As nice as it is when my life is “going well” there is a built in danger. We can see this in the life of King Solomon, David’s son and the third king of Israel. His father’s warrior ways had created safe borders and Solomon reigned over a time of peace and prosperity. Solomon’s wealth was known through-out the world. He was also the one that built an amazing temple for the God of Israel. In addition to this Solomon was given wisdom by God so that he was the wisest man in the world. What a life! What a setting for Solomon to reign.
The problem is that Solomon “drifted.” Even though he was so wise he chose to be influenced by other people instead of by God – that was not very wise. He didn’t use the wisdom God had given to him. He chose to look elsewhere for meaning, purpose and the answers to life’s biggest questions. In the process of ruling over Israel Solomon began to think that he needed to “build his own kingdom” or find his own meaning to life instead of just being about God’s business.
Solomon was an amazing statesman so he created many connections with surrounding nations during this time of peace. This should have been an opportunity to influence these other countries as Solomon worshiped the God of Israel and shared the God of all creation as the opportunities presented themselves. But it appears that the influence worked the other way around as Solomon married many foreign wives [I Kings 11.1-8] and in time actually worshiped their false gods.
In the midst of all Solomon’s wealth, fame and “wisdom notoriety” he became an empty man. This is what happens no matter how good things look when God becomes an after-thought. God alone is able to fill our souls and meet the desires of our hearts. It is only when we rest in His gifts that we stop chasing what will never truly deliver meaning and peace. This “chasing after…” is what the book of Ecclesiastes is all about.
Ecclesiastes tells us in 1.2 “Vanity of vanities… All is vanity.” What he means by this simple statement is that he has tried to find meaning, joy and satisfaction in everything the world has to offer outside of God and found it wanting. The book goes on for twelve chapters describing the pursuits and the eventual dead ends. The book concludes with true wisdom!
8 “Meaningless! Meaningless!” says the Teacher.
“Everything is meaningless!”
13 Now all has been heard;
here is the conclusion of the matter:
Fear God and keep his commandments,
for this is the duty of all mankind.
Seeking God’s Wisdom,