Useful Bible Studies > Ecclesiastes Commentary > chapter 2

Is there a worthwhile way to live?

Ecclesiastes 2:1-3

Solomon believed that he could discover the truth by careful study and thought. That remains a popular opinion today. It is how science operates.

There is a different opinion that has always been more popular than that. It is the opinion that, really, people should just try to enjoy their lives. They should do whatever can make them happy at the present moment. People should not think about serious matters, for example truth, the future, or their problems. Such thoughts will only make them sad.

Of course, that is a very foolish opinion. But that is how many people choose to live. And that is how Solomon decided that he too would behave.

Solomon always knew that he was doing something stupid. He never really thought that laughter and pleasure would achieve anything worthwhile. But, as a wealthy king, he had every opportunity to enjoy himself. And he desired by his own experience to know what really is the best kind of life.

In Ecclesiastes 2:4-9, Solomon describes what he did. And in Ecclesiastes 2:11, he tells us what he discovered. He had discovered absolutely nothing and he had achieved absolutely nothing. It was a complete waste of time.

Solomonís efforts to be wise achieved nothing (Ecclesiastes 1:12-18) and his efforts to be foolish achieved nothing. In the end, all human effort is just hard work.

God does not reward people for their effort (Romans 4:5). He rewards people who trust him (Hebrews 11:6). That is how God wants people to live (Galatians 3:11).

Next part: Is it foolish to please yourself? (Ecclesiastes 2:4-8)

 

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© 2014, Keith Simons.