Hebel, Hebel, Hebel


“Meaningless! Meaningless!” says the Teacher. “Utterly meaningless! Everything is meaningless.”

~Ecclesiastes 1:2, NIV


Hedonism–the gloomy philosophy which says that pleasure is the only good.

~C.S. Lewis

Who wrote the book of Ecclesiastes? Verse one says, “The words of the Teacher, the son of David, king in Jerusalem.” To my knowledge, David had only one son who was king in Jerusalem and his name was Solomon. The Hebrew word qoheleth can be translated as preacher or teacher. The NASB translates it preacher and the NIV as teacher. The word literally means a collector of sentences, one who writes and delivers speeches or gives lectures. Although scholars are divided on authorship and purpose; I have my own opinion {imagine that}. I think Solomon’s passion was teaching at the university level. It is my opinion that Ecclesiastes is a collection of his lecture notes. It took me several readings and considerable time to get into Ecclesiastes but over time, it has become a favorite. I love this book. One must understand that Ecclesiastes is not a book of law, it is personal notes and reflections from the pen of Solomon. We must keep in mind that Solomon did more than rule a kingdom, he was a builder, a sage and a teacher. He had the money and the resources to try practically everything in existence and he did things that most men will never get an opportunity to do. We would be fools not to learn from his mistakes.

One of Solomon’s favorite words is ‘hebel’. He used it four times in verse two and thirty times in Ecclesiastes. The NIV and NLT translates it ‘meaningless’, the NASB and KJV translate it ‘vanity’. The word literally means ‘vapor’ or ‘breath.’ It describes something without substance, something that cannot fill or fulfill and something that is transitory. Solomon tried to find pleasure in everything under the sun and all was hebel–meaningless, vain, without substance and unfulfilling. Yes, the great sage, the son of David turned to hedonism and it left him as empty as a 55 gallon drum. Do you and I need to try liquor, drugs, promiscuous sex, and other forms of hedonism, or do we learn from Solomon’s example? He didn’t live to be an old man. My guess is that he died with venereal disease in his middle to late 50’s which is not old. I know what you are thinking: where did I come up with such an idea. Do the math yourself. They think he was between 15-20 when he became king and he reigned for 40 years. He had 700 wives and 300 concubines and most of them were foreigners. You have that many sexual encounters and the odds of you catching an STD is astronomical. If you want to follow his bad example, be my guest but don’t expect a long and fruitful life on planet earth.

As the famous Evel Kenevil once said, “If you inject nitro into the carburetor, you will get a sudden burst of energy and power. You will be the fastest car on the track for a few laps, but it’s just a matter of time before you blow an engine.” I heard the late great Vance Havner say, “I don’t need a scripture verse to tell me drinking liquor is evil, all I have to do is observe the behavior of those who drink.” Sounds like common sense to me.

Praise the LORD for a good day yesterday. I finally got to preach my Mary Magdalene sermon which I intended to preach Easter. We had a good service at GRACE POINT and then June and I drove to Birmingham to see my cousin Karen. They hope to do her surgery something this week. Last night was our first time in the newly remodeled sanctuary. David and the band sounded great. Bro. Teddy did an outstanding job reporting on GRACE MINISTRIES. Mrs. Lisa also brought me a pecan pie, hallelujah! Actually, she and Teddy brought us a lot of things. Grace ministries fits Teddy and Lisa: they are givers. We do appreciate Teddy and family. I also want to thank David and all those that helped with the sanctuary. Everything looks great. I really like the stage.

I got a $500 pledge last night to the VBS Grace Ministry offering. Eat your heart out Sylania and team. I tried to get one of our wealthy trustees to match the $500 pledge and he turned me down flat. He put me down so hard and fast, it almost hurt my feeling. I’m trying to get Michael H to make a contribution but he wants to see my hair dyed pink and I thought he was my friend. Like is filled with disappointments.

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