Scriptures

Ecclesiastes 6

Introduction

It can be said that Solomon spent too much of his time seeking pleasure. Of course, everyone wants to have happy moments in their lives. We don’t want to go around with a sour look on our faces. We want to be in a situation where we can smile most of the time.

Solomon was looking for more than just ordinary happiness. He wanted ultimate pleasure. He built into his palace a large room called the Banquet Hall. Here he could entertain dignitaries even royalty, serving them the finest of wines.

Solomon had men singers, women singers, and those who could play different instruments. No doubt he could highly entertain any and all guests with music. The food would be the best that could be served. We are amazed at how much food was required each day just to keep everyone in his own household fed. This was a great burden on his budget.

I have read where Thomas Jefferson died penniless simply because he had feed so many famous people who would come to visit him. Some would stay for days before leaving. It has been said that Solomon had to feed as many as 40,000 to 50,000 just in one day as he had so many servants, soldiers and other important workers who served in various capacities in the palace and other locations throughout his Kingdom.

Most of us have seen a camel. It’s the largest domestic animal used by the Jews. Using a camel Jesus uses an extreme illustration to teach the improbability or difficulty of a rich man reaching heaven. He said, ‘It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God,’ Mark 10:25.

Because wealth presents so many temptations and problems it becomes increasingly difficult if not improbable that a rich man can be saved. Jesus further said, ‘How hard it is for them that trust in riches to enter into the kingdom of God!’ Mark 10:23.

Generally, most middle-class Britain’s are considered as being below the rich, and there is a difference. However, when we compare our middle-class citizens with the majority of the people in our world today, we are very rich by comparison.

We have to keep in mind that in the time of Jesus the majority of the people were far from being among those who are rich. In the world at that time there was no such thing as a ‘middle class’ people. We today who rate ourselves as being middle class need to recognise that in the eyes most of the world, they look upon us as being among the rich of the world.

We do have people we can classify as being extremely poor but not to the same extent as the rest of the world. When visiting in the homes of the poor in the U.K. we look around and what do we see?

We see a TV, refrigerator, electric range, plenty of beer cans, someone smoking a cigarette, a bathroom, electric lights and certainly someone talking on a cell phone. This isn’t to intimidate or ridicule these people but to recognise we are dealing with an entirely different age, living under different and better conditions than those in the time of Jesus.

Our biggest problem is how well are we managing our wealth, we who are called ‘middle class’ people! We are encouraged when we look at people like Zacchaeus the wee little man who was rich but became liberal. Then there is Joseph of Arimathea a wealthy man gave his grave for the Lord to be placed in. Matthew a tax collector was no doubt better off than the average person but he devoted his life in serving Jesus. These men had their priorities placed in the right place.

What about our priorities? Once we get them lined up correctly then money does not take over and crowd out the spiritual. It’s possible for one to handle his prosperity, but the problem is that most cannot do this. The solution isn’t to go and sell all that you have and then give to the poor and then take a vow of poverty. The issue at stake is our attitude toward our many possessions, our middle class living, our opportunities to serve those in need.

When we observe Solomon, we don’t see him giving away any gold. We don’t see him concerned about the poor. There is nothing to indicate that he wanted help people. His attitude seems to be how much can I collect for myself. It was all about me.

He isn’t using his tremendous wealth to help others. It was all about me. But as he drew to the close of his life he could only say “meaningless, all is meaningless.’ It didn’t bring him the happiness he may have thought it would bring.

In the end, all his wealth was lost due to the dividing of the kingdom. His son wouldn’t end up being a rich king surrounded by gold.

Riches And Wealth Are Meaningless

‘I have seen another evil under the sun, and it weighs heavily on mankind: God gives some people wealth, possessions and honour, so that they lack nothing their hearts desire, but God does not grant them the ability to enjoy them, and strangers enjoy them instead. This is meaningless, a grievous evil.’ Ecclesiastes 6:1-2

Solomon says that those who are wealthy appear to have no satisfaction with the wealth they have, but others get more benefit than them from their wealth. Later in the chapter we read that the wealth of the rich is squandered by those who inherit it and the wealthy lose their wealth due to some bad business decisions.

Again, we’re reminded that there’s nothing wrong in being wealthy as long as we don’t neglect to bless those who are less fortunate than ourselves.

‘A man may have a hundred children and live many years; yet no matter how long he lives, if he cannot enjoy his prosperity and does not receive proper burial, I say that a stillborn child is better off than he. It comes without meaning, it departs in darkness, and in darkness its name is shrouded. Though it never saw the sun or knew anything, it has more rest than does that man—even if he lives a thousand years twice over but fails to enjoy his prosperity. Do not all go to the same place?’ Ecclesiastes 6:3-6

For the Jews, being a part of a large family was a sign that God was blessing them, and this brought them a lot of joy. However, there were those who had large families but didn’t enjoy the blessings and befit from having so.

Imagine dying without any honour at your funeral service? Solomon says there’s no honour in dying, if there was no reason that those who died, lived honourably.

In other words, Solomon says we would be better of not being born in the first place, if our lives were empty and we felt no fulfilment in our lives. The longer life goes on, the worst it gets, and so two thousand years without God would be a meaningless existence.

‘Everyone’s toil is for their mouth, yet their appetite is never satisfied. What advantage have the wise over fools? What do the poor gain by knowing how to conduct themselves before others? Better what the eye sees than the roving of the appetite. This too is meaningless, a chasing after the wind.’ Ecclesiastes 6:7-9

Solomon says that if we work only for the fun of life then we will spiritually starve. All over the world we see people indulging in many things, from good food and wine, to a nice home, but spiritually they are starving because they think that this world is all there is. If anyone has the same attitude towards gaining wisdom, then they are just as bad as those who are fools, Ecclesiastes 2:12-17.

People must seriously think about their lives, they should think about the purpose of their lives, if not they are fools and end up in the same place as the other fools.

‘Whatever exists has already been named, and what humanity is has been known; no one can contend with someone who is stronger. The more the words, the less the meaning, and how does that profit anyone? For who knows what is good for a person in life, during the few and meaningless days they pass through like a shadow? Who can tell them what will happen under the sun after they are gone?’ Ecclesiastes 6:10-12

I’m sure you’ve come across people who are always pessimistic with their view to live. Those who are like this have a meaningless existence without God, no hope for the afterlife. God knows all things and He knows the future, 1 John 3:20, but He doesn’t predestine things to happen, in the sense of overriding people’s free will to choose.

God knows exactly what we’re doing and where we’re going but He graciously allows us to make our own personal choices in life. Many people make decisions based on the things of this world, and as a result it can end terribly.

We must invest a lot of our time and lives in God and spiritual things, Ephesians 5:17 / Colossians 3:1-2 / 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18.

Go To Ecclesiastes 7

DAILY BIBLE VERSE

"That if you confess with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved."

Romans 10:9

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