Summary: A study of chapter 6 verses 1 through 12
Ecclesiastes 6: 1 – 12
It Wasn’t Your Idea
1 There is an evil which I have seen under the sun, and it is common among men: 2 A man to whom God has given riches and wealth and honor, so that he lacks nothing for himself of all he desires; yet God does not give him power to eat of it, but a foreigner consumes it. This is vanity, and it is an evil affliction. 3 If a man begets a hundred children and lives many years, so that the days of his years are many, but his soul is not satisfied with goodness, or indeed he has no burial, I say that a stillborn child is better than he— 4 for it comes in vanity and departs in darkness, and its name is covered with darkness. 5 Though it has not seen the sun or known anything, this has more rest than that man, 6 even if he lives a thousand years twice—but has not seen goodness. Do not all go to one place? 7 All the labor of man is for his mouth, and yet the soul is not satisfied. 8 For what more has the wise man than the fool? What does the poor man have, who knows how to walk before the living? 9 Better is the sight of the eyes than the wandering of desire. This also is vanity and grasping for the wind. 10 Whatever one is, he has been named already, for it is known that he is man; And he cannot contend with Him who is mightier than he. 11 Since there are many things that increase vanity, how is man the better? 12 For who knows what is good for man in life, all the days of his vain life which he passes like a shadow? Who can tell a man what will happen after him under the sun?
I think we all have the tendency to believe that if you are always blessed with riches God must be pleased with you. Solomon was the richest man who ever lived. We read in the book of 1 Kings chapter 3, “13 And I have also given you what you have not asked: both riches and honor, so that there shall not be anyone like you among the kings all your days.”
That may sound like a bold statement when you read about some of the rich people who live today. But stop and think when we read that Solomon’s income each year was 666 million dollars. I would say that this would probably be about 666 billion in today’s comparison.
As you read the book of Ecclesiastes remember that Solomon is viewing life without God. He is looking at everything from a secular point of view and this view is defined in the final outcome as ‘worthless’ He had anything and everything any person could ever think or do and yet here he is whining and complaining. He looks at life as being inconsistent. He is frustrated in having everything he could ever want but not being able to enjoy it. Rich people should be able to enjoy everything in life and yet he wasn’t happy. He called this a great evil.
1 There is an evil which I have seen under the sun, and it is common among men:
You can picture him having all the ability to have everything but yet he can’t enjoy it. For example he speaks of food. His stomach may be messed up and therefore he can’t eat certain foods. He gets really bummed out when he sees someone else being able to eat and enjoy what he cannot enjoy.
2 A man to whom God has given riches and wealth and honor, so that he lacks nothing for himself of all he desires; yet God does not give him power to eat of it, but a foreigner consumes it. This is vanity, and it is an evil affliction.
The prophet Isaiah tells us in chapter 3, “10 “ Say to the righteous that it shall be well with them, for they shall eat the fruit of their doings. 11 Woe to the wicked! It shall be ill with him, for the reward of his hands shall be given him.”
‘God does not give him power’ is a very interesting statement. I have never been in this position and probably many of you also, but try to imagine the conflict. You understand God has given you your prosperity and then He withholds your ability to enjoy it. You stop and realize that even this, the ability to eat something is also a gift from God.
Even Solomon’s dad, King David, recognize this inconsistency when he saw how people whom he considered evil were receiving these blessings from Jehovah Elyon – The Lord Most High. Look at Psalm 17, “13 Arise, O LORD, confront him, cast him down; Deliver my life from the wicked with Your sword, 14 With Your hand from men, O LORD, from men of the world who have their portion in this life, and whose belly You fill with Your hidden treasure. They are satisfied with children, and leave the rest of their possession for their babes.”