Presentation on theme: "Lesson 14 – Seeking Fulfillment…Finding Regret – Part 2: The Agonizing Search for Meaning Ecclesiastes 2:1 – 2:26 Brian K. Davis January 18, 2012 Seeking."— Presentation transcript:
Lesson 14 – Seeking Fulfillment…Finding Regret – Part 2: The Agonizing Search for Meaning Ecclesiastes 2:1 – 2:26 Brian K. Davis January 18, 2012 Seeking Answers A Study in Ecclesiastes
Life Under the Sun - “All is Vanity” New Testament paints secular life in I John 2: Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world. 17 And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever. These three are the most common delusion of life under the sun. Solomon deals with each of these seductive powers in two broad themes in the book of Ecclesiastes – Wisdom and Pleasure Ecclesiastes 2:3 – “…till I might see what was good for the sons of men to do under heaven all the days of their lives.” Focus is on Pleasure in Ecclesiastes 2: lust of the flesh – Food and Folly lust of the eye – Aesthetic Improvements pride of life – Cultural Improvements and Pleasure of Possessions
Consider the Approach of Solomon in Ecclesiastes 1:12-2:26 – He is diligent in his quest: 13 And I set my heart to seek and search out by wisdom concerning all that is done under heaven; this burdensome task God has given to the sons of man, by which they may be exercised. 16 I communed with my heart, saying, Look, I have attained greatness, and have gained more wisdom than all who were before me in Jerusalem. My heart has understood great wisdom and knowledge.” 17 And I set my heart to know wisdom and to know madness and folly. I perceived that this also is grasping for the wind. 1 I said in my heart, “Come now, I will test you with mirth; therefore enjoy pleasure”; but surely, this also was vanity. 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. 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. 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.” 20 Therefore I turned my heart and despaired of all the labor in which I had toiled under the sun. 22 For what has man for all his labor, and for the striving of his heart with which he has toiled under the sun? 23 For all his days are sorrowful, and his work burdensome; even in the night his heart takes no rest. This also is vanity. He references his or man’s “heart” 14 times in 10 of the 32 verses. The “Heart” of the Matter
Consider the Who in Ecclesiastes 2: 1 I said in my heart, “Come now, I will test you with mirth; therefore enjoy pleasure”; but surely, this also was vanity. 2 I said of laughter—“Madness!”; and of mirth, “What does it accomplish?” 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. 4 I made my works great, I built myself houses, and planted myself vineyards. 5 I made myself gardens and orchards, and I planted all kinds of fruit trees in them. 6 I made myself water pools from which to water the growing trees of the grove. 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. 8 I also gathered for myself silver and gold and the special treasures of kings and of the provinces. I acquired male and female singers, the delights of the sons of men, and musical instruments of all kinds. 9 So I became great and excelled more than all who were before me in Jerusalem. Also my wisdom remained with me. 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. 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. 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. 13 Then I saw that wisdom excels folly As light excels darkness. 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. 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.” 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! 17 Therefore I hated life because the work that was done under the sun was distressing to me, for all is vanity and grasping for the wind. In first 17 verses, reference to I, My, Me or Myself occurs 52 times in NKJV – to say Solomon was in it for himself would be an understatement! “Me, Myself, I and My”
Solomon’s “me-focused” search (i.e. his experience) Causes Him to Hate Life and Labor: To take this ‘me-focused’ search required a lot of money, servants and wisdom Money – II Chronicles 1:15 and I Kings 10:27 – ‘silver and gold were as common as stones in Jerusalem’ Servants – I Kings 4:26 – ‘forty thousand stalls of horses’ – not to mention the herdsman, house servants, etc. Wisdom – Ecclesiastes 2:9 - ‘my wisdom remained with me’ V1 – ‘Come now’ – indicates a change in his search – this sets in motion that most elaborate undertaking in the history of mankind! Major Theme of the book – ‘All is Vanity’; however, there is a minor chord that is played out through this book as well – Any thoughts as to what this is? Consider 2:24 – This is a minor chord which Solomon plays through out the book – we have seen in 6 other places within the book. Pleasure is Vanity!
A Closer Examination of Verses 2 – 11: Laughter is Madness – Ecclesiastes 2:2 Consider what else Solomon writes about Laughter – 7:3, 6; 10:19 See Proverbs 14:13 and Luke 6:25 ‘Lust of the Flesh’ - Food and Folly – Ecclesiastes 2:3 Consideration of the word ‘Wine’ ‘Lust of the Eyes’ – Aesthetic Improvements – Ecclesiastes 2:4-6 Why is the Temple not mentioned? I Kings 7:1-12 – Solomon’s Building Projects ‘Pride of life’ – Cultural Improvements / Pleasure of Possessions – Ecclesiastes 2:7-8 Consider Deuteronomy 17:17 in contrast with verse 8 ‘I Became Great and Excelled’, ‘My Reward’, ‘No Profit Under the Sun’ – Ecclesiastes 2:9-11 Greater than David and Saul Where is the Eureka? He accomplished everything his heart desired, but did not find what he was searching for – verse 3. Earthly desires fulfilled and earthly needs met No Profit Under the Sun – Consider Colossians 3:2; Matthew 6:19-21 Laughter is Madness; No Profit Under the Sun
The Wise Man and the Fool Will Die the Same – Ecclesiastes 2:12-16 Contrast Wise and Fool with Light and Darkness – Consider Paul’s writings in Ephesians 5:8; I Thessalonians 5:5 Earthly Wisdom Has It Advantages – Ecclesiastes 2:13; 7:11,12 and 19; 9:18; 10:10 Days Are Sorrowful; His Work is Burdensome; Nights are Not Restful – Ecclesiastes 2:17-23 Solomon Hated Life and Labor – He must leave all he has gained to someone – Who knows whether he will be wise or a fool? A Great Evil – Leaving All He has to Someone Who Has Not Labored for It Consider Ecclesiastes 5:12 – Regarding Sleep Solomon Considerations ‘Above the Sun’ – Ecclesiastes 2:24-26 His soul should enjoy good in his labor – it is from the hand of God Value of Wisdom and Pleasure Stops at the Grave; Hated Life and Labor; Enjoy Good in Labor