Today we consider the things in life that do not satisfy. Key words are man, labour, and vanity. We see the theme that apart from God, all is vanity (Eccl. 1:2); seeking after satisfaction in building things, indulging in pleasures, or gaining material riches, but none of these satisfies the human spirit. Sounds pretty hopeless, but read on — there is a wonderful answer!
It would be easy to be impressed by the achievements of Solomon. He wrote: I builded me houses; I planted me vineyards: I made me gardens and orchards, and I planted trees in them of all kind of fruits . . . I got me servants and maidens, and had servants born in my house; also I had great possessions of great and small cattle above all that were in Jerusalem before me: I gathered me also silver and gold . . . I gat me . . . delights of the sons of men. . . . So I was great, and increased more than all that were before me in Jerusalem. . . . And whatsoever mine eyes desired I kept not from them (Eccl. 2:4-10).
The key words here are "I" and "me." Solomon did all of these things for himself. With each increasing excess, he found less and less pleasure. Jesus declared success in life with one simple statement: Seek ye first the Kingdom of God, and His righteousness; and all these things (material necessities) shall be added unto you (Matt. 6:33).
Solomon eventually concluded: I looked on all the works that my hands had wrought, and on the labour that I had laboured to do: and, behold, all was vanity and vexation of spirit (chasing after the wind), and there was no profit under the sun (Eccl. 2:11). Solomon was rightly troubled when he said: Therefore I hated (abhorred) life; because the work that is wrought under the sun is grievous unto me: for all is vanity and vexation of spirit (2:17). Sadly, many today are still trying to gain fulfillment with earthly pursuits while ignoring the will of God.
It is recorded that, when Solomon began his reign, he loved the Lord, walking in the statutes of David his father . . . (But Solomon's heart was divided); he sacrificed and burnt incense in high places (I Kin. 3:3). Consequently, his priorities became distorted and he gradually set his heart on material projects, wealth, and women.
Each of us needs to consider: "What is God's purpose for my brief life?" Can we expect to hear Jesus say: Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter . . . into the joy of thy Lord (Matt. 25:23)?
Thought for Today:
When my soul fainted within me I remembered the Lord: and my prayer came in unto Thee, into Thine Holy Temple (Jon. 2:7).
As God, the true source of wisdom, and knowledge, and joy — the One who truly satisfies (Eccl. 2:26). We have the mind of Christ which is wisdom, knowledge, and joy (I Cor. 2:16; see also Luke 21:15; John 15:11; Rom. 15:14).
1:13 sore travail =b> grievous task; 1:17 madness and folly =b> the ways of the foolish; vexation of spirit =b> very unsatisfying, grasping after the wind; 2:21 in equity =b> with skill; portion =b> inheritance.
Pray for Country: Suriname (431,000) on the northeastern coast of South America • Major languages: Dutch and English • Very limited religious freedom • 27% Hindu; 22% Roman Catholic; 20% Protestant; 20% Muslim; 6% witchcraft and spirit worship • Prayer Suggestion: The Word of God, confession, and prayer bring the believer into close communion with God (Neh. 9:2-5).
Optional Reading: Hebrews 5
Memory Verse for the Week: 2 Corinthians 4:10