The Quest for Gain: Ecclesiastes 1:12-2:26
Ecclesiastes 1:12 marks the starting point for the Preacher on his quest to seek out the meaning of life and to search for gain under the sun. This journey will not be without bumps along the way as we see immediately. The Preacher sees this quest as an unhappy business that God has given to man. All is vanity and a striving after wind.
The Preacher first seeks the most noble thing in his mind – wisdom. However, he quickly discovers that even this is a striving after wind. It only leads to vexation and sorrow.
Therefore, the Preacher seeks escape in pleasure – laughter, wine, great works, nature (in essence trying to recreate the garden of Eden), power, wealth/possessions, song, and sex. The Preacher tried it all and he had the means to keep his heart from NO pleasure. He even admits that he did find some pleasure but this too was fleeting. It led him to the same conclusion – all was vanity and a striving after wind, and there was nothing to be gained under the sun.
The Preacher comes to see death as the great equalizer – for of the wise as of the fool there is no enduring remembrance, seeing that in the days to come all will have been long forgotten. So the Preacher hated life. Life under the sun was grievous – all vanity and a striving after wind. Escape did not work for the Preacher so he gave his heart up to despair.
The Preacher’s conclusion in Ecclesiastes 2:24 initially seems like an intrusion. There is no gain in anything under the sun. Yet, he concludes that there is nothing better for a person than that he should eat and drink, and find enjoyment in his toil. These are from God and there is no enjoyment apart from him. They are GIFTS from God and can only truly be enjoyed as such.
If we look to earthly pleasures for gain they will be found wanting. The sinner gathers and collects only to lose it all in the end. However, God gives good gifts to those who are his. If in the gifts we are led to the Giver, we know that HE can never be taken away from us! Nothing can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord! God is our Gain! If our hope is under the sun all is vanity and a striving after wind. If in heaven, our hope is secure in Christ.
Jesus, fix our eyes upon you, the Founder and Perfecter of our faith. Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, may you be the treasure our hearts desire above all things. Help us to enjoy and be thankful for the many gifts you give us but may they always lead us back to you, the Giver of all good gifts. You are always with us – what can this world possibly offer that compares to your presence, glory and grace!?!
– Joshua Moffit
Thou art my good in times of peace, my only support in days of trouble, my one sufficiency when life shall end. – Valley of Vision