Ecclesiastes 1 … Consider Him Who Makes the Crooked Straight

I have seen all the works which have been done under the sun, and behold, all is vanity and striving after wind. 15 What is crooked cannot be straightened and what is lacking cannot be counted, (1:14-15).

I really wasn’t ready to leave the strengthening hope and encouragement expressed throughout the book of Colossians; I knew Ecclesiastes was next. And when I said something about what was coming in the reading plan to my husband, he asked, “Don’t you like Ecclesiastes?” My reply came quickly, “It’s not that I don’t like it; it’s just, I’m wondering…” My husband shook his head in understanding. For my question loomed: how are we to consider Him in a book that is really all about living life while not considering Him?

And it is from this philosophical perspective that excludes God, that the Preacher lays forth his case that all of life is empty, futile, and absolutely meaningless.

 “Vanity of vanities,” says the Preacher,
“Vanity of vanities! All is vanity.”

Thirty-five times in his writing, Solomon uses the word, “vanity,” in his analysis of the human experience in life on this planet we call home.

Vanity: 1892. הֶבֶל heḇel: A common noun referring to vanity, emptiness, meaninglessness; idols. The word is used seventy times, thirty-five of these are in Ecclesiastes. It refers to breath because of its transitory fleeting character (Isa. 57:13) and is used as a symbol for life (Job 7:16). It refers to the vanity and ultimate emptiness and meaninglessness of all things in this life, whether they seem good or bad (Eccl. 1:2, 14; 2:11, 15, 3:19; 4:4, 7, 8; 5:7[6]; 6:2, 4, 9; 7:6, 15; 8:10; 9:9; 11:8). Combined with itself in the plural, it means absolute meaninglessness (Eccl. 1:2)…” Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance

All is absolutely meaningless. All is absolutely empty. All is absolute vanity when life is lived with our eyes on this life alone, with the limited view that is incapable of seeing beyond what is “under the sun.”

That which has been is that which will be,
And that which has been done is that which will be done.
So there is nothing new under the sun,

Nothing new and nothing with meaning. Any endeavor that we might pursue in and of ourselves: work, a lasting legacy, understanding creation, finding satisfaction, or attaining wisdom and understanding, is vanity; none of it is new and none of it has meaning.

I have seen all the works which have been done under the sun, and behold, all is vanity and striving after wind, (1:14).

And in all the exertion and time expended to find purpose in this life, the final analysis is this, you might as well try to catch the wind because this life holds no lasting reward. After all, as the old saying goes, “You can’t take with you.”

And beyond that, this life is so crooked and so out of whack, that in and of ourselves, we are incapable of being able to ascertain or calculate what we lack in order to make things straight and right.

What is crooked cannot be straightened and what is lacking cannot be counted, (1:15).

There is a foreboding sense of despair that fills the writing of Ecclesiastes. After all, that is exactly what will happen when we try to make sense out of this crazy mixed up, crooked world without Him. For there is only One Who is able, Only One Who gives meaning, Only One Who fills, Only One Who is worth pursuing; Only One Who Makes the Crooked Straight.

Consider Him Who Makes the Crooked Straight

  • He Makes the Crooked Straight in our work.
    • What advantage does man have in all his work
      Which he does under the sun?

      • Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men, 24 knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance. It is the Lord Christ whom you serve, (Colossians 3:23-4).
  • He Makes the Crooked Straight in a lasting legacy.
    • A generation goes and a generation comes,
      But the earth remains forever…
      11 There is no remembrance of earlier things;
      And also of the later things which will occur,
      There will be for them no remembrance
      Among those who will come later still,
      (1:4, 11).

      • Praise the Lord!
        How blessed is the man who fears the Lord,
        Who greatly delights in His commandments.
        His descendants will be mighty on earth;
        The generation of the upright will be blessed.
        Wealth and riches are in his house,
        And his righteousness endures forever, (Psalm 112:1-3).
  • He Makes the Crooked Straight in understanding creation.
    • Also, the sun rises and the sun sets;
      And hastening to its place it rises there again.
      Blowing toward the south,
      Then turning toward the north,
      The wind continues swirling along;
      And on its circular courses the wind returns.
      All the rivers flow into the sea,
      Yet the sea is not full.
      To the place where the rivers flow,
      There they flow again,

      •  For the anxious longing of the creation waits eagerly for the revealing of the sons of God. 20 For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it, in hope 21 that the creation itself also will be set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God, (Romans 8:19-21).
  • He Makes the Crooked Straight in finding satisfaction.
    • All things are wearisome;
      Man is not able to tell it.
      The eye is not satisfied with seeing,
      Nor is the ear filled with hearing,

      • The fear of the Lord leads to life,
        So that one may sleep satisfied, untouched by evil,
        (Proverbs 19:23).
  • He Makes the Crooked Straight in attaining wisdom and knowledge.
    • And I set my mind to seek and explore by wisdom concerning all that has been done under heaven. It is a grievous task which God has given to the sons of men to be afflicted with… 16 I said to myself, “Behold, I have magnified and increased wisdom more than all who were over Jerusalem before me; and my mind has observed a wealth of wisdom and knowledge.” 17 And I set my mind to know wisdom and to know madness and folly; I realized that this also is striving after wind. 18 Because in much wisdom there is much grief, and increasing knowledge results in increasing pain (1:13, 16-18).
      • The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom,
        And the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding,
        (Proverbs 9:10).

How do we respond to Him Who Makes the Crooked Straight?

And once again, our response comes down to simply this, have faith and believe.

Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen, (Hebrews 11:1).

Let us have faith and believe His Word.

The sum of Your word is truth,
And every one of Your righteous ordinances is everlasting, (Psalm 119:160).

but these have been written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing you may have life in His name, (John 20:31).

Let us have faith and believe all that His Word will accomplish in our lives.

For this reason we also constantly thank God that when you received the word of God which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men, but for what it really is, the word of God, which also performs its work in you who believe, (1 Thessalonians 2:13).

Let us have faith and believe all that His Word reveals about every promise He has spoken.

For the Son of God, Christ Jesus, who was preached among you by us—by me and Silvanus and Timothy—was not yes and no, but is yes in Him. 20 For as many as are the promises of God, in Him they are yes; therefore also through Him is our Amen to the glory of God through us, (2 Corinthians 1:19-20).

Let us have faith and believe all that His Word reveals about our hope and future in Him.

Yet those who wait for the Lord
Will gain new strength;
They will mount up with wings like eagles,
They will run and not get tired,
They will walk and not become weary,
(Isaiah 40:31).

Let us have faith and believe that He Makes the Crooked Straight.

“The voice of one crying in the wilderness,
‘Make ready the way of the Lord,
Make His paths straight.
‘Every ravine will be filled,
And every mountain and hill will be brought low;
The crooked will become straight,
And the rough roads smooth;
And all flesh will see the salvation of God,’”
(Luke (Isaiah 40:31).

When we live with our eyes fixed on all that is crooked under the sun, despair is quick to follow. Let us have faith and believe; for then we will be strengthened and encouraged to wait in faith, believing we will see the salvation and goodness of Him Who Makes the Crooked Straight.

I would have despaired unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord
In the land of the living.
14 Wait for the Lord;
Be strong and let your heart take courage;
Yes, wait for the Lord,
(Psalm 27:13014).

Let’s Grow Together!

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