Verse 1 – I said in my heart, “Come now I will test you with mirth; therefore enjoy pleasure”; but surely this was also vanity.
Solomon conducted his search for life’s meaning as an experiment. Do you also search for life’s meaning, or do you search out God who gives meaning to life?
Verse 2 – I said of laughter, “It is madness”; and of mirth, “What does it accomplish?”
Verse 3 – I searched in my heart how to gratify my flesh with wine, while guiding my heart with wisdom, and how to lay hold on folly, till I might see what was good for the sons of men to do under heaven all the days of their lives.
Even pleasures perused in moderation will not bring happiness.
Verse 4 – I made my works great, I built houses, and planted myself vineyards.
Verse 5 – I made myself gardens and orchards, and I planted all kinds of fruit trees in them.
Verse 6 – I made myself water-pools from which to water growing trees of the grove.
Solomon built houses, a temple, a kingdom, and a family. In Psalm 127:1, he wrote, “Unless the Lord builds the house, its builders labor in vain. Unless the Lord watches over the city, the watchmen stand guard in vain.” These are part of Solomon’s testimony to what happens when people forget God.
Verse 7 – I acquired male and female servants, and had servants born in my house. Yes, I had greater possessions of herds and flocks than all who were in Jerusalem before me.
Verse 8 – I also gathered for myself silver and gold and the special treasures of kings and of provinces. I acquired male and female singers, the delights of the sons of men, and musical instruments of all kinds.
Verse 9 – So I became great and excelled more than all who were before me in Jerusalem. Also my wisdom remained with me.
Even though Solomon had all the riches; all the power in Jerusalem, he did not become an addict or lose self-control. Take the time to read the stories of all the people who became large lottery winners, where they ended up losing it all. Money in the hand of someone who does not have self-control or God’s wisdom, will end up as broke as when they first started.
Verse 10 – Whatever my eyes desired I did not keep from them. I did not withhold my heart from any pleasure, for my heart rejoiced in all my labor; and this was my reward from all my labor.
Verse 11 – Then I looked on all the works that my hands had done and on the labor in which I had toiled; and indeed all was vanity and grasping for the wind. There was no profit under the sun.
All the accomplishments in a life-time are so meaningless, unless done through and for the Lord. If everything we do in life is for self-gratification, it will seem like we were just grasping the wind when it’s all over.
Verse 12 – Then I turned myself to consider wisdom and madness and folly; for what can the man do who succeeds the king? – Only what he has already done.
Verse 13 – Then I saw that wisdom excels folly as light excels darkness.
Verse 14 – The wise man’s eyes are in his head, but the fool walks in darkness. Yet I myself perceived that the same event happens to them all.
The fool will fall into all kinds of trouble because of the decisions he makes. All these choices brings ruin, but they both have to die. One just may live a better life because of better decisions.
Verse 15 – So I said in my heart, “As it happens to the fool, it also happens to me, and why was I then more wise?” Then I said in my heart, “This also is vanity.”
The same thing may happen to the just and the unjust, but the end of a thing is not the same.
Verse 16 – For there is no more remembrance of the wise than of the fool forever, since all that now is, will be forgotten in the days to come. And how does a wise man die? As the fool!
The wise man may die as the fool, but wisdom in life will choose Jesus Christ. The eternity will not be the same for the person who says there is no God, in comparison to the one who chose Christ!
Verse 17 – Therefore I hated life, because the work that was done under the sun was grievous to me, for all vanity and grasping for the wind.
Verse 18 -Then I hated all my labor in which I had toiled under the sun, because I must leave it to the man who will come after me.
Verse 19 – And who knows whether he will be a wise man or a fool? Yet he will rule over all my labor in which I toiled and in which I have shown myself wiser under the sun. This also is vanity.
Solomon’s real question was: Was it worth it to acquire all this wealth to leave it to someone that will be foolish with it and lose it all, or will they take great care in stewardship? None of us truly know if what we leave will be taken care of or not, but that doesn’t mean we give up and stop working towards a productive life.
Verse 20 – Therefore I turned my heart and despaired of all the labor in which I had toiled under the sun.
Verse 21 – For there is a man whose labor is with wisdom, knowledge, and skill; yet he must leave his heritage to a man who has not labored for it. This also is vanity and a great evil.
Verse 22 – For what has man for all his labor, and for the striving of his heart with which he has toiled under the sun?
Verse 23 – For all his days are sorrowful, and his work grievous; even in the night his heart takes no rest. This also is vanity.
This is a picture of a heart absent from the love of God. Only God can fill that void.
Verse 24 – There is nothing better for a man than that he should eat and drink, and that his soul should enjoy good in his labor. This also I saw, was from the hand of God.
Verse 25 – For who can eat or who can have enjoyment, more than I?
Verse 26 – For God gives wisdom and knowledge and joy to a man who is good in His sight; but to the sinner He gives work of gathering and collecting, that he may give to him who is good before God. This also is vanity and grasping for the wind.
All blessings and all good things come from the hand of God. Christians are aware of where their blessings come from and are grateful , giving praises to the giver. On the other side, is the lost. The one who does as they please for self-gratification, never giving thanks to God or anyone else. That which they have toiled for will one day end up in the hands of the righteous.