“For God giveth to a man that is good in his sight wisdom, and knowledge, and joy: but to the sinner he giveth travail, to gather and to heap up, that he may give to him that is good before God. This also is vanity and vexation of spirit.”
Let’s examine this verse for a few minutes, but first, Ecclesiastes was written by King Solomon, the son of King David. He was given the gift of wisdom by God, but eventually squandered that wisdom, by accumulating positions, wealth and wives. This ultimately caused him to sin against God, even though his wisdom was intact. Ecclesiastes in English basically means “the Preacher”. Ecclesiastes is Solomon’s wise confession of his folly, preaching to us about what to look out for to avoid his mistakes.
“For God giveth to a man that is good in his sight wisdom, and knowledge, and joy:” If you know God and keep his precepts he will provide wisdom, knowledge and joy. Wisdom is the accurate and moral use of knowledge, and knowledge is accumulated information and experiences. Joy is the emotion caused by a sense of well-being, success, or good fortune or by the complete satisfaction with what you have. Joy in the Lord means that you are completely satisfied with what God has given you and you want nothing more, unless God chooses to bless you with more. God gives us these gifts to help us use knowledge wisely and have the wisdom to do God’s will and be satisfied with what He provides, and the result is joy.
On the other hand, “but to the sinner he giveth travail, to gather and to heap up, that he may give to him that is good before God.” This basically says that God burdens those that accumulate stuff and gather treasures and think it is pleasing to God. They think their work and wealth and accumulation of possessions will somehow please God. But, “This also is vanity and vexation of spirit.” This accumulation, even if done to satisfy God, is vanity, pride and selfishness. God is the creator and owner of everything, including us, so God has no need for us to accumulate stuff for Him – He already owns it! This vanity Solomon is sharing will cause you to have an empty spirit, never satisfied and never truly feeling joy.
I pray that the joy of the Lord fill your spirit and you are satisfied with what God provides and will continue to provide and provides abundantly to those that know and serve Him in accordance with His will. Amen!