07/23/15 – 210
King Solomon is widely accepted as the wealthiest man who ever lived. By today’s standards, he would have been worth an estimated 2.1 trillion dollars. I know we throw big numbers around all the time now, but to be clear, a trillion is a million times a million. 12 zeroes. In this case, a little more than doubled. He had 700 wives, yet died miserable and lonely, unable to find meaning in any of it.
Ecclesiastes 2:1-2 The words of the Teacher, son of David, king in Jerusalem:
2 “Meaningless! Meaningless!”
says the Teacher.
Everything is meaningless.”
John D. Rockefeller, founder of Standard Oil and another of the richest men who ever lived, was once asked ‘How much money is enough money?” His famous reply was “Just a little bit more”.
Both of these men, one of whom was (at one time) the wisest man in the world, looked for meaning and fulfillment in material wealth, and did not find it. I think Solomon was so miserable because he knew what he was looking for, and realized that he had wasted his life searching in the wrong place. The really sad part, to me, is that the ‘right place’ – God – was right in from of him from the start, clearly speaking to him, blessing him and working through him to bless the people of Israel. He had all of his father David’s instruction, which I’m sure was substantial. He could have repented and turned back to Jehovah at any time, but instead gave up and walked away into the darkness.
How many of you have ever had the thought ‘if I could only win the lottery’ or something similar. Maybe you don’t gamble, but a shirttail relative you never knew died a millionaire at the age of 99 and you’re the only heir or something. Do you think we might be fooling ourselves? Ironically, Solomon himself wrote this:
Proverbs 1:7 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction.
Did you know that in scripture, especially in Proverbs, the word ‘fool’ often means ‘unspiritual’? So, if ‘fear’ of the Lord is reverent love, and a fool is an unspiritual person who does not fear God, the sentence takes on a different meaning, doesn’t it? Let’s read it that way – Reverent love for the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but the unspiritual person despises wisdom and instruction. Hey, maybe that’s why so many simply don’t want to hear the Word, or attend church, or open a Bible. Sadly some of those ‘fools’ are in our churches. They are there for appearance’s sake, I think, but that seems to be where it ends.
So, lest you think we’re off track, the question for tomorrow is – how does a wise person (according to Jesus example of wisdom) use that wisdom to find fulfillment? Let’s pray again as we prepare to finish this topic of God’s emotional and intellectual make-up as compared to our own.