The preacher or “Koheleth” was searching for the answer to the age-old question, “Is life worth living?” First, the preacher thought that the pursuit of wisdom would give him the answers he sought (1:12-15). Failing in that he pursued pleasure (2:1-11), but after pursuing sensual pleasure, he found out sensual pleasure would not produce lasting happiness. He found out three laws came into play.
- The law of unfulfilled expectations.
- Enjoyment will decrease unless the intensity of the pleasure increases,
- Getting more does not guarantee enjoyment.
- The law of diminishing returns.
- When the thing that you craved and delighted in becomes boring (more gives you less)
- The law of unintended consequences. The discovery that along with pleasure comes something that you thought never would happen.
- You pursue pleasure only to lose your health, family, children, church, job, community, testimony.
- Pleasure is a liar, trickster and cheat.
He turned in another direction, wisdom and work, getting an education and getting things done or getting a degree and getting a job.
- Even great men of God have found themselves frustrated by life to the point of wanting to die. (Job 3:21, 7:15) Elijah (1 Kings 19:40 Moses (Numbers 11:15) Jonah (Jonah 4:3). Many people appear to be suave, stable and successful, but down inside are dreadfully frustrated. Frustration comes from a Latin word “frusta” it means “in vain” or “void of purpose”
- God is a frustrator in the universe (Rom.8:18-23)
- God will never let the human heart to be satisfied by that which is temporal or that which is false- Never!!
Let us learn:
I. FIRST, WISDOM AND DEATH (2:12-17) NO PROTECTION AGAINST DEATH.
- Death is a certainty.
- Whether we like it or not death is a certainty for everyone, some sooner and some later.
- The biblical view of death
- “Man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgement (Heb.9:27)
- Life is a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes (James 4:13-15)
- “Therefore just as sin entered the world through one man a death through sin, and in this way, death came to all men, because all sinned.” (Rom.5:12)
- Christ conquered death so must we (I Cor.15:54-55)
- Death is not final for all (Daniel 12:1-4)
- Since both the wise and fool die, what is the value of wisdom?
- Wisdom is better than folly (13-14)
- Wisdom excels folly as light excels darkness.
- Death is the greatest equalizer (The Egyptian pyramids)
II. SECOND, WORK AND DEATH (2:17-23) NO PROTECTION AGAINST UNWORTHY HEIRS.
- Many people expect to work to give them a sense of purpose in life.
- We ask people “what kind of work do you do?” “What do you do for a living?”
- Men especially find worth in their work, but according to Ecclesiastes, work is the wrong plan to look for the meaning of life.
- “We work our entire lives at jobs we don’t like, to buy things we don’t need, to impress people we don’t like, only to find that death robs don’t have pockets- “someone who did not have to work for it enjoys it.”
- Solomon hated life v.17
- When Solomon says “I hate life” he does not mean that he was anticipating suicide.
- He actually wanted to avoid death.
- The great atheist Voltaire said, “I hate life and yet I am afraid to die.”
- Apart from a relationship with the Living God, life holds no real purpose.
- Solomon needed so do we need an eternal and biblical perspective to life like Apostle Paul (Col.3:1-4)
2. Wealth you can’t keep it (V.18)
- The main problem of accumulation of worldly wealth is that in the end, someone else will profit from your hard work.
3. Wealth you can’t protect it (V.19-20)
- No one has control over what is done with his legacy
- Fools inherit many wise people. After Solomon, his son Rehoboam was so foolish (I Kings 11:41-12:24)
- Rehoboam lost 10 tribes of his father’s kingdom and let the nation into war. (I Kings 12)
III. THIRD, JOY AND LIFE WITH GOD (2:24-26) ENJOYMENT IS FROM GOD.
- Accept life as God’s gift, and enjoy it in God’s will (3:12-15, 5:18-20, 8:15, 9:7-10, 11:9-10)
- Blessings are from God, the enjoyment of the blessings is a greater gift from God to us (V.24)
- Enjoyment is the gift of God (V.26)
- Paul said to Timothy “God gives us richly all things to enjoy (I Tim.6:17)
- Instead of spending all our life and time trying to figure out life, we should stick close to God and enjoy it.
- Life is worth living only in Christ. Do you love Him?
- Without Christ, life has no eternal meaning.