Scripture reading – Ecclesiastes 1; Ecclesiastes 2

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Ecclesiastes 2

* The following is the second of two devotions for today.

Ecclesiastes 2 gives us a window into the soul of a backslidden, spiritually destitute man. Like the narcissistic culture of today, Solomon’s focus was on himself. Forty-one times in the first ten verses of Ecclesiastes 2, Solomon employed the personal pronouns “I…mine…myself” (Ecclesiastes 2:1-10). Unless we consciously avoid it, we are all guilty of the same.

Some Things Have Not Changed (Ecclesiastes 2:1-11)

In a vain attempt to find happiness and fulfillment, Solomon turned to riches and pleasures but observed, “It is mad” (Ecclesiastes 2:1-2). He turned to wine and found despair and emptiness (Ecclesiastes 2:3). He played the fool with “the sons of men” (Ecclesiastes 2:3) and found no meaning.

Solomon then applied himself to incredible feats, built palaces, and established vineyards, gardens, and orchards (Ecclesiastes 2:4-6). He amassed wealth, had “servants and maidens” to do his bidding (Ecclesiastes 2:7), and musicians and singers to entertain him (Ecclesiastes 2:8). His success and wealth exceeded all who went before him (Ecclesiastes 2:9). There was nothing he did not afford for pleasure (Ecclesiastes 2:10).

Yet, the king found no joy and satisfaction, for “there was no profit under the sun” (Ecclesiastes 2:11).

 

The Perspectives of the Wise and the Foolish (Ecclesiastes 2:12-15)

Solomon depended on the LORD as a young man and was tender and humble before Him. However, when he became old and amassed all he desired, he turned from God and became a spiritual pauper. Sadly, he chose the way of the fool and walked in darkness (Ecclesiastes 2:14).

Solomon wrote, “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” (Ecclesiastes 2:15).

A Universal Truth: Only in the LORD will we Find Happiness and Contentment. (Ecclesiastes 2:16-19)

All eventually die, and both the foolish and the wise leave this world and take nothing (Ecclesiastes 2:16).  Many aspire to wealth and possessions, only to come to the end of life and realize: “I hated all my labour which I had taken under the sun: because I should leave it [the fruits of his work] unto the man that shall be after me” (Ecclesiastes 2:18).

The king did not know whether those who succeeded him would be wise or foolish (Ecclesiastes 2:19). Nevertheless, others would enjoy the fruit of his labor and sacrifices (Ecclesiastes 2:20-21). Indeed, “This is also vanity” (Ecclesiastes 2:19).

 

Closing thoughts –

A life lived apart from the LORD and contradictory to His Law and Commandments will never know satisfaction or contentment! (Ecclesiastes 2:20-26) No pleasures can mask the sadness, nor riches satisfy the void of a sinner’s heart apart from the LORD.  In the final verse of our study, Solomon wrote:

Ecclesiastes 2:26 – “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.”

Truth – Pursuing Peace and Joy Apart from God Never Satisfies.

Copyright © 2023 – Travis D. Smith 

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