Understanding Solomon’s Subject – Ecclesiastes 1:4- 8
January 4, 2023, 9:16 AM

“What does man gain from all his labor at which he toils under the sun? Generations come and generations go, but the earth remains forever. The sun rises and the sun sets, and hurries back to where it rises. The wind blows to the south and turns to the north; round and round it goes, ever returning on its course. All streams flow into the sea, yet the sea is never full. To the place the streams come from, there they return again. All things are wearisome, more than one can say. The eye never has enough of seeing, nor the ear its fill of hearing.”

The King declares everything to be meaningless and vain. The question raised is “What does man gain from all his labor at which he toils under the sun?” After all, Solomon received from the Lord great wealth, fame, power, and love. Yet, he isn't enjoying the excitement of life anymore.

The subject of his sermon is the meaning and purpose of life. Solomon started as an idealist, with all the material blessings, but now that God has shown him the folly of his ways. Life doesn't appear to be as exciting anymore. He wanted to warn his people. Our pursuits are vanity.

The preacher starts off acknowledging, life is labor, work, toil. Those who work all their lives to make something of themselves soon discover it did not bring the happiness that they thought. There seems to be a monotonous routine that leads to nowhere and little excitement after a while.

Jesus asked this question concerning labor, "What does it profit you to gain the whole world and lose your own soul" John 6:27-29 "Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of man will give you. On him God the Father has placed his seal of approval. Then they asked him, "What must we do to do the works God requires? Jesus answered, "the work of God is this: To believe in the one he has sent."

Ah, work and labor to find meaning when labor isn't an end unto itself or an end to money, but a means to glorify God and be doing His ultimate will.

Verses 4-8 discuss elements of creation. Everything is restless until he finds his joy in God. When we are in a proper relationship to God by Jesus Christ, then nature is not monotonous, it is marvelous. When we see we are part of the greater plan and purpose, we have a connection with the Almighty. He is glorified, not in what we do, but as His children. It is not in our responsibilities in which God delights, but in our relationship.

Application: Examine your life through the eyes of Solomon. What and who are you working for?

Prayer: Lord, in whatever I do may I work at it with all my heart, as working for the Lord, not for men. (Based on Col. 3:23)

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