eternally.  Through that same Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, One God, now and forever.  Amen.