by Dave Gustavsen

This content is part of a series.

Chasing Pleasure (3 of 11)
Series: The Pursuit of Happiness
Dave Gustavsen
Ecclesiastes 2:1-11

Good morning. We're taking the summer to walk through the book of Ecclesiastes, which most scholars believe was written by King Solomon. He lived and ruled in Israel about 3,000 years ago. And in this book, he's brutally honest about a time in his life when he was searching for meaning and happiness. To use a philosophical term, Solomon was facing an existential crisis…which Wikipedia defines like this: An existential crisis is a moment at which an individual questions the very foundations of their life: whether their life has any meaning, purpose, or value.

And right from the beginning, we noticed that Solomon uses a certain phrase over and over again. It's a Hebrew word that can be translated ''meaningless'' or ''vanity,'' but the most literal definition is ''vapor.'' Like the vapor of your breath on a cold winter day-it's there for a second and then it's gone, and if you try to grasp it, you wind up empty. So right from the start, Solomon says, ''In this search for meaning in life, every angle I'm trying is leading to nothingness.'' So again, listen for the concept in today's passage.

So when you open up Ecclesiastes chapter two, he describes another way he tried to solve this existential crisis and find fulfillment in life. Let's read the passage: Ecclesiastes 2, first 11 verses:

1 I said to myself, ''Come now, I will test you with pleasure to find out what is good.'' But that also proved to be meaningless. 2 ''Laughter,'' I said, ''is madness. And what does pleasure accomplish?'' 3 I tried cheering myself with wine, and embracing folly-my mind still guiding me with wisdom. I wanted to see what was good for people to do under the heavens during the few days of their lives.

4 I undertook great projects: I built houses for myself and planted vineyards. 5 I made gardens and parks and planted all kinds of fruit trees in them. 6 I made reservoirs to wate ...

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