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Ecclesiastes 1-4

Jul 28, 2004 12:45 PM EDT

Ecclesiastes 1-4

The vanity (emptiness) of living for pleasure and material gain; a reason for everything; varied proverbs of wisdom

It would be easy to be impressed by the achievements of Solomon. He wrote: 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 (irrigate) therewith the wood that brings forth trees: I got me servants and maidens, and had servants born in my house; also I had great possessions of great and small cattle above all that were in Jerusalem before me: I gathered me also silver and gold . . . I got me . . . delights of the sons of men. . . . So I was great, and increased more than all that were before me in Jerusalem. . . . And whatsoever my eyes desired I kept not from them (Ecclesiastes 2:4-10).

The key word here is me. Solomon did all of these things for himself. With each increasing excess, he found less and less pleasure. Jesus declared success in life with one simple statement: Seek . . . first the Kingdom of God, and His righteousness; and all these things (material necessities) shall be added to you (Matthew 6:33).

Solomon eventually concluded: 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 (chasing after the wind), and there was no profit under the sun. Solomon was rightly troubled when he continued: I hated (abhorred) life; because the work that is wrought under the sun is grievous to me: for all is vanity and vexation of spirit (Ecclesiastes 2:11,17). Sadly, many today are still trying to gain fulfillment with earthly pursuits while ignoring the will of God.

It is recorded that, when Solomon began his reign, he loved the LORD, walking in the statutes of David his father. But Solomon's heart was divided for he also burned incense in high places (I Kings 3:3). Because of his divided heart, his priorities became distorted and he gradually set his heart on material projects, wealth, women, and their heathen gods.

Each of us needs to consider: What is God's purpose for my brief life? Can we expect to hear Jesus say Well done, good and faithful servant; you have been faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things: enter into the joy of your Lord (Matthew 25:23).

Reprinted from Bible Pathway International, Murfreesboro, Tennessee.