1 I said in my heart, “Come now, I will test you with mirth; therefore enjoy pleasure”; but surely, this also was vanity. 2 I said of laughter—“Madness!”; and of mirth, “What does it accomplish?” 3 I searched in my heart how to gratify my flesh with wine, while guiding my heart with wisdom, and how to lay hold on folly, till I might see what was good for the sons of men to do under heaven all the days of their lives.
(Ecclesiastes 2:1-3, New King James Version)
Test of Pleasure
It almost seems as if Solomon is taking a scientific approach to seek out the meaning of pleasure in his quest to discover what is good for the sons of men to do under heaven. In all of his experimenting with pleasurable things he does them while guiding his heart with wisdom. It almost seems as if he steps outside of himself and takes notes!
I find it interesting that Solomon uses his wisdom in this way. He is going beyond fun and pleasure to determine its meaning in life. Does that mean that we are not to laugh, have fun, or find pleasurable entertainment? Not at all. However, we are not to seek these things as the end or purpose of life.
I think there is also another subtle message in these verses from Ecclesiastes 2. Sometimes we are so busy living our life that we do not take the time to step back and take a hard look at ourselves. I think this is what Solomon meant by "guiding his heart with wisdom." It seems as though he stopped from time to time to take an assessment of his life.
As Christians who understand the deceptive nature of sin, it would be good for us to stop and assess our own lives. It is always much easier for us to see sin in the lives of others than it is to see sin in our own lives. What would happen if we spent more time analyzing our own thoughts and actions before God?
Solomon took his own test of pleasure which resulted not only in the book of Ecclesiastes, but also in the book of Proverbs. Though it seemed to him as though no one would remember him, God chose to use his books of wisdom to guide Christians in their daily lives even to this day.
Only what is done for Christ will last!
God Bless You,