|Ecclesiastes 1 |
1 These are the words of the Preacher, the son of David [Solomon], king in Jerusalem.
2 Vanity of vanities, said the Preacher, vanity of vanities; all is vanity.
3 What profit does a man obtain from all his labors that he makes under the sun?
4 One generation passes away, and another generation comes, but the earth remains forever.
5 The sun also rises, and the sun goes down, and hastens to its place where it arose.
6 The wind goes toward the south, and turns about to the north; it whirls about continually, and the wind returns again according to his courses.
7 All the rivers run into the sea, yet the sea is not full; the rivers return again to the place from where they came.
8 All things are weary from labor, and words are inadequate to express it; the eye is not satisfied with seeing, nor is the ear filled with hearing.
9 The thing that has been, it is what shall be; and what is done, is what shall be done; and there is no new thing under the sun.
10 Is there anything about life that may be said, "See, this is new?" It has been already of old time, which was before us.
11 There is no remembrance of former things; neither shall there be any remembrance of things that are to come with those that shall come after.
12 I, the Preacher, was king over Israel in Jerusalem.
13 And I gave my heart to seek and search out by wisdom concerning all things that are done under heaven; this difficult burden has been given by God to the sons of man with which to be challenged.
14 I have seen all the works that are done under the sun; and, behold, they are all vain and like trying to grab the wind.
15 What is crooked cannot be made straight; and what is lacking cannot be numbered.
16 I communed with my own heart, saying, "Lo, I have come to great riches, and have gotten more wisdom than all those who have been before me in Jerusalem." Yes, my heart had great experience of wisdom and knowledge.
17 And I gave my heart to know wisdom, and to know madness and folly; and I perceived that this also was like trying to grasp the wind [futility].
18 For in much wisdom is much grief; and he that increases knowledge increases sorrow.1
1 For in much wisdom is much grief; and he that increases knowledge increases sorrow. Solomon is writing in grief because his life has become a failure; he turned away from God, to follow the gods of his foreign wives. God then told him his kingdom would be taken from his son, except for one tribe of Israel that would stay with Jerusalem, the kingdom of Judah; the other tribes would be split into the separate Kingdom of Israel. When the Lord asked the young King Solomon what was his wish, Solomon replied, "wisdom;" and so he received more wisdom than any other recorded man. However, in the end, all that wisdom failed. Why? Because he ignored the law of God, which law forbade him to worship idols, and which law ordered men not to collect silver, gold, and wives. Despite Solomon's great wisdom, he did not walk with God; he did not follow the Voice of the Lord; he rested on the laurels of his father, David, who did walk with God and listen for and then obey His voice. And so in the end, after Solomon was the greatest king (in riches and honor) in the world in his time, he was a failure. He had a massive measure of one of the seven-fold spirits of God, wisdom; but he had major deficiencies in 1) the love of God, and 2) the reverential and obedient fear and awe of God.
We should all strive to walk as ordered, counseled, prompted, and energized by God because that is the only lasting treasure. Everything else perishes. All men must go through the fire, rich and poor; and the only thing that survives, the only credit left, are the works of your life that were prompted by God, which you performed in loving obedience. Yes, it would be better to have God's fellowship and be a pauper, than to own the world without God's direction.