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 ?”.
If a man beget an hundred children, and live many years, so that the days of his years be many, and his soul be not filled with good, and also that he have no burial; I say, that an untimely birth is better than he. For he cometh in with vanity, and departeth in darkness, and his name shall be covered with darkness. Moreover he hath not seen the sun, nor known any thing: this hath more rest than the other. Yea, though he live a thousand years twice told, yet hath he seen no good: do not all go to one place? All the labour of man is for his mouth, and yet the appetite is not filled. For what hath the wise more than the fool? what hath the poor, that knoweth to walk before the living? Better is the sight of the eyes than the wandering of the desire: this is also vanity and vexation of spirit. That which hath been is named already, and it is known that it is man: neither may he contend with him that is mightier than he.
If a man beget an hundred children, and live many years, so that the days of his years be many, and his soul be not filled with good, and also that he have no burial; I say, that an untimely birth is better than he. For he cometh in with vanity, and departeth in darkness, and his name shall be covered with darkness. Moreover he hath not seen the sun, nor known any thing: this hath more rest than the other.
Solomon observed a man who had a large family, and lived a long life of many years. He saw that although this man was blessed, his life did it hold purpose, meaning, and fulfillment for him. This is because, if a man’s life is not meaningful, filled with purpose and receiving the honor and respect of others, it ends up being wasted and without lasting value.
Solomon goes further and states that it is better to be still born, than to live this type of life that is characterized by a meaningless existence. Why is this? The still born baby comes and goes without notice by many. His life is short, never lived outside the womb in a world filled with trials, problems, and heartaches. In that sense the still born child has lived a life of rest and peace not having lived a wasted life filled with sorrow and trials.
Yea, though he live a thousand years twice told, yet hath he seen no good: do not all go to one place?
Solomon then explains that there is no benefit to living a long life, if life is filled with troubles and heartaches. All physical life ends the same… the grave, this does not change based upon the length of life that we live. Once again, Solomon helps us to understand there is no benefit to living a long life if not lived for the Lord.
All the labour of man is for his mouth, and yet the appetite is not filled.
Men who live to satisfy their desires will never find an end to wanting and getting, they will never truly be content.
For what hath the wise more than the fool?
Both wise and fools are subject to the same heartaches and troubles in life. Without Christ, both are headed for living a vain life that will end without eternal significance.
what hath the poor, that knoweth to walk before the living?
A poor man can be wise (knowing how to survive in this world) and yet still be ignorant to the true meaning to life and the need to serve Christ while on the earth. They still possess no eternal significance nor insight into the true meaning of life.
Better is the sight of the eyes than the wandering of the desire:
“The sight of the eyes” refers to the things in life that the man possesses, he can actually place his eyes upon as his possessions. It is better to be content with what we currently have, than to constantly desire and live for that which we do not possess.
this is also vanity and vexation of spirit.
All of these: prosperity in life, long life, fulfillment of desires, worldly wisdom, possession of world’s goods, all of these are short-lived with no lasting results and grasping at the wind.
That which hath been is named already, and it is known that it is man: neither may he contend with him that is mightier than he.
All of the conditions and things that men face in the world, their possessions, their desires, the length of their lives, the worldly wisdom they will accrue, the size of their families, etc etc… all these things, have already been named in the counsels of God.
All of these conditions, actions, desires and things that make up human life on earth is known as “man”. In other words, all of human life is expressed by the term “man” which means “ruddy, red, the color of clay”, which reminds us all of the origin, mortality and standing of man before God as His creation.
Knowing that God has decreed all that will take place in our lives, and understanding that we are “man”, creatures of God made from the red clay of the earth, we are reminded that we are not to stand in direct opposition to His will and ways. God is our Creator, we are simply His creation, God is the Sovereign of our lives, we are simply subjects who are to be in submission to His will.
Many different aspects of our physical life on earth are meaningless and vain apart from recognizing God’s hand in them. When we “leave the Lord out of things”, every event and action in our life becomes vain and without rhyme or reason. It is only when we recognize the Lord is the Sovereign Creator of our lives, do we begin to understand the purpose and meaning of our life’s events and the need to be in submission to His will as we learn the true purpose for our 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 Prt #1|
|5.||2:24-26||The pursuit of responsible (frugal & wise) living to retain worldly goods Prt #2|
|6.||3:1-8||A recognition of the Lord’s sovereign control over all life events Prt #1|
|7.||3:9-15||A recognition of the Lord’s sovereign control over all life events Prt #2|
|8.||3:16-22||A recognition of our need of Christ to see the nature and purpose of our life.|
|9.||4:1-3||A recognition that never being born is better than the sufferings of this life.|
|10.||4:4-16||The pursuit of earthly wisdom, diligence and living responsibly|
|11.||5:1-7||The pursuit of worldly vows, contracts, and promises|
|12.||5:8-17||The pursuit of worldly riches|
|13.||5:18-20||A recognition that enjoyment of this earthly life is God’s gracious gift to man|
|14.||6:1-2||A recognition of man’s inability to enjoy that which God has given to him.|
|15.||6:3-10||A recognition of man’s sinfulness, mortality and need of humility before God|
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