Ecclesiastes 7:15 All things have I seen in the days of my vanity: there is a just man that perisheth in his righteousness, and there is a wicked man that prolongeth his life in his wickedness.
Ecclesiastes 8:14 There is a vanity which is done upon the earth; that there be just men, unto whom it happeneth according to the work of the wicked; again, there be wicked men, to whom it happeneth according to the work of the righteous: I said that this also is vanity.
Ecclesiastes is written from an entirely earthly perspective, dealing with all things “under the sun.” Yet it reminds us why it is that we must live our lives with eternity in view.
1. All is vanity. That which is temporal, that which is material, that which gratifies the flesh – it’s empty, it’s hollow, it doesn’t last. That’s the testimony of a man who tried it all.
2. If this life is all there is, then sometimes it doesn’t seem like God settles all accounts. Why do right if all you get for doing right is hardship and grief? Because even if (and that’s a big if) that’s all you get down here, that’s not all you get for doing right. Why resist the lusts of the flesh if I can indulge them – and enjoy it? Because even if that season in which there’s pleasure in sin lasts your entire life (and that’s a big if), your life is nothing in light of eternity. God might not settle all accounts here and now, but God does settle all accounts.
That’s why we walk by faith and not by sight. We have to have faith to look beyond this temporal realm and believe that obeying God and doing right and striving against sin is worth it, even though sometimes it just doesn’t look like that’s the case, as we live down here under the sun.
Jonathan Edwards asked God to stamp eternity on his eyes. May that be our prayer today.