v. 12-18 "I, the Teacher, was king over Israel in Jerusalem. I devoted myself to study and to explore by wisdom all that is done under heaven. What a heavy burden God has laid on men! I have seen all the things that are done under the sun; all of them are meaningless, a chasing after the wind. What is twisted cannot be straightened; what is lacking cannot be counted. I thought to myself, 'Look I have grown and increased in wisdom more than anyone who has ruled over Jerusalem before me; I have experienced much of wisdom and knowledge.' Then I applied myself to the understanding of wisdom, and also of madness and folly, but I learned that this, too, is a chasing after the wind. For with much wisdom comes much sorrow; the more knowledge, the more grief."
Solomon searched for satisfaction as if it were a science experiment. We are not able to gain true happiness in ourselves, because we will not be satisfied with what we have, we will want more and more. If we did get happiness by ourselves, then when the things we love are snatched away, where would we turn to? The only thing we have control of in this world is how we think, speak and act and how we react to other people and situations. People will continue to search without God. They will grasp onto anything they feel will fill the void in their lives. Solomon called himself Teacher. He assembled people to tell them what God gave him and wise sayings (proverbs). I do not feel he was being conceited, he knew the heaviness of his responsibility to lead the people. Leaders have great responsibility, no matter the size of their followers (an entire company or a household). This man had everything; wisdom, power, riches, honor, reputation and the favor of God. Yet he spoke of the emptiness that this world has to offer. I think God wants us to rethink our purpose and the direction of our life, just as Solomon did in this book.
If someone said that they were chasing the wind then you might think they were crazy. How could one chase the wind? That is what we do in life when we go after things that do not matter. What is twisted cannot be straightened, I think this means that we will not be able to figure out the unanswered questions of life. When you gain wisdom then you are able to see more around you the heartache that is in the world and the more evident evil is. I have heard people say they do not want to know what is happening in the world, in some of the third world countries. Just because you avoid it doesn't mean that bad things are not happening. When you face God and He asks you, did you help those in need, will you say that you didn't know there were any out there? I don't go digging daily for the terrible details of things around the world, but when I hear something I let it sink in and pray. I believe we are supposed to be aware and to take action, prayer may be the only action we can take, but it is extremely powerful. There is a price to wisdom; we will be expected to feel more, observe more, question more, act more and even hurt more.
There are two types of wisdom in this book: human (knowledge, reasoning, philosophy) and Godly (wisdom). I believe there is a difference between wisdom and knowledge. I think that knowledge is made up of facts and ideas; and wisdom is the ability to know what to do with those facts and ideas and how to apply them to life.