Ecclesiastes 2:1-24 ~ Solomon recounts the vanity of men ~
Verses 1-2 [Solomon seeks to prove the LORD]
“I said in mine heart, Go to now, I will prove thee with mirth, therefore enjoy pleasure: and behold, this also is vanity. I said of laughter, It is mad: and of mirth, What doeth it?
Verses 3-4 [Solomon desires to know what the sons of men are to do]
I sought in mine heart to give myself unto wine, yet acquainting mine heart with wisdom; and to lay hold on folly, till I might see what was that good for the sons of men, which they should do under the heaven all the days of their life. I made me great works; I builded me houses; I planted me vineyards;
Verses 5-6 [I planted orchard, trees, and made pools of water]
I made me gardens and orchards, and I planted trees in them of all kinds of fruits: I made me pools of water, to water therewith the wood that bringeth forth trees:
Verses 7-8 [I had servants, great possessions, silver and gold in abundance]
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, and the peculiar treasure of kings and of the provinces: I gat me men singers, and the delights of the sons of men, as musical instruments, and that of all sorts.
Verses 9-10 [Solomon was greatly increased in stature]
So I was great, and increased more than all that were before me in Jerusalem: also my wisdom remained with me. And whatsoever mine eyes desired I kept not from any joy; for my heart rejoiced in all my labor: and this was my portion of all my labor.
Verses 11-12 [There is no profit under the sun]
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.
Verses 13-14 [The fool walks in darkness]
Then I saw that wisdom excelleth folly, as far as light excelleth darkness. The wise man’s eyes are in his head: but the fool walketh in darkness: and I myself perceived also that one event happeneth to them all.
Verses 15-16 [The wise man also dieth]
Then said I in my heart, As it happeneth to the fool, so it happeneth even to me; and why was I then more wise? Then I said in my heart, that this also is vanity. For there is no remembrance of the wise more than if the fool for ever; seeing that which now is in the days to come shall all be forgotten. And how dieth the wise man? as the fool.
Verses 17-18 [All work under the sun is vanity]
Therefore I hated life; because the work that is wrought under the sun is grievous unto me: for all is vanity and vexation of spirit. Yes, I hated all my labor which I had taken under the sun: because I should leave it unto the man that shall be after me.
Verses 19-20 [The labors and wisdom of men are vanity]
And who knoweth whether he shall be a wise man or a fool? yet shall he have rule over all my labor wherein I have labored and wherein I have showed myself wise under the sun. This is also vanity. Therefore I went about to cause my heart to despair of all the labor which I took under the sun.
For there is a man whose labor is in wisdom, and in knowledge, and in equity; yet to a man that hath not labored therein shall he leave it for his portion. This also is vanity and a great evil. For what hath man of all his labor, and of the vexation of his heart, wherein he hath labored under the sun?
Verses 23-24 [To worry is vanity, but it is good for man to enjoy his labor]
For all his days are sorrows, and his travail grief; ye, his heart taketh not rest in the night. This is also vanity. There is nothing better for a man, and that he should make his soul enjoy good in his labor. This also I saw, that it was from the hand of God.
Verses 25-16 [Gifts and justice from God]
For who can eat, or who else can hasten hereunto, more than I? For God giveth to a man that is good in his sight wisdom, and knowledge, and joy: but to the sinner he giveth travail, to gather and to heap up, that he may give to him that is good before God. This also is vanity and vexation of spirit.”
Ecclesiastes 3:1-15 ~ A season appointed for every season ~
Verses 1-2 [Birth and death, planting and harvest]
“To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under heaven: A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;
Verses 3-4 [Healing and building, laughing and weeping]
A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
Verses 5-6 [Keeping and loosing, embracing and gathering]
A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
Verses 7-8 [To speak, and to love]
A time to rend, and time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.
What profit hath he that worketh in that wherein he laboreth? I have seen the travail, which God hath given to the sons of men to be exercised in it.
Verses 11-12 [No man understand the works of God]
He hath made every thing beautiful in his time: also he hath set the world in their heart, so that no man can find out the work that God maketh from the beginning to the end. I know that there is no good in them, but for a man to rejoice, and to do good in his life.
Verses 13-15 [The fruit of our labour is a gift from God]
And also that every man should eat and drink, and enjoy the good of all his labor, it is the gift of God. I know that, whatsoever God doeth, it shall be for ever: nothing can be put to it, nor any thing taken from it: and God doeth it, that men should fear before him. That which hath been is now; and that which is to be hath already been; and God requireth that which is past.”
God has created all things for His pleasure, that His creation can flourish and prosper. It is an undeserved gift from God for us to enjoy the benefits of our labour. Man cannot add to, nor subtract from His creation, professing a healthy fear of our Creator. It is difficult for us to cease from our daily worries and concerns, because the flesh is strong and our faith weak. Jesus instructed us not to be concerned about any earthly things, relying instead on the Father to meet each of our needs. Earlier is his life, Solomon loved the LORD and sought after His wisdom. However, he was weak in the flesh and gave into his desires to have many wives and concubines, which contributed to his gradual movement towards the worship of false gods. Let us rejoice in the blessings from our LORD, focusing our attention upon the treasures which will last for eternity.
Blessings in His Name,
April 24th, 2011