Ecclesiastes 2:17, 22-23: Therefore I hated life; because the work that is wrought UNDER THE SUN (Capitals mine) is grievous unto me: for all is VANITY AND VEXATION of spirit. 22 For what hath man of all his labour, and of the vexation of his heart,wherein he hath laboured under the sun? 23 For all his days are sorrows,and his travail grief; yea, his heart taketh not rest in the night. This is also vanity.
How did Solomon, the wisest of all men learn the results of self centeredness? He experienced them first hand. I will share a few excerpts from Ecclesiastes chapter 2 that reveal his self centeredness problem and ours. I wonder if we can learn from his experience?
Verse 1 I said in mine heart, . . . 2 I said of laughter, . . . 3 I sought in mine heart to give myself unto wine, . . . 4 I made me . . . I builded me . . . I planted me . . . 5 I made me . . . I planted . . . 6 I made me . . . 7 I got me . . . I had great possessions . . . 8 I gathered me . . . I gat me . . . 9 So I was great, . . . whatsoever mine eyes desired I kept not from them, I withheld not my heart from any joy; . . .
If you read the parts of the passage I left out you will find some of the same things that you believe will make you happy. They will not if everything is I and me. It took even Solomon a long time and a lot of vexation to learn that the way to be blessed is focus on God and not on self, to be God Centered and not to be self centered. It is to include Him in our thoughts and lives. It is to find His purpose for our lives and fulfill it. Whether or not the circumstances of our lives change, God*s involvement makes them better.
John 10:10b: . . . I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.
Ecclesiastes 2:26 and following: For God giveth to a man that is good in his sight wisdom, and knowledge, and joy: but to the sinner he giveth travail, to gather and to heap up, that he may give to him that is good before God. This also is vanity and vexation of spirit. 3:1 To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose UNDER THE HEAVEN; . . . 10 I have seen the travail, which God hath given to the sons of men to be exercised in it. 11 He hath made every thing beautiful in his time: also he hath set the world in their heart, so that no man can find out the work that God maketh from the beginning to the end. 12 I know that there is no good in them, but for a man to rejoice, and to do good in his life. 13 And also that every man should eat and drink, and enjoy the good of all his labour, it is the gift of God. 14 I know that, whatsoever God doeth, it shall be for ever: nothing can be put to it, nor any thing taken from it: and God doeth it, that men should fear before him.
UNDER THE SUN are the selfish purposes of man and UNDER THE HEAVEN are the unselfish purposes of God. Quite a contrast. Have you and I learned yet that we are more blessed in God centeredness than in self centeredness? Maybe you are like me. I have to learn that over and over and over.
Ecclesiastes 12:13: Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man.