1. If you were successful at everything that you attempted do you think you would be satisfied? Why or Why not?
2. How does the law of diminishing returns affect the human nature when it comes to finding satisfaction?
3. What are some of the things that Solomon lists where he looked for lasting satisfaction?
4. In seeking wisdom he sought to know all that he could know. What was his conclusion on the subject. Why did it disturb him?
5. What do you think you would try if you had unlimited resources to pursue whatever you wished in an attempt to be satisfied. I didn’t really think you would answer!
6. Verse 9, even if you became the best… and it brought temporary fulfillment, you would have to learn the lessons of verse 11.
7. Since we know that Solomon was the wisest man that ever lived and tried everything to find happiness and could not find it in those things, why do we still hope to find it?
8. Starting in chp. 2 verse 17 what are the lessons that we can learn before we waste time and effort.
a. Life will become despised
b. Work will become hated
c. I leave all I accomplish to someone else who will mess it up. (like cleaning your room).
d. I will have no control in the end.
e. It keeps you from sleep
f. It is painful
g. Man should enjoy the life he has without spending it on things that do not last or count.
h. There is no real enjoyment without the Lord
i. God’s children can have joy and those without Him are stuck in the rat race.
Ecclesiastes 1:12-2:26 (NASB95)
12 I, the Preacher, have been king over Israel in Jerusalem.
13 And I set my mind to seek and explore by wisdom concerning all that has been done under heaven. It is a grievous task which God has given to the sons of men to be afflicted with.
14 I have seen all the works which have been done under the sun, and behold, all is vanity and striving after wind.
15 What is crooked cannot be straightened and what is lacking cannot be counted.
16 I said to myself, “Behold, I have magnified and increased wisdom more than all who were over Jerusalem before me; and my mind has observed a wealth of wisdom and knowledge.”
17 And I set my mind to know wisdom and to know madness and folly; I realized that this also is striving after wind.
18 Because in much wisdom there is much grief, and increasing knowledge results in increasing pain.
1 I said to myself, “Come now, I will test you with pleasure. So enjoy yourself.” And behold, it too was futility.
2 I said of laughter, “It is madness,” and of pleasure, “What does it accomplish?”
3 I explored with my mind how to stimulate my body with wine while my mind was guiding me wisely, and how to take hold of folly, until I could see what good there is for the sons of men to do under heaven the few years of their lives.
4 I enlarged my works: I built houses for myself, I planted vineyards for myself;
5 I made gardens and parks for myself and I planted in them all kinds of fruit trees;
6 I made ponds of water for myself from which to irrigate a forest of growing trees.
7 I bought male and female slaves and I had homeborn slaves. Also I possessed flocks and herds larger than all who preceded me in Jerusalem.
8 Also, I collected for myself silver and gold and the treasure of kings and provinces. I provided for myself male and female singers and the pleasures of men—many concubines.
9 Then I became great and increased more than all who preceded me in Jerusalem. My wisdom also stood by me.
10 All that my eyes desired I did not refuse them. I did not withhold my heart from any pleasure, for my heart was pleased because of all my labor and this was my reward for all my labor.
11 Thus I considered all my activities which my hands had done and the labor which I had exerted, and behold all was vanity and striving after wind and there was no profit under the sun.
12 So I turned to consider wisdom, madness and folly; for what will the man do who will come after the king except what has already been done?
13 And I saw that wisdom excels folly as light excels darkness.
14 The wise man’s eyes are in his head, but the fool walks in darkness. And yet I know that one fate befalls them both.
15 Then I said to myself, “As is the fate of the fool, it will also befall me. Why then have I been extremely wise?” So I said to myself, “This too is vanity.”
16 For there is no lasting remembrance of the wise man as with the fool, inasmuch as in the coming days all will be forgotten. And how the wise man and the fool alike die!
17 So I hated life, for the work which had been done under the sun was grievous to me; because everything is futility and striving after wind.
18 Thus I hated all the fruit of my labor for which I had labored under the sun, for I must leave it to the man who will come after me.
19 And who knows whether he will be a wise man or a fool? Yet he will have control over all the fruit of my labor for which I have labored by acting wisely under the sun. This too is vanity.
20 Therefore I completely despaired of all the fruit of my labor for which I had labored under the sun.
21 When there is a man who has labored with wisdom, knowledge and skill, then he gives his legacy to one who has not labored with them. This too is vanity and a great evil.
22 For what does a man get in all his labor and in his striving with which he labors under the sun?
23 Because all his days his task is painful and grievous; even at night his mind does not rest. This too is vanity.
24 There is nothing better for a man than to eat and drink and tell himself that his labor is good. This also I have seen that it is from the hand of God.
25 For who can eat and who can have enjoyment without Him?
26 For to a person who is good in His sight He has given wisdom and knowledge and joy, while to the sinner He has given the task of gathering and collecting so that he may give to one who is good in God’s sight. This too is vanity and striving after wind.