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Quiet Time in Ecclesiastes 2

Updated: Mar 16, 2022

Ecclesiastes 2 (HCSB)

The Emptiness of Pleasure

1 I said to myself, “Go ahead, I will test you with pleasure; enjoy what is good.” But it turned out to be futile. 2 I said about laughter, “It is madness,” and about pleasure, “What does this accomplish?” 3 I explored with my mind how to let my body enjoy life with wine and how to grasp folly—my mind still guiding me with wisdom—until I could see what is good for people to do under heaven during the few days of their lives.

The Emptiness of Possessions

4 I increased my achievements. I built houses and planted vineyards for myself. 5 I made gardens and parks for myself and planted every kind of fruit tree in them. 6 I constructed reservoirs of water for myself from which to irrigate a grove of flourishing trees. 7 I acquired male and female servants and had slaves who were born in my house. I also owned many herds of cattle and flocks, more than all who were before me in Jerusalem. 8 I also amassed silver and gold for myself, and the treasure of kings and provinces. I gathered male and female singers for myself, and many concubines, the delights of men. 9 So I became great and surpassed all who were before me in Jerusalem; my wisdom also remained with me. 10 All that my eyes desired, I did not deny them. I did not refuse myself any pleasure, for I took pleasure in all my struggles. This was my reward for all my struggles. 11 When I considered all that I had accomplished and what I had labored to achieve, I found everything to be futile and a pursuit of the wind. There was nothing to be gained under the sun.

The Relative Value of Wisdom

12 Then I turned to consider wisdom, madness, and folly, for what will the man be like who comes after the king? He will do what has already been done. 13 And I realized that there is an advantage to wisdom over folly, like the advantage of light over darkness.

14 The wise man has eyes in his head, but the fool walks in darkness.

Yet I also knew that one fate comes to them both. 15 So I said to myself, “What happens to the fool will also happen to me. Why then have I been overly wise?” And I said to myself that this is also futile. 16 For, just like the fool, there is no lasting remembrance of the wise man, since in the days to come both will be forgotten. How is it that the wise man dies just like the fool? 17 Therefore, I hated life because the work that was done under the sun was distressing to me. For everything is futile and a pursuit of the wind.

The Emptiness of Work

18 I hated all my work that I labored at under the sun because I must leave it to the man who comes after me. 19 And who knows whether he will be a wise man or a fool? Yet he will take over all my work that I labored at skillfully under the sun. This too is futile. 20 So I began to give myself over to despair concerning all my work that I had labored at under the sun. 21 When there is a man whose work was done with wisdom, knowledge, and skill, and he must give his portion to a man who has not worked for it, this too is futile and a great wrong. 22 For what does a man get with all his work and all his efforts that he labors at under the sun? 23 For all his days are filled with grief, and his occupation is sorrowful; even at night, his mind does not rest. This too is futile.

24 There is nothing better for man than to eat, drink, and enjoy his work. I have seen that even this is from God’s hand, 25 because who can eat and who can enjoy life apart from Him? 26 For to the man who is pleasing in His sight, He gives wisdom, knowledge, and joy, but to the sinner He gives the task of gathering and accumulating in order to give to the one who is pleasing in God’s sight. This too is futile and a pursuit of the wind.


SIN (verse 10): Father, please forgive my sinful nature of giving in to almost any of the worldly pleasures my flesh desires. Help me to combat the flesh, the world, and the enemy at all times and in all ways so that the pleasures I seek are You and Your will for me.

PROMISE (verse 16): You promise us that the wise man and the fool, when none of Your good works are performed, will both be forgotten as both will die, be replaced, and not be remembered.

ATTITUDE (verse 3): Lord, help me to change my attitude of satisfying my flesh. Help me to seek You always, so that my fleshly desires may be silenced and my joy may always be filled by You.

COMMAND (verse 26): You tell us that if we are good in Your sight that we will be given by Your hands wisdom, knowledge, and joy. On the other side, if we are sinners then we will be given the hard works to accomplish so that we may be a producer of good things for those that are deemed as good in Your sight. Help me to gain Your favor, Father, so that I may increase in Your wisdom, Your knowledge, and Your joy!

EXAMPLE (verses 1-11): Solomon had such great "rear-view" wisdom at the end of his life that opened his eyes to so many mistakes he made along the way by often giving into the flesh instead of the Spirit. Help me to follow his example by seeing, recognizing, and learning from my "rearview mirror" but on a consistent basis and not just at the end of my life. Help me to also look forward at Your will, so that I can dwell less and less on my past failures.

*DAILY NOTE: Once again You remind me, Father, to remember my past for the lessons it provides but not to dwell in that past and let that past define who I am. You also remind me that I need to do a reflection on my life for lessons early and often instead of as a culmination to my life. Please help me to be better at seeing and learning from my mistakes as well as joys early and often, so that I can be more aligned with Your will and have no regrets when the time comes for me to join You in eternity, Father!

*GENERAL NOTE: I always "sandwich" my quiet time with God in prayer and do it in a location that I will not have any distractions so that I can be focused on my quiet time with God. Do not worry about how short or long your journal entries are for that day's quiet time. Just focus on the actual quiet time and relational conversation with God through the Holy Spirit and His Word. The journaling is an enhancement to your quiet time conversation with God, but also to allow you to reflect on things later as you can look back on your journal entries later when you do the chapters again in the future to see how you have grown. See the FAQ for more detail on how I do my quiet time.

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