Living a strict, disciplined life failed to bring satisfaction to Solomon’s life. He was careful in all he did and observed each and every wise instruction that he offered. But it left him empty. He said in Ecclesiastes 1:18, I found out it 09 calvinwas trying to catch the wind. The wiser I was the more worries I had. The more I learned the heavier was the burden to carry. The strict austere life brought no purpose and meaning and left me miserable and empty inside. So she went the complete opposite direction. He through off all restraint and let himself indulge in every possible pleasure. He slept in. He did whatever he wanted to do whenever he wanted to do it. He pitched responsibility out the window and just had a good time. He partied a lot. He through caution to the wind and sought all the pleasures that the wealthy life might afford him. It reminds me of the Johnny Cash song, written by U2, “The Wanderer.” This song was actually based on this passage and Johnny sings, “I went out there , In search of experience, To taste and to touch and to feel as much, As a man can before he repents.”

In Ecclesiastes 2:1-2 he says, “I decided to enjoy myself and find out what happiness is.” He wanted to experience all that wise living had kept from him. He goes on, “But I found that this is useless too.” It’s no different than any excess. “I discovered that laughter is foolish, that pleasure does you no good.” It ended at the very same dead end as the pursuit of wisdom. He got no true satisfaction in it at all. Oscar Wilde was a true “died-in-the-wool” hedonist. He claimed that pleasure was the absolute greatest good in all life. But after his great fall, he confessed (and I quote) “I let myself be lured into long spells of senseless and sensual ease. And when I tired of being on the heights, I deliberately went to the depths in search of new sensations. I took pleasure wherever it pleased me. I ended in utter disgrace and a complete failure. I wish I had listened to those who warned me.”

Well, Oscar, Solomon had been there and done that. These passages carry with them a strong persuasive nature. He doesn’t want us to go that route to find that pain for ourselves. He wants us to learn from mistakes. He explained that all pleasure is madness. He actually says, “Laughter is madness.” T. M. Moore paraphrases verse 2: “I concluded that laughter and merriment for their own sakes were madness. What did they accomplish to help me find lasting meaning and purpose in life?” Phil Ryken closes his comments on this verse by saying, “Life is no laughing matter. Some people laugh all their way to the grave, but there is nothing funny about the deathbed of someone who dies without Christ.”