Ecclesiastes 2: 11-12, “Then I looked on all the works that my hands had wrought, and on the labor that I had labored to do: and, behold, all was vanity and vexation of spirit, and there was no profit under the sun. And I turned myself to behold wisdom, and madness, and folly: for what can the man do that cometh after the king? Even that which hath been already done.”
Solomon tells us unequivocally in Ecclesiastes chapter two, he finds no satisfaction in of all his accomplishments. There is no gratification for him, qualitatively or quantitatively. If you did not read the above scripture, go back and read it now.
Solomon could look back on all his life’s accomplishments, yet find nothing to bring him happiness. In chapter one, verse 18, Solomon stated, “For in much wisdom is much grief: and he that increases knowledge increases sorrow.”
Solomon asked God for wisdom to “lead this great people of yours” (2 Chronicles 1: 10). He made that request as a young man, but as he grew older, realized the problems that come with wisdom. In his kingship over Israel combined with his great wisdom, he accomplished many things.
Solomon’s riches were unmatched in that day and time by any of the known world’s greatest kings or queens. At a point in time, Solomon was believed to have possessed over 40 tons of pure gold. Do the math — at $1,780 per ounce.
The interior of the Jerusalem Temple (Temple of God, King Solomon’s Temple), built by Solomon nearly 1,000 years BCE, was plated with pure gold (1 Kings 6: 30).
In chapter five, verse 10, Solomon states “He that loves silver shall not be satisfied with silver.” Even with his enormous riches, he realized, there was never enough. Even many billionaires of today want just one more billion. No amount ever satisfies. There is no such word as “enough” in the vocabulary of some people.
Apparently, Solomon was basing this statement in chapter five on his own feelings. No amount of riches can ever satisfy; only one’s connection to his Creator and the concept of eternity can truly gratify.
In verse three, Solomon admits: “I tried cheering myself with wine.” In our modern day attempts at happiness and satisfaction, humans inject poisons into their bodies with needles, smoke various plants and take numerous kinds of pills to overcome the miseries of life.
Regardless of what we may attempt to escape the realities of this world, nothing satisfies. Nothing is final or complete. The results are always the same: the outcome is worse than the previous condition. Many attempt to escape the realities of the world with strong drink. The Bible teaches that drunkenness is sinful (Proverbs 20: 1 and Ephesians 5: 18). The Bible even warns us about hangovers (Isaiah 5: 11).
Anything that alters our state of mind is wrong in Bible teachings. In the same thought, substances that damage our bodies are against God’s rule book. Excessive amounts of anything are bad for us. The Bible even tells us what kinds of foods are safe for human consumption (Genesis 1: 29, Daniel 1: 8-12, Leviticus 11) and which are not.
Ecclesiastes 2: 4-6, “I made me great works; I built me houses; I planted me vineyards: I made me gardens and orchards, and I planted trees in them of all kind of fruits: I made me pools of water, to water therewith the wood that brings forth trees.”
Ecclesiastes 2: 11, “Then I looked on all the works that my hands had wrought, and on the labor that I had labored to do: and, behold, all was vanity and vexation of spirit, and there was no profit under the sun.” Nothing is eternal but God; we are so misaligned with our human priorities in our thinking that anything is beyond temporary. The span of time, the size of the universe or depth of Biblical understanding is far beyond and above what any of us can imagine. We say we understand the concept of eternity, but do we really?
Traveling in countries outside the U.S., we have noticed many buildings are constructed of very large, hand cut stones. Many of the cathedrals in Europe were built over 1,000 years ago and those stones are as solid as they were when put in place.
The stones King Solomon used in the construction of the temple, today are in place in the Western Wall in Jerusalem. We may think nothing is as permanent as those massive stones, but a time will come when they are turned to dust. At that point, eternity will have just begun.
Solomon’s frustration in his lack of satisfaction is an indication of his great wisdom. To always have a desire to be a better person, to build better and to work more efficiently are those elusive goals that are never reached. We may achieve those on a partial basis, but nothing is ever good enough.
Perhaps it is a good thing in some ways to see our work as never complete or satisfactory. Solomon’s lesson to us in Ecclesiastes chapter two is not necessarily to depress us, but to keep us on task to always improve.
Solomon’s teaching in chapter one is that “all is vanity” and the only lasting thing is eternity. If we, as Judeo-Christians, consider the New Testament to be the New Covenant between God and man, why would we not see the teaching of the Gospel of Jesus Christ as being of utmost importance?
That teaching is evidenced as being truth with many scriptural examples. If so, we must tell the world about Jesus. Many today have been misled into thinking there are other salvations. Biblically speaking, this is absolutely false (John 14: 6 and Acts 4: 12).
Many have found, in today’s world, all the material things we may accumulate never satisfies, but knowing Christ Jesus is an eternal satisfaction the world cannot provide.
We will continue to teach that salvation is by a faith belief that Christ Jesus was crucified for the remission of sin and resurrected. Galatians 1: 8, “But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.”
Paul in Galatia spoke to the new Christians that had soon chased after other gods. Paul emphasized to them in Galatians 1, the importance of being satisfied with the gospel he had preached, simply because it was the only one that was right.
Solomon doesn’t specifically speak of a coming messiah, but his writings prepared the Jews for the human condition of dissatisfaction. Because of Solomon’s teachings in Ecclesiastes, the coming savior offered the people a relief to the dissatisfaction we humans have while living in this material/physical world.
As we well know, the Jewish people of the time rejected Jesus as their savior. Many of them expected a warrior king to lead them from the oppression of the Romans. Some expected for Him to be born in opulence, not in a stable and having an animal feeding trough for a bed.
They certainly did not expect Him to change salvation from works to salvation by grace and mercy based on a faith-based belief. But HE did and because of our Jesus, those times of dissatisfaction are over.
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