Speaker: Jon Kopp - “Vanity of vanities, says the Preacher, vanity of vanities! All is vanity.” So begins and ends the book of Ecclesiastes. And on almost 30 times in between, the author exclaims that particular things are empty; things which are greatly valued by most people--work, education, pleasure, relationships, even life itself. How can such a bleak view of life be reconciled with genuine faith in God? Many even go so far as to charge this book with an atheistic outlook on our world. Does this book belong in our Bible, or should we just ignore it altogether? A cursory study of Ecclesiastes lays to rest the suspicion that it is atheistic. For starters, there are more than 30 references to God in the book, and they are not negative references. The author clearly believes in God, and urges his readers to fear God. To be sure, he comes to unsettling conclusions as he struggles with the contradictions and absurdities that life throws at us, but he comes to these conclusions as a believer. So, this morning, let’s learn from Solomon. Let’s allow his experiences and wisdom to point out the brokenness and crookedness of life on this earth, and may the grace of God lead us to the solution, the hope and life that is found in Jesus Christ. Life under the sun is vanity, but there is hope in the truth of God’s word!