Building On Clouds


So I came to hate life because everything done here under the sun is so troubling. Everything is meaningless {hebel}—like chasing the wind. 

~Ecclesiastes 2:17


He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep in order to gain what he cannot lose.

~Jim Elliott

As we have stated previously, the Hebrew word ‘hebel’ is used repeatedly in Ecclesiastes. Above, the NLT translates it ‘meaningless.’ The NASB reads ‘futile’ and the AV translates it ‘vanity.’ Originally, ‘hebel’ meant vapor or breath and figuratively something that has no substance such as wind or a cloud. I was driving the other day and noticed some huge white clouds and from my vantage point, they looked substantial but this is an illusion. Clouds have no substance. You can’t stand on a cloud, you can’t lay on a cloud and there will be no injury to your body if you run into a cloud. A cloud is nothing but vapor. From a distance, they appear real in substance but they are not. You cannot catch a cloud just as you cannot catch the wind.

Solomon testifies that he hates his life. Wow! How can a king hate his life? How can a wealthy man hate his life? How can a famous person hate their existence? These are easy questions to answer: the key lies in our purpose for living. Those who follow Christ understand their purpose and they live for HIM and not themselves. The world has nothing to offer other than clouds: wealth is a cloud and so is fame. Pleasure is a cloud and so is education and philosophy. A cloud chaser will ultimately die empty, unfulfilled and unhappy. Solomon is unhappy with life because he has been chasing clouds. He is feeding on food that has no calories. Entertainment and recreation have a place in life but they are clouds. They may refresh us from time to time [clouds can do that] but they cannot give us purpose and they cannot meet our deeper longings. We live in a culture that entertains itself to death and it has increased our level of anxiety and despair.

One of Solomon’s anxieties was his son. Solomon had amassed great wealth but he was leaving it to an idiot and he knew it. Would his wealth be managed properly after he was gone? Solomon was worried about maintaining his kingdom and his name. A follower of Jesus has neither of these concern to worry about. Our 401K had a super fall {season} and we so it grow astronomically in one quarter. When June saw it, she wanted the money but that is not the way an IRA works. Then for the last three months, we have seen another kind of fall, our account is losing money. I don’t worry about it because it is not my money. I don’t worry about keeping the .8 of an acre on Vaugh Bridge road either because the earth [land] belongs to the LORD: it’s his land. Why should I worry about what belongs to HIM?

To put it in a nutshell, those who chase clouds are going to come up empty. Like Solomon, their mortality will catch up with them and then it will be too late to change. I am telling you for a fact that I know people who are worrying themselves to death about what’s going to happen to their little kingdom when they die. It is a sad thing to witness and all so unnecessary. In their effort to keep it all, they will lose it all.

God has graciously given us a sacrament, the bible, His written word and it is not a cloud. The word of God is full of substance. My advice is–“get in the word and stop chasing clouds.”

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