King Solomon wrote the book of Ecclesiastes in order to spare future generations the bitterness of learning things the hard way. He wrote it in order to teach people, like me, that life is meaningless without God. King Solomon was David’s son by his wife, Bathsheba. If you know anything about the Bible, you know that David was the shepherd that killed Goliath, he was a king, and he was an ancestor of Jesus. He was also an adulterer, a murderer, and a liar. Yet, God referred to David as a “man after my own heart.” I love how God uses the people who are messed up to fulfill His purposes!
David lusted after Bathsheba, took her to bed, had her husband killed after David found out she was pregnant, then their baby died, and God still loved him!! They eventually gave birth to Solomon who became the wisest man to ever walk the earth. Then God brought His only Son, Jesus, directly from David’s line! That’s something there! What does that mean for me and my past mistakes? And then it hit me!! My own selfishness has been getting in the way of God’s blessings.
King Solomon was asked by God in a dream what he wanted when he became king. Here is Solomon’s response:
1 Kings 3:6-9 – Solomon answered, “You have shown great kindness to your servant, my father David, because he was faithful to you and righteous and upright in heart. You have continued this great kindness to him and have given him a son to sit on his throne this very day. Now, Lord my God, you have made your servant king in place of my father David. But I am only a little child and do not know how to carry out my duties. Your servant is here among the people you have chosen, a great people, too numerous to count or number. So give your servant a discerning heart to govern this great people of yours?”
I love how he ends his request with a question mark! It shows me that he was not confident in what he was asking for. But the Lord was. God was very pleased that Solomon didn’t ask for wealth, a long life, death to his enemies. So God gave him wisdom! And THEN God gave him wealth, honor, and a long life, the things he DIDN’T ask for. Here is what Solomon says about what having all the desires of our hearts does (or what the world says what our desires should be).
Ecclesiastes 2:1-11 – I said to myself, “Come now, I will test you with pleasure to find out what is good.” But that also proved to be meaningless. “Laughter,” I said, “is madness. And what does pleasure accomplish?” I tried cheering myself with wine, and embracing folly – my mind still guided me with wisdom. I wanted to see what was good for people to do under the heavens during the few days of their lives. I undertook great projects: I built houses for myself and planted vineyards. I made gardens and parks and planted all kinds of fruit trees in them. I made reservoirs to water groves of flourishing trees. I bought male and female slaves and had others slaves who were born in my house. I also owned more herds and flocks than anyone in Jerusalem before me. I amassed silver and gold for myself, and the treasure of kings and provinces. I acquired male and female singers, and a harem as well – the delights of a man’s heart. I became greater by far than anyone in Jerusalem before me. In all this my wisdom stayed with me. I denied myself nothing my eyes desired; I refused my heart no pleasure. My heart took delight in all my labor, and this was the reward for all my toil. Yet when I surveyed all that my hands had done and what I had toiled to achieve, everything was meaningless, a chasing after the wind; nothing was gained under the sun.
Me, Me, Me, I, I, I….Selfish, right? Sound familiar? Where is God in that? It’s so familiar that it breaks my heart to know that was who I was. I knew, deep down, that claiming all my accomplishments in life and pretending that I at one time was SOMEBODY was wrong. But I thought I had it made. I was disillusioned! Even my most worthy pursuits were futile because I pursued them as an end in themselves. Is my goal in life to search for meaning, or to search for God who gives meaning? Good feelings are only TEMPORARY!!
1 John 2:17 – The world and it’s desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever.
Psalm 37:4 – Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.
He will give me what I don’t even ask for if I just humbly go to Him with my requests and check my motives at the door!