Ecclesiastes 2:12 –26
Solomon reported that satisfaction and happiness in life cannot be found in education, experiences, escape from the world. He has not given up the search and Solomon begins –
I. The Review Ecclesiastes 2:12a “and I turned myself to behold wisdom, and madness, and folly…”
Solomon stated that he might have missed something in his initial investigation and decided to return and examine his comparison of wisdom with madness and folly more carefully. Keeping to our theme of traveling the highway of life, have you ever exited off the highway looking for a place to satisfy your hunger, thirst, or just needed a rest, but very quickly decided you had better turn around. What you were looking for was not on this road, but – you just had a nagging thought that if you had gone just a little farther, the road may have taken you to the place you were searching for. Is it possible that you gave up too quickly? The further down the highway you travel and the more roads you search, finding no answers, you think, “I should go back to that one and look again”. You then make a U turn, not going back to the right road, the highway of God, but stopping short of going to God, you keep to the highway “under the Sun”, and return to the exit of ‘madness and folly’.
As Solomon returned to this place, he justified his actions and determined he had pure motives –
II. The Regard for his duty Ecclesiastes 2:12b “For what can the man do that cometh after the king…?”
Because of what he knew and what he had, he felt he had a great responsibility to himself and mankind to search out the meaning of life. The general principle the Lord spoke in Luke 12:48 “…For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required” motivated Solomon in his service to mankind to give himself wholly to this investigation.
Solomon reported on what he discovered and we may read in the next few verses –
III. The result of his investigation Ecclesiastes 2:13-26
A. The difference between wisdom and folly is great. Ecclesiastes 2:13, 14a
Even men without God who work in the daylight have a great advantage over those of the night.
1. They perceive good opportunities and can direct their way.
2. They are protected from danger. God’s natural order in creation reveals this. It is no mistake that man should be safe in his house when dark replaces the light and the dangerous animals begin to roam at night!
Psalms 104:20-24 Thou makest darkness, and it is night: wherein all the beasts of the forest do creep forth. The young lions roar after their prey, and seek their meat from God. The sun ariseth, they gather themselves together, and lay them down in their dens. Man goeth forth unto his work and to his labour until the evening. O LORD, how manifold are thy works! in wisdom hast thou made them all: the earth is full of thy riches.
God reveals that danger is in darkness –
Proverbs 4:19 The way of the wicked is as darkness: they know not at what they stumble.
B. The disappointment. Ecclesiastes 2:14b-17
Solomon was broken when he came to the conclusion that the great and the ordinary come to the same end. And who is going to remember the ordinary any more than the great. Have you ever heard of the British cruise ship Titanic? The ship had hundreds of men deep in the belly of the ship shoveling coal into the boilers to keep the ship alive. Also, the crew consisted of brilliant and respected men and women. The captain, the engineers, the navigators, the physicians. All the best that could be chosen to guide this super luxury ship to its destination. One night, it struck an iceberg in the Atlantic Ocean. It was on its first voyage. It sank into the depths of the ocean taking the wise and the unwise to their deaths. Because of the fame of the ship, people remember some of them, but in time they will all be forgotten. The rich and famous, the poor and unknown. Death brought them to the same place – no return and no remembrance.
“Therefore I hated life…”
C. The despairing king. Ecclesiastes 2:18-23
2:19 “…wherein I have labored…”
2:21 “…to a man that hath no labored…”
Time Inc., Money stated from their survey – Indeed, 70% of wealthy families lose their wealth by the second generation, and a stunning 90% by the third, according to the Williams Group wealth consultancy.
Solomon was despondent! He was going to be dead and not able to do anything about the waste of all that he had accumulated. What he thought would bring him happiness had turned into an evil burden on his life.
D. The decision from this report. Ecclesiastes 2:24-26 “There is nothing better…”
Man may as well enjoy what he has worked for now. We learn from this that God has supplied all with the creation to manage, to supply needs, and to enjoy.
We have seen many people who have come to this conclusion –
Driving down the highway we see a large motorhome coming up beside us. We look over and there is an older couple enjoying the drive. They wave at us and pass on ahead. We say to one another “That is a good way to spend your retirement years. It looks like they are really enjoying life.” As they pass on, we read a sign that they had posted on the back of the motorhome. It said “We are spending our children’s inheritance”! This is what Solomon is saying in 2:24. If we live in this world and are of this world, and all that we have is “under the Sun”, we may as well spend it all. It is the only enjoyment we will have!
The important need for man to realize is that God did not provide his creation to man to satisfy nor sanctify himself. The creation is to declare the greatness and God.
Psalms 8:3 When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained;
Romans 1:20 For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:
All of the world will not satisfy you or make you happy! Wisdom is a great advantage to man “eyes in his head”, as much as light over dark, but in the end we meet Death – the great equalizer.
But, we thank the Lord that life is not only “under the sun”! Death is coming,
Hebrews 9:27 And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment: But –
Death is not the end of all things. If man has believed God and trusted Him through faith in His Son, The Lord Jesus Christ, he will immediately go into the presence of God to live with Him forever. If man has not believed in God, he will immediately to hell and be separated from God forever.
Have you trusted the Lord as your Saviour?
Are you living for Him every day as your Lord?
Are you witnessing to others of Him as their only Hope?