Summary: A study of chapter 1 verses 1 through 18
Ecclesiastes 1: 1 – 18
Wealth + Power + Knowledge = Zero
1 The words of the Preacher, the son of David, king in Jerusalem. 2 “Vanity of vanities,” says the Preacher; “Vanity of vanities, all is vanity.” 3 What profit has a man from all his labor in which he toils under the sun? 4 One generation passes away, and another generation comes; But the earth abides forever. 5 The sun also rises, and the sun goes down, and hastens to the place where it arose. 6 The wind goes toward the south, and turns around to the north; The wind whirls about continually, and comes again on its circuit. 7 All the rivers run into the sea, yet the sea is not full; To the place from which the rivers come, there they return again. 8 All things are full of labor; Man cannot express it. The eye is not satisfied with seeing, nor the ear filled with hearing. 9 That which has been is what will be, that which is done is what will be done, and there is nothing new under the sun. 10 Is there anything of which it may be said, “See, this is new”? It has already been in ancient times before us. 11 There is no remembrance of former things, nor will there be any remembrance of things that are to come by those who will come after. 12 I, the Preacher, was king over Israel in Jerusalem. 13 And I set my heart to seek and search out by wisdom concerning all that is done under heaven; this burdensome task God has given to the sons of man, by which they may be exercised. 14 I have seen all the works that are done under the sun; and indeed, all is vanity and grasping for the wind. 15 What is crooked cannot be made straight, and what is lacking cannot be numbered. 16 I communed with my heart, saying, “Look, I have attained greatness, and have gained more wisdom than all who were before me in Jerusalem. My heart has understood great wisdom and knowledge.” 17 And I set my heart to know wisdom and to know madness and folly. I perceived that this also is grasping for the wind. 18 For in much wisdom is much grief, and he who increases knowledge increases sorrow.
I do not know about you but there were some books of the Bible I avoided. Some of the books, in my opinion, early in my Christian life, I considered boring. [please forgive me Precious Holy Spirit] I wasn’t to motivated to read Leviticus, Deuteronomy, and 1 & 11 Chronicles. Others I avoided like Jeremiah, Lamentations, Job, and Ecclesiastes because they were so depressing. Don’t look so shocked. At least I am brave enough to admit my problems.
In all truth today however I recognize that the previous listed books are not boring or depressing but contain golden nuggets of truth. For example the book which we will be looking at is read by the Jews on the ‘Feast of Tabernacles’ This feast day is a day of ‘Rejoicing’. So, it all comes down to understanding. The more we understand the more we can come to appreciate the Amazing Wisdom of our God. We can perceive something one way but be totally wrong in our own thinking. In the book of Isaiah chapter 55 we read, “8 “ For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways,” says the LORD.9 “ For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts.’ Let us stop forming our own thoughts and allow Jehovah Ropheka – The Lord Who Leads – direct us in all our ways.
One of the 66 books in our bibles that we can be confident of the author is this one. It was penned by David’s son – Solomon. In my own vernacular I would describe Solomon as one who started out super but ended as a loser because he forsook Jehovah Elyon – The Lord Most High.
After David died the Lord showed up Personally and conversed with him Let us check out this conversation in the book of 1 Kings chapter 3, “ 1 Now Solomon made a treaty with Pharaoh king of Egypt, and married Pharaoh’s daughter; then he brought her to the City of David until he had finished building his own house, and the house of the LORD, and the wall all around Jerusalem. 2 Meanwhile the people sacrificed at the high places, because there was no house built for the name of the LORD until those days. 3 And Solomon loved the LORD, walking in the statutes of his father David, except that he sacrificed and burned incense at the high places.4 Now the king went to Gibeon to sacrifice there, for that was the great high place: Solomon offered a thousand burnt offerings on that altar. 5 At Gibeon the LORD appeared to Solomon in a dream by night; and God said, “Ask! What shall I give you?” 6 And Solomon said: “You have shown great mercy to Your servant David my father, because he walked before You in truth, in righteousness, and in uprightness of heart with You; You have continued this great kindness for him, and You have given him a son to sit on his throne, as it is this day. 7 Now, O LORD my God, You have made Your servant king instead of my father David, but I am a little child; I do not know how to go out or come in. 8 And Your servant is in the midst of Your people whom You have chosen, a great people, too numerous to be numbered or counted. 9 Therefore give to Your servant an understanding heart to judge Your people, that I may discern between good and evil. For who is able to judge this great people of Yours?” 10 The speech pleased the Lord, that Solomon had asked this thing. 11 Then God said to him: “Because you have asked this thing, and have not asked long life for yourself, nor have asked riches for yourself, nor have asked the life of your enemies, but have asked for yourself understanding to discern justice, 12 behold, I have done according to your words; see, I have given you a wise and understanding heart, so that there has not been anyone like you before you, nor shall any like you arise after you. 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. 14 So if you walk in My ways, to keep My statutes and My commandments, as your father David walked, then I will lengthen your days.” 15 Then Solomon awoke; and indeed it had been a dream. And he came to Jerusalem and stood before the ark of the covenant of the LORD, offered up burnt offerings, offered peace offerings, and made a feast for all his servants.”