Steve Ellison: Searching For Pleasure In All The Wrong Places

Saturday, August 17, 2019 - by Steve Ellison

Solomon, the wisest man who ever lived has written a terrific little book in which he searches for meaning in life.  His search makes him very transparent to the whole world. He refers to himself as The Teacher or The Preacher.  Solomon and Ecclesiastes have a great deal to say to every generation, including the current one.  As we read through the Bible, pausing to examine the questions that God asks, we come to one in verse two of chapter two of Ecclesiastes.   The question boils down to:  What does pleasure accomplish?

 

Solomon spent chapter one discussing the meaning of life.  He concluded that it was very monotonous and boring, finding little meaning in anything he had done.

In chapter two, he describes his attempt at finding meaning for his life in a continual attempt at providing himself with pleasure in every possible avenue.   He first turned to alcohol.  He attempted to find meaning by embracing foolishness brought on by drinking wine.  That did not work.  Note that Solomon wrote Proverbs 21:17  He who loves pleasure will become a poor man; He who loves wine and oil will not become rich.  (NASU)  You will note that known truth is of little use without proper application.

 

Next, Solomon tried to find meaning through building up his abode, adding to his house, making beautiful gardens and massive parks.   Those proved unsatisfying, so he turned to acquiring numerous slaves to satisfy his every desire.  In a new effort to find meaning in life, he busied himself with amassing the greatest stores of livestock, silver, and gold that the world had ever seen.  Wealth failed to provide meaning to his life, so he turned to entertainment.  He provided for himself many singers who could help to pass the long hours of idleness away.   Entertainment was not the answer, so he turned to establishing a huge harem for himself. Illicit sexual relationships failed to satisfy, so he turned to consolidating and extending his political power.  He was desperately seeking meaning in life, but he did not find satisfaction in political influence.  In one final attempt, Solomon put aside every restriction.  He tried it all.  He refused to deny himself anything.  Whatever he saw and wanted, he gave it to himself. 

 

Solomon looked back over all that he had tried.  He arrived at this conclusion:  All of it was a complete waste of time and he found no meaning whatsoever, in any of it.  He had gained nothing from any of it.  It is impossible to read this passage in chapter two without noticing Solomon’s focus on self.  The personal pronouns of “I”, “myself”, “my”, etc. couldn’t be used any more often.  That appears to be lesson number one.   Real meaning in life will not be found as long as focus is on self.  The next couple of lessons are apparent because of their absence in the passage.  Solomon makes no mention of God and certainly no mention of serving or worshiping God.  Jesus said in John 4:34 "My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me and to accomplish His work. (NASU)   Meaning will not be found in your life apart from worshiping and serving your Creator.   Solomon also makes no mention of serving others.  It is impossible to have meaning in life without serving others.  Only when we worship God and seek to aid others in His name can we truly find meaning in our existence.   



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