Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
December 19, 1964

The Quest For Happiness

Jesse M. Kelley

Text: Eccl. 1:12-18.

INTRODUCTION: The seeking after happiness and security is a natural trait of all mankind. All activities of men — work, sacrifice, entertainment, education, etc., are in quest of happiness and security in this world.

Where can happiness and security be found? In pleasures? In possessions? In wisdom?

Solomon can answer from experience. He experimented with every conceivable means to find happiness in this life. He had opportunity of tasting every pleasure the age could afford. ".All things I have seen in the day of my vanity." (Eccl. 7:15)

It would seem that God used Solomon to test and try every means under heaven to find contentment so that men may know the result of folly. (Eccl. 1:13; 2:3)

Solomon, where can full satisfaction and security be found in this life? May it be found in ....

I. Pleasure? — 2:1

A. Majority seek happiness here. Observe man today. Solomon, did you find happiness here? He enters upon the stage of life; his face is flushed with pleasure and dissipation.

1. "I tried the course pleasures," said he. "I sought in my heart to give myself unto wine." (2:3) He had no restraints.

a. Multitudes turn to drink in the quest for pleasure and a good time. But the excessive indulgence of the lower appetites promises only misery. (Prov. 23:31, 32)

2. The indulgence of animal instinct was also tried. "The delights of the children of men." Solomon is a grand example of a great soul debased by a wild indulgence of animal passion. "This also is vanity," said he.

3. He also tried the pleasures of refinement — the delights of music. (2:8, 10-12) Cf. (Prov. 21:7)

II. Wealth?

A. Can wealth bring satisfaction and contentment? Speak of things men have done for wealth. Look at Solomon! (Eccl. 2:8; 4:7) Coffers of Solomon were full. "The half has never been told." Cf, 2 Chiron. 9:13, 14.

B. Solomon: can wealth bring satisfaction and happiness? He enters on the stage bedecked in purple and fine linen. Answer: 2:11, 18, 19.

1. Solomon had placed his hope in his wealth, but now his spirit is spent, and all is drab and weary-. The world has no more to offer and the night of despair has come. The bright and gaudy colors have faded away, and now he is tormented with the thought that what he has gathered will be laid waste by foolish men. (Feel. 5:10, 12, 15; Matt. 6:19, 20; 1 Tim. 6:9)

III. 'Wisdom?

A. Here we see the emptiness and hopelessness of human wisdom. Solomon was the wisest of the wise, but his was the wisdom of how to rule a kingdom — of men, and could give him no assurance or hope in eternity. (Heel. 2:15, 16)

B. His wisdom could not save him from dread and anxiety, nor could it avail to save him from oblivion. Said he: "There is no remembrance of the wise more than of the fool."

1. The wise and the fool alike are soon forgotten. "One Caesar lives, a thousand are forgotten."

C. His wisdom could not save him from the common doom of the race. Said he: "One event happeneth to all." The terrible necessity of death awaits alike the foolish and the wise. No wisdom in the grave. (9:10)

IV. Where Then, Solomon?

A. Solomon enters again, now old and broken as he totters into view upon the stage of life. Now, near the end, he answers from experience the question propounded. (12:13,14)

1. Also counsels youth. (12:1)

CONCLUSION: Eccl. 6:3,4. Jesus: "What shall a man give in exchange for his soul?"

— Box 72, Newburn, Tennessee