- Eccl. 1:12-18; 2:1-11, 17-26; 4:1-16; 5:1-20; 6:1-9; 7:13-14; 8:2-15; 9:13-18
Solomon applied his heart to learning a lot about life in the search for happiness and true meaning. He began by pursuing much wisdom and knowledge. What he found, however, was that everything was meaningless. He said, "For with much wisdom comes much sorrow; the more knowledge, the more grief." (Eccl. 1:18 NIV) He pursued pleasure—things that made him feel good—and he found that laughter and folly and wine are foolish. Solomon undertook great projects, building houses, vineyards, gardens, parks and planting trees. Then he saw that the work he put in would simply be enjoyed by those who came after him and he had no control on whether they were wise or foolish, good or evil.
The result of this was that Solomon hated life. He was quite depressed to find that none of these pursuits brought his life true meaning. He said:
24 A person can do nothing better than to eat and drink and find satisfaction in their own toil. This too, I see, is from the hand of God, 25 for without him, who can eat or find enjoyment? 26 To the person who pleases him, God gives wisdom, knowledge and happiness, but to the sinner he gives the task of gathering and storing up wealth to hand it over to the one who pleases God. This too is meaningless, a chasing after the wind.
(Eccl. 2:24-26 NIV)
Solomon found that there is all manner of evil under the sun and it depressed him:
- Those who were unfairly oppressed by others.
- Those who worked hard but were lonely having no one with which to enjoy the fruits of their labor.
- There would be foolish rulers who caused suffering for their subjects due to poor decisions.
- Those who made vows to GOD but failed to fulfill them.
- Those who loved money but were never satisfied with what they had nor took time to enjoy it.
- Those who had many possessions but failed to be satisfied and lost sleep worrying how to protect what they had gathered.
- Both the righteous and the wicked face ups and downs in life and no one can predict the future of what will happen to them.
- Righteous men get what the wicked deserve and wicked get what the righteous deserve.
It is obvious that Solomon searched for fulfillment, purpose and meaning in everything but GOD. This is the ultimate foolishness, for it is GOD who made all three, and it is He who controls our future!