From Solomon's Thoughts
I, as teacher of Israel in Jerusalem, dedicated my time to study and exploration of all things done under heaven. What a tremendous task. Because of God's gift of wisdom to me I have seen all the things done under the sun and have concluded this: they are meaningless, like chasing the wind.
Thing that are twisted cannot be straightened.
What someone doesn't have, cannot be counted.
I thought to myself, "From my studies and the gift God has given me I have learned and gained wisdom, more than any of the great thinkers who have ruled over Jerusalem before me. I've experienced not only knowing something but what to do."
So I took the great wisdom I had gained and went about applying it, speaking as a great man. But,I also tried acting like one with madness and doing ridiculous things. And do you know what I learned? Both are like chasing the wind.
The more wisdom I discover, the more sorrow I feel. And the more knowledge I gain, the more grief floods my soul.
I wanted something to make me happy.
I thought, surely I could use my wisdom to find happiness. But it didn't work.
I tried laughter, wine, doing foolish things. I wanted to see what other men could do to find a sense of fulfillment during our short lives.
I tried filling my minutes with important projects. I built houses and planted vineyards. Gardens, parks, with all kinds of fruits trees in them. I made reservoirs to water huge groves of trees. I bought many slaves, owned many herds ad flocks. My treasury of silver and gold increased. I had singers devoted to entertaining me.
In all I added to my possessions, my wisdom never left.
I didn't keep anything from myself.
Anything my heart wanted I bought.
My heart was happy with the work I did
This was the only reward for my work.
And then I went out and looked at all that was built under my direction and saw everything was meaningless. Like chasing after the wind. Nothing was gained because all of these things could be destroyed.
And I hated it. I hated everything we made, all the possession I gained because they won't be mine. Some day I will die and my son will have them. So what good has it been for me to work to gain these things? My son won't be able to keep them either. When he dies someone else will get them.
Who knows if my son will be wise or a fool and take care of the family wealth in a wise way. These things I have worked so hard to get. It is all meaningless.
Because a person may work hard to own many things and then give it to someone who has done nothing and therefore doesn't care about those same things.
A person can do nothing better than to eat and drink and find satisfaction in his work. And even this must be from the hand of God. For without His help we cannot eat or find enjoyment.
To the person who pleases God, God gives wisdom, knowledge, and happiness. But to the sinner, He gives the task of gathering and storing wealth to give to the one who pleases God. This is nothing more than chasing after the wind.
author's note: Solomon is troubled and trying to figure things out. Please come back and read the rest of Solomon's thinking to hear the complete story.
photo courtesy of visualbiblealive.com
1. What did God give Solomon?
2. What is Solomon concerned about in today's story?