Eccl. 6: 10-12.
That which hath been is named already, and it is known that it is man: neither may he contend with Him that is mightier than he.
Seeing there be many things that increase vanity, what is man the better?
¶For who knoweth what is good for man in this life, all the days of his vain life which he spendeth as a shadow? for who can tell a man what shall be after him under the sun?
God has always known each individual that ever lived; He knew us long before we were born. It is foolish for us to argue with God about the path or direction our lives will take. We may choose a path different than what God has ordained, but if we do, we will not live the fullness of the life He has prepared for each of us.
Verses 11 and 12 show us Solomon’s conclusions at this point in his ponderings.
- He is convinced that the life of main is vain (empty, of no value).
- Man is no nearer true happiness in his wealth, earthly gain and fame, than he was before he attained all that he has.
- We fail to know what to seek, what to ask for, because sometimes all that we gain proves to be “vanity and vexation of spirit,” as Solomon says so often. It is an indication of the corruption of our hearts that we tend to seek that which is harmful to us, but looks so good–until we have it.
I’m thinking of Lenin, the Russian leader and dictator until 1924. He was just a small man, only 5’5,” yet his influence is still felt in Russian thinking today. One of his most famous quotes: “The goal of socialism is communism.” Another: “A lie told often enough becomes the truth.”
When he died, his body was preserved and kept on display to the public. People filed past his resting place, stopping to honor this man who was really not much more than a glorified murderer. His body has been preserved for nearly 150 years, and still looks the same as it did after it was embalmed. It has required a lot of money to keep this body from rotting away. Ultimately, though, it is just a dead body. Powerless, lifeless, it is doing him no good at all. He was guilty of the massacre of thousands who disagreed with his political philosophies, and there is no doubt in my mind that his soul has spent those nearly 150 years, and will spend all eternity, in hell. His fame and power aren’t doing him a bit of good. Vanity and vexation of spirit.