“I also piled up sliver and gold from the royal treasuries of the lands I ruled. Men and women sang to entertain me, and I had all the women a man could want. Yes, I was great, greater than anyone else who had ever lived in Jerusalem, and my wisdom never failed me. Anything I wanted, I got. I did not deny myself any pleasure. I was proud of everything I had worked for, and all this was my reward. Then I thought about all that I had done and how hard I worked doing it, and I realized that it didn’t mean a thing. It was like chasing after the wind–of no use at all.” –Ecclesiastes 2:8-11 (GNT)
Some of you may be familiar with these words and some of you may not. These words were penned by one of the most wisest men that has ever lived on Earth. That sounds crazy right!? Why would one of the most wisest men in history ever write something as depressing as this? Well to answer that question, we’d have to take a look at who actually wrote these words and what his life was like. Solomon, the son of David, wrote these words and the book of Ecclesiastes. Solomon was a Jewish king and according to Jewish tradition, he wrote the Songs of Solomon during his younger years, Proverbs in his middle years, and Ecclesiastes during his later years of life. Much of the information we have on King Solomon is found in the Old Testament of the Bible, if you haven’t caught that already. Those three books were known as Wisdom Literature, but how in the world did he become so wise? He simply asked God for wisdom. In 1 Kings chapter 3, Solomon had already been dubbed as the Israelite’s king and had gotten back from Egypt to form an alliance with the Pharaoh and to marry his daughter. Solomon then made his way to Gibeon to offer sacrifices to God, finished offering a thousand burnt offerings, and fell asleep. While asleep, God came to Solomon in a dream and bluntly said to him “Ask for whatever you want me to give you.” Most of us would probably pull out our laundry list of things we want–I know I would–but Solomon didn’t do that. He simply said “Please give me wisdom so that I can properly rule your chosen people because I don’t even know how to.” God was happy about his request and ended up giving him not only what he asked for, but what he didn’t ask for as well–wealth and honor as Solomon got older.
Now the problem with Solomon was that by the time he reached the later years of his life, he had declined spiritually, worshiped false gods, had all types of ungodly women, and lived a life of self-indulgence. This was not God’s fault, but Solomon’s fault for trying to find ultimate satisfaction in pleasure and materialism. He realized that none of these things were able to bring him happiness. In the book of Ecclesiastes, we find one of the most wisest men in history in his old age reminiscing about his experiences with wealth, power, honor, fame, and sensual pleasure–all in excess–but in the end regretting how he wasted his life chasing all of those things.
Just like Solomon, I honestly think that every single one of us is trying to find happiness in something. If we could just have those things–whatever they are– then we would finally be happy with ourselves and our lives. “If I could just find the perfect guy or girl, then I’d be happy with my life,” “If I could have the perfect job and biggest house, then I’d be happy with my life,” “If I could have perfect kids and a perfect family, then I’d be happy with my life,” “If I could hit the lotto, then I’d be happy with my life,” “If I could be just as famous and just as handsome or beautiful as (you name the celebrity), then I’d be happy with my life.” These are some of the things we say, thinking that they would give us a fulfilled life.
What I want to do with these next couple of posts is talk about how everyone–including me–has a deep desire for joy, peace, and satisfaction. I want to explore the different ways we try to fill the void in our hearts and how there really is only one way we can truly find the joy, peace, and satisfaction that we all desperately long for. I’m hoping and praying that after reading these posts, we all would evaluate the things we try to find happiness in, no longer try to fill the void in our hearts with those things, and realize that there is only one way to have a fulfilled heart and live a fulfilled life–no longer needing to aimlessly chase after the wind.