Ecclesiastes, Week 1: Vapor
This week is our first study in the book of Ecclesiastes. It’s wisdom literature, but it’s unlike any other wisdom literature in the Bible like Proverbs, for example. Most wisdom literature offers instructions for right living that typically yield good results, with foolish living leading to bad outcomes. However, in Ecclesiastes, the author is speaking to anyone who has done the wise things, played by the rules, and still ended up with a bad result. Or, maybe they achieved an important goal and were left wondering, “Is this it?” Contemplating these kinds of examples, the author of Ecclesiastes says all things are ultimately “meaningless.”
The Hebrew word translated “meaningless” actually means vapor or mist. It points to the temporary quality of all created things, which implies there is an uncreated reality that is eternal and substantial. The space between the created and uncreated is where God meets us.