Solomon addresses himself as “the Preacher”. He is the one that will proclaim the spiritual truths of God to those in his nation and to Christians throughout time.
Keep in mind, Solomon learned these truths by trying to find the meaning to life through experiencing all this world has to offer. Solomon was uniquely suited to learn these lessons and share these truths with the people of God…
First of all, very few men possess sufficient wealth and power to be able to sample all this world has to offer (1 Kings 10:23).
Secondly, only Solomon and a few others throughout time, have been universally respected causing his teachings to be taken very seriously and thoughtfully by all (1 Kings 4:30-34). (Keep in mind, even Christ Himself and His teachings were rejected by many of those around Him.)
Solomon was God’s man, in God’s place, at God’s time, by God’s grace, to learn this most important truth and proclaim it with authority to those he loved. May we all listen carefully as Solomon reveals to us the true meaning to life and answer the question… “What Is Our Life If Not Lived for The Lord ?”.
Eccl 1:12-18 –
“I the Preacher was king over Israel in Jerusalem. And I gave my heart to seek and search out by wisdom concerning all things that are done under heaven: this sore travail hath God given to the sons of man to be exercised therewith. I have seen all the works that are done under the sun; and, behold, all is vanity and vexation of spirit. That which is crooked cannot be made straight: and that which is wanting cannot be numbered. I communed with mine own heart, saying, Lo, I am come to great estate, and have gotten more wisdom than all they that have been before me in Jerusalem: yea, my heart had great experience of wisdom and knowledge. And I gave my heart to know wisdom, and to know madness and folly: I perceived that this also is vexation of spirit. For in much wisdom is much grief: and he that increaseth knowledge increaseth sorrow.”
Solomon now reviews his decision to dedicate his life to finding the true purpose in life on earth…
I the Preacher was king over Israel in Jerusalem.
Solomon sees himself as a preacher, in other words, one that the Lord has called to give His message to His people. What is Solomon’s message? The true meaning to our lives on earth.
Solomon goes on to remind us that he was a king. He was in a great position to be able to experience all that this world had to offer. Because of this, we can believe his account and know that it was certainly within the realm of possibility that he truly sampled all of life’s offerings and found them all wanting. He had the money, the power, and the authority needed to obtain anything he desired and to experience anything that appealed to him.
And I gave my heart to seek and search out by wisdom concerning all things that are done under heaven:
He turned his desires over to find out why we are given earthly life and how to best find fulfillment and joy in it. He was to find these things out by diligently inquiring and experiencing all it has to offer. He would use all of his earthly wisdom to find the answer to these things.
this sore travail hath God given to the sons of man to be exercised therewith.
This “sore travail” is speaking of the evil pains of life. The seeming purposeless cyclical nature of life, the constant laboring which achieves on lasting results, and the absence of true happiness and joy in all worldly pursuits.
Men are “exercised” by these evil pains. In other words, they are stressed, weakened, and harmed by the very activities that they are destined to perform.
I have seen all the works that are done under the sun; and, behold, all is vanity and vexation of spirit.
Solomon summary observation after all is his investigation was completed… everything under the sun is “vanity” (valueless) and “vexation of spirit” (grasping for the wind). In other words, everything done on this earth is in actuality short-lived, impossible to produce happiness, peace and contentment, and without lasting value.
That which is crooked cannot be made straight: and that which is wanting cannot be numbered.
The works and offerings of this fallen world cannot be changed into a source of joy, fulfillment, and value. Sin has touched this world, preventing it from holding any lasting value for its inhabitants. Solomon through much inquiry found this out for himself.
I communed with mine own heart, saying,
Solomon conversed with his innermost being. He sincerely attempted to evaluate his own position in this world and the calling he had been given…
Lo, I am come to great estate, and have gotten more wisdom than all they that have been before me in Jerusalem: yea, my heart had great experience of wisdom and knowledge.
Solomon understood he held a very blessed position. The Lord had allowed him to own much wealth and possess more wisdom to lead his people than any other. He also understood that the Lord has allowed him to live a life filled with many experiences. The Lord had done all of these things for him to help him come to an understanding of the true nature of man’s life and their purpose in this world.
And I gave my heart to know wisdom, and to know madness and folly:
Solomon also reflected on his calling and desire of his heart… to come to an understanding of living a life of earthly wisdom, a madman, and fool. He wanted to know if the application of worldly knowledge, prideful ravings and meaningless silly actions and speech gave men true satisfaction and meaning to their life.
I perceived that this also is vexation of spirit. For in much wisdom is much grief: and he that increaseth knowledge increaseth sorrow.”
Solomon recognized that worldly wisdom, pride, boasting, and silliness were only worthless attempts to grasp for the winds of contentment and purpose for life.
Folks, Solomon had come to understand that all of man’s efforts to find lasting peace and contentment through worldly offerings were futile.
Not only was Solomon called to find the true meaning to life, but he also greatly desired to find peace within for his own benefit. As our studies continue Solomon will delve into great details concerning his search for life’s purpose.
May we all come to understand that running after the offerings of this world to achieve true lasting joy is only “grasping at the wind”. And, as we follow Solomon’s search for life’s true meaning, may we come to understanding and accept his findings by faith. This will eliminate our need to waste our lives by testing world pursuits and allow us to wholly commit ourselves to the service of God as the only source of real joy, peace and contentment.
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