“Then I looked on all the works that my hands had wrought, and on the labour that I had laboured to do: and, behold, all was vanity and vexation of spirit, and there was no profit under the sun.”
The Preacher came to a realization after wasting hard labor and years of his life that many people never realize. The Preacher realized that anything that is done for the purpose of pleasing one’s self always leaves you empty. The words and phrases in this book that you must look at are, “vanity and vexation of spirit” and “under the sun.” The term “under the sun” is referring to anything that is done apart from God. Twenty-nine times the Preacher realized that what he tried apart from God left him empty. Twenty-nine times the Preacher realized that doing something apart from God vexed his spirit. Let me share with you several lessons you need to learn about doing things apart from God.
First, there is no profit apart from God. Life apart from God always leaves you empty. Ecclesiastes 1:3 says, “What profit hath a man of all his labour which he taketh under the sun?” You may think that you will find the fountain of riches apart from God, but the only thing you will find is that life strips your life’s bank account and leaves you seeking for more. You may acquire riches apart from God, but riches leave your life poor apart from God. If you don’t believe me, just look at all the Hollywood and sports stars whose lives are wretched even though they have acquired much wealth. The reason their lives are empty is because there is no profit apart from God.
Second, anything done apart from God leaves a person filled with pride. Ecclesiastes 1:14 says, “I have seen all the works that are done under the sun; and, behold, all is vanity…” You may think there is no danger in being filled with pride, but you must remember that pride is one step away from destruction. You may accomplish much apart from God and think you are quite the answer to this world, but you will find that your destruction is not far away. My friend, you can try life without God and be filled with yourself, but you will always find it leaving you empty and destroyed.
Third, anything done apart from God will leave you hating life. Ecclesiastes 2:17 says, “Therefore I hated life; because the work that is wrought under the sun is grievous unto me…” Satan has a way of fooling people into believing that there is more to life apart from God. What many people never discover is how many end up hating life. The reason so many people turn to drugs, alcohol and vice is because of the hatred they find for life apart from God. Life apart from God brings no fulfillment. Life apart from God leaves an individual empty and wondering where the joy of life can be found. Life apart from God leaves an individual hating life itself. Ecclesiastes 2:17 shows that grief is the result of living life apart from God.
You may ask, where is the answer to life? The answer is found in Ecclesiastes 12:13 where the Preacher says, “Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man.” The answer to filling your life with joy is to not live for things “under the sun,” but to live your life trying to please God. If you want your life to be fulfilled, you must serve the LORD, keep His commandments, and it will result in a satisfied life. Let me encourage you to stop looking for the answers to life apart from God. The answer to living a fulfilled life is by always making God the hub of every part of your life.