Solomon addresses himself as “the Preacher”. He is the one that will proclaim the spritiual 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 2:18-23 –
(18) Yea, I hated all my labour which I had taken under the sun: because I should leave it unto the man that shall be after me. (19) And who knoweth whether he shall be a wise man or a fool? yet shall he have rule over all my labour wherein I have laboured, and wherein I have shewed myself wise under the sun. This is also vanity. (20) Therefore I went about to cause my heart to despair of all the labour which I took under the sun. (21) For there is a man whose labour is in wisdom, and in knowledge, and in equity; yet to a man that hath not laboured therein shall he leave it for his portion. This also is vanity and a great evil. (22) For what hath man of all his labour, and of the vexation of his heart, wherein he hath laboured under the sun? (23) For all his days are sorrows, and his travail grief; yea, his heart taketh not rest in the night. This is also vanity.
Solomon now begins an investigation of the short-lived benefits of responsible stewardship over the things of this world …
Yea, I hated all my labour which I had taken under the sun: because I should leave it unto the man that shall be after me.
Solomon came to despise possessing a life goal of laboring for material possessions. What was the reason behind this? To put it in today’s vernacular, Solomon realized that “you can’t take it with you”. He realized that, eventually, at his death, he would lose all of his material possessions and they would be given to another person.
And who knoweth whether he shall be a wise man or a fool? yet shall he have rule over all my labour wherein I have laboured, and wherein I have shewed myself wise under the sun.
Solomon understood that the one who would receive his possessions may be a poor steward of all for which he had labored. At his death, Solomon would lose all authority in his possessions. The one receiving his possessions would have complete control over how they would be used. He could use them wisely or waste them in a very foolish way.
This is also vanity.
Solomon came to understand that the transferal of all his possessions, at his death, made all his labors to accumulate those possessions simply acts of vanity (short-lived benefits, no lasting value).
Therefore I went about to cause my heart to despair of all the labour which I took under the sun. For there is a man whose labour is in wisdom, and in knowledge, and in equity; yet to a man that hath not laboured therein shall he leave it for his portion.
As Solomon learned of the vanity of accumulation of earthly goods and the disposition of them at death, Solomon became very depressed and despondent. A man can use his many talents, knowledge and morality to gain a great fortune on earth, and yet lose it all to one who has done nothing to deserve them.
What a great waste of human effort, what a sad misuse of accumulated material possessions to lose them at death and have them turned over to others who do not deserve them but will only squander them.
This also is vanity and a great evil.
This is makes the accumulation of worldly possessions short-lived, of no lasting benefit, and actually harmful to both the one who accumulates them and the slothful one who wastes them of carnal, worldly pursuits.
For what hath man of all his labour, and of the vexation of his heart, wherein he hath laboured under the sun? For all his days are sorrows, and his travail grief; yea, his heart taketh not rest in the night.
When a man devotes his life to live frugally and wisely in an attempt to accumulate the vain things of this world, he is destined to live a life filled with:
- labour – great effort that only wears one down
- vexation of heart – constant unfulfilled desires (always wanting more).
- sorrows – painful regret
- travail grief – busyness that produces only sorrow
- no rest in the night – worries, cares, lack of sleep
This is also vanity.
When Solomon looked at the effects of living for worldly possessions on our lives, he comes to the same conclusion…. It is short-lived and without any lasting value.
Folks, we should always be careful to not misinterpret Solomon’s teachings on these issues. There is nothing wrong with frugal and wise use of our material possessions. In many ways these can be admirable pursuits…. However, it should never be our goal in living.
hen the accumulation and frugal use of material possessions become our life goal we are headed to living a wasted life. Solomon has proven to us all that it is vain pursuit that will only bring regret and pain to us as we come to an end of ur lives.
Solomon’s pursuit of the meaning of life included:
|1.||2:1-3||The pursuit of carnal desires (the base pleasures found in a fallen world)|
|2.||2:4-11||The pursuit of material possessions through human labors|
|3.||2:12-17||The pursuit of worldly wisdom, madness and folly|
|4.||2:18-23||The pursuit of responsible (frugal & wise) living to retain worldly goods|
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