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Lowell Brueckner

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Ecclesiastes 2:1-11


Chapter 2

The Vanity of Self-Indulgence

1.  I said in my heart, "Come now, I will test you with pleasure; enjoy yourself." But behold, this also was vanity. 
2.  I said of laughter, "It is mad," and of pleasure, "What use is it?" 
3.  I searched with my heart how to cheer my body with wine—my heart still guiding me with wisdom—and how to lay hold on folly, till I might see what was good for the children of man to do under heaven during the few days of their life. 
4.  I made great works. I built houses and planted vineyards for myself. 
5.  I made myself gardens and parks, and planted in them all kinds of fruit trees. 
6.  I made myself pools from which to water the forest of growing trees. 
7.  I bought male and female slaves, and had slaves who were born in my house. I had also great possessions of herds and flocks, more than any who had been before me in Jerusalem. 
8.  I also gathered for myself silver and gold and the treasure of kings and provinces. I got singers, both men and women, and many concubines, the delight of the sons of man. 
9.  So I became great and surpassed all who were before me in Jerusalem. Also my wisdom remained with me. 
10.  And whatever my eyes desired I did not keep from them. I kept my heart from no pleasure, for my heart found pleasure in all my toil, and this was my reward for all my toil. 
11.  Then I considered all that my hands had done and the toil I had expended in doing it, and behold, all was vanity and a striving after wind, and there was nothing to be gained under the sun. 

Solomon’s power, fame and riches and the experience gained by living in their glory are what gave him exceptional qualifications to present his perspective on human existence. His arguments are basic, powerful and incontrovertible, but the average person can find little, by which he can relate to this ancient king. He was endowed with unique gifts and in chapter one, he recounted his devotion and pursuit of more wisdom and knowledge. His conclusion is that his efforts brought no true satisfaction; it was striving after wind, he confessed.

However, as we begin chapter 2, King Solomon takes up projects, pleasure, laughter, diversion and entertainment. I submit that in this area, we can find common ground.  I think that everyone of us have had times in our lives, when we have spoken to our souls, “I have some free time and a little money to spend. Come now, I will test you with pleasure; enjoy yourself."

Ecclesiastes 1:8-18


Nothing is new; nothing satisfies

8.  All things are full of weariness; a man cannot utter it; the eye is not satisfied with seeing, nor the ear filled with hearing. 
9.  What has been is what will be, and what has been done is what will be done, and there is nothing new under the sun. 
10.  Is there a thing of which it is said, "See, this is new"? It has been already in the ages before us. 
11.  There is no remembrance of former things, nor will there be any remembrance of later things yet to be among those who come after. 

I wonder if a person can understand the insufficiency of human language, if he has not studied the Bible. Because the Scripture is devoted to an attempt to put spiritual, heavenly thoughts and matters into earthly languages, we continually see in it, the limitations of man's communication. I need not belabor the obvious, but only to clarify, what the preacher means, when he says, “A man cannot utter it”, I offer a few examples. Who can put the love of God into words? Who can express or comprehend eternity or infinity? Of course, above all else, who can describe Almighty God and His uniqueness, the incomprehensible trinity and the endless wonder of omnipresence and omniscience. All this goes far beyond expression.

Ecclesiastes 1:1-7


The Vanity of Life on Earth from an individual perfectly qualified to write of it

Chapter 1

1.  The words of the Preacher, the son of David, king in Jerusalem. 
2.  Vanity of vanities, says the Preacher, vanity of vanities! All is vanity. 
3.  What does man gain by all the toil at which he toils under the sun? 

Liberal minds pervert society in general, along with its politics and religion. I am convinced that they enter the world of religion, prepared and energized by the devil to be his advocates and disrupt the quest of the one seeking for truth. They have no part or parcel with the things of God. They ignore His ways and attempt to fit their mindset into a sphere that is completely opposite the one, in which they live. They exist in the realm of twisted human logic and reasoning, rather than in the kingdom of healthy faith.

As they try to date the book of Daniel much later than when it actually was written and attribute the authorship to someone, living between the Old and New Testaments, so they meddle with the book of Ecclesiastes. They allege also that it was written at a much later date by someone other than King Solomon. These claims are easily refuted by good theologians, who take the text at face value, giving credit to the claims of the authors and the setting, in time and place, which they designate. To do otherwise is to tamper with divine inspiration.