C. The Futility of Wealth and Pleasure 2:1-11
1. Fulfillment doesn't come through indulgence. (1-3)
a. pleasure seeking usually becomes a selfish endeavor, and selfishness destroys true joy.
b. people who live for pleasure often exploit others to get what they want, and they end up with broken relationships.
c. pleasure alone can never bring true satisfaction because it appeals to only to the flesh.
d. living for pleasure only results in a decrease in enjoyment and necessitates an increase in intensity to bring the desired results.
e. the more people drink, the more they need to drink...the more people are involved in drug use, the more often they need drugs and stronger ones in order to acheive the desired level of intoxication.
f. there is nothing wrong with innocent fun, but the person who builds his or her life only on seeking pleasure is bound to be disappointed in life.
2. Fulfillment doesn't come through acheivements. (4-6)
a. next, Solomon got involved in all kinds of projects, hoping to discover something that would make his life worth living.
b. his great works included houses, cities, gardens, vineyards, orchards and forests, and the water system needed to service them.
c. Solomon also supervised the construction of the temple, one of the greatest buildings of the ancient world.
d. even after all of these accomplishments, he still found no fulfillment.
e. history is filled with the names of people who made great discoveries, did tremendous works, and enjoyed the world's acclaim for their accomplishments, but still found no happiness.
3. Fulfillment doesn't come through wealth or fame. (7-9)
a. in this morning's paper there was an article about the winners of the Florida state lottery.
b. six people will split $105 million and receive around $17.5 million each.
c. Solomon had great wealth and all the things that money could buy!
d. he was richer than anyone else, and his fame grew as well, but still there was no satisfaction.
4. Fulfillment doesn't come through self-gratification. (10-11)
a. Solomon did not exercise any self-control: if he wanted it, he got it; if he wanted to do it, he did it
b. however, all he received was temporary satisfaction while he was involved.
c. when he observed afterward, what he saw was of no enduring value!
D. The Futility of Materialism. 2:12-23
1. He sees death as the common factor. (12-17)
a. wisdom is far greater than folly v12-13
b. but whether wise or foolish, each must die. v14
c. what lasting value is there to wisdom? v15-17
d. once again he sees that he has been chasing the wind.
2. He despaired over leaving the results of his labor to another. (18-21)
a. who knows whether the man who benefits from my labor will be wise or foolish?
b. he declares that this just isn't right, this is a great injustice.
c. we have all heard accounts of children who have foolishly squandered their inheritance received from their parents hard work.
d. Solomon is concerned about who will inherit the results of his labor.
3. He despaired over the absence of some reward for all his labor. (22-23)
a. what is the point?
b. what does man get for all his labor?
c. nothing but sorrow, grief, and restlessness.
E. Solomon's conclusion of his initial reasoning: Enjoy and be content with the providence of God. 2:24-26
1. Recognize that life is a gift from God...so enjoy it.
2. There is no enjoyment in life without God.
3. God gives the righteous wisdom, knowledge, and joy.
4. For the unrighteous to seek after these things apart from God is another example of vanity.
5. Since there is more than just "living for today", Solomon backtracks for some deeper observations.