The purpose and theme of the book of Ecclesiastes is to show to man that all of life is empty, vain, and meaningless without the Lord. Keep in mind that the man sharing this perspective had it all according to the world’s philosophy: wine, women, and worldly goods. In Ecclesiastes 2:1, Solomon states very simply and in summary form his goal in life and his findings. He said, "I said in mine heart, Go to now, I will prove thee with mirth, therefore enjoy pleasure: and, behold, this also is vanity." His goal was to live it up and "enjoy pleasure," and found as a result of his pursuit that everything was "vanity."
Solomon’s Experiment (2:3-10)
Notice what Solomon pursued to find satisfaction and purpose in life: wine (v. 3), works (v. 4)—he mentioned the houses he built, women (v. 7), plenty of wealth (v. 8), and even tried worshiping himself (v. 9). He decided that he "was great." What is it that you think would bring you ultimate satisfaction in life? Solomon essentially said, "Been there, done that!"
"Of all this enjoyment, there remained nothing but the feeling of emptiness. The satisfaction he sought to obtain at such an expense was nothing else than a momentary delusion" (Keil and Delitzsch).
So let us learn from Solomon’s experiment that life in the fast lane isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.
Solomon’s Enjoyment (2:11-21)
Solomon’s Enjoyment (2:11-21)
The truth of the matter is, according to Solomon, there is no enjoyment in the personal pursuit of happiness and finding meaning in life. Solomon actually concluded that he "hated life" (2:17). When our pursuits in life are self-oriented, this will always be the outcome. Nothing beats being in the will of God and seeking to please Him rather than self. Genuine enjoyment in life comes not from the pursuit of it, but by pure and simple obedience to God and His Holy Word.
Solomon’s Enlightenment (2:22-26)
To enjoy life and have purpose even in your work is a gift from God. He realized what the Bible says, that "God giveth to a man that is good in His sight wisdom, and knowledge, and joy" (2:26). God only enables people to have enjoyment and purpose in life if they are "good" according to the Bible, which means they please the Lord. I promise you that as long as you reflect on how others are treating you, or how you differ with someone at church, or that your opinion is not respected, you will not enjoy the life God intended for you. LET GO AND LET GOD!
I remember reading years ago about a well-known comedian who was severely burned when he was accidentally set aflame. He said that he remembers immediately calling upon God and noted that he didn’t call upon Bank Americard. There are many things that American Express, Visa, MasterCard, and Bank Americard can get us. But two things it cannot purchase are peace with ourselves and peace with God.
What this world has to offer pales in comparison to what someone can have in Jesus Christ. The promise of eternal life through belief in the Son of God is the starting point to peace, joy, and meaningful living.
By: Dr. Bud Calvert