July 28

Read Ecclesiastes 1 -- 4

It would be easy to become excited over the achievements of Solomon. He wrote: I made me great works . . . built . . . houses . . . planted . . . vineyards . . . made . . . gardens and orchards, and . . . planted trees . . . of all kinds of fruits: I made me pools of water . . . I got me menservants and maidservants . . . had great possessions of . . . cattle . . . I gathered me also silver and gold, and the peculiar treasure of kings. . . . So I was great, and increased more than all who were before me in Jerusalem. . . . And whatever my eyes desired I kept not from them (Ecclesiastes 2:4-10).

However, Solomon eventually concluded: I looked on all the works that my hands had done . . . and, behold, all was vanity and vexation of spirit . . . I hated life (2:11,17). Solomon failed to find lasting satisfaction, yet people today are still attempting to gain fulfillment in life through earthly pursuits while ignoring the will of God.

Solomon was rightly troubled when he said that he had found no satisfaction or peace of mind, confessing: Therefore I hated life; because the work that is wrought under the sun is grievous unto me: for all is vanity and vexation of spirit (2:17).

When he began his reign, we are told that Solomon loved the Lord (I Kings 3:3). But, as he set his heart on material projects, wealth, and women, his priorities became distorted with human goals and projects that gradually pushed God out of his life. Consequently, no prophet was prominent during Solomon's 40-year reign. Just a brief time after his death, the majority of Solomon's great kingdom was ruled, not by his son, but by one of his servants who gained control and ruled ten tribes. Soon after that, all the wealth which Solomon's son inherited was taken by the King of Egypt. Solomon's works and fame vanished, proving that they had been mere vanity, just as he had lamented.

What profit is there for life's labor? (Ecclesiastes 3:9). Solomon's life reminds us of many people whom God has tested with material success, but who also failed the test. Their wealth added nothing to God's Kingdom when it could have been used for eternal treasures.

In striking contrast to King Solomon was the spiritual insight of his father David, who said of those who trust in the Lord: They shall be abundantly satisfied with . . . Your pleasures. For with You is the fountain of life: in Your light shall we see light (Psalms 36:8-9). A few have discovered that God alone can satisfy, even when their physical resources were meger.

All of creation has just one purpose -- to glorify God. For Christians this should mean becoming the person that God wants us to be and accomplishing the purpose for which He created us (John 12:25-26; Romans 12:1-2; I Corinthians 6:20).

Life is short and no one can relive a single moment! Each of us needs to ask: "What is the purpose of my brief life?". Near the close of this sad book, Solomon admonished: Remember now thy Creator in the days of thy youth, while the evil days come not, nor the years draw nigh, when thou shalt say, I have no pleasure in them (Ecclesiastes 12:1).

Christ Revealed: As God, the true source of wisdom, and knowledge, and joy -- the One who truly satisfies (Ecclesiastes 2:26; compare John 15:11; Luke 21:15; Romans 15:14; I Corinthians 2:16).

Word Studies: 1:13 sore travail means grievous task; 1:17 madness and folly means the ways of the foolish; vexation of spirit means very unsatisfying; 2:21 in equity means with skill; portion means inheritance.

Prayer:

Pray for Moody Literature and Radio Ministries · Country: Seychelles (79,000) a group of islands in the Indian Ocean between Madagascar and India · Major languages: English and French · Religious freedom · 89% Roman Catholic; 8% Protestant · Prayer Suggestion: Intercede in prayer for others by name (Luke 22:31-32).

Optional Reading: Hebrews 5

Memory Verse for the Week: Revelation 20:14