Series on Ecclesiastes — #02 THE PURSUIT OF HAPPYNESS

Steve Grant
Under The Sun? Or Under The Son? – Series on Ecclesiastes
Ecclesiastes 2:1 – 3:15
The Pursuit of Happyness
29 June 2014

Pursuing happiness down the road of pleasure doesn’t work — that’s what Solomon would have told the makers of the movie of ‘The Pursuit of Happyness’! Today we’ll look at several areas where Solomon tried to find happiness. But whilst all his journeys gave him great pleasure, the destination frustrated and wearied him.

The key phrase to understanding Solomon is the phrase ‘under the sun’. This was Solomon’s way of saying – life without God. And Solomon could not find any joy or meaning in life under the sun.

Ways in which Solomon sought pleasure and happiness.

1. Wine, women and song (2:1-11)

Result: It is all vanity and vexation and meaninglessness

2. Study hard and improve his mind (2:12-17)

Whilst wisdom, knowledge and education are good things and should be sought after, the fact is they are temporary and fleeting. Therefore, to seek fulfilment in such fleeting things is not a good idea.

Result: It is all vanity, vexation and meaninglessness. Because the wise man dies just as the fool.

3. Hard work (2:18-23)

These offer little satisfaction and no rest. After all, even the most successful worker who creates much wealth has to pass it on after he dies. And there's no guarantee that the inheritor will use it wisely. So what's the point of it all?

Result: It is all vanity, vexation and meaninglessness.

Solomon warns that if we spend all our time in pursuing pleasure, success or wisdom, we will not find fulfilment. These are good things and we can find meaning in them if we recognise that they are gifts from God and use them for His eternal purposes.