Solomon Pursued Earthly Knowledge for the Sake of Contentment (Ecclesiastes 1:12-18)

Have you ever encountered God, yet pursued knowledge, possessions, might, money, or pleasure apart from Him to satisfy your desires? No one in history did this like Solomon.

Solomon was the Son of David and Bathsheba; named Jedidiah, which meant “loved by the Lord” (see 2 Samuel 12:24-25). He became Israel’s third King who led its most prosperous 40 years (see 1 Kings 11:42), renowned as the wisest man who ever lived before Christ (see 1 Kings 4:31).

Solomon encountered God who appeared to him twice (see 1 Kings 3:5-15; 9:1-9; 11:9). In his first encounter, God offered Solomon everyone’s dream: “Ask for whatever you want me to give to you” (1 Kings 3:5). Due to the conflict he would experience as king, Solomon asked for a discerning heart (see 1 Kings 3:9), and God granted that request (see 1 Kings 3:12). In Solomon’s second encounter, God responded to Solomon’s prayer of dedication for the temple (see 2 Chronicles 6:24-25, 36; 7:14). Despite those intimate encounters with God, Solomon pursued life apart from Him in at least five arenas that remain a risk for us today.

First, Solomon pursued earthly knowledge for the sake of contentment, leaving him discontented: “I, the Teacher, was the king over Israel in Jerusalem. I devoted myself to study and to explore by wisdom all that is done under heaven. What a heavy burden God has laid on men! I have seen all the things that are done under the sun; all of them are meaningless, a chasing after the wind. What is twisted cannot be straightened; what is lacking cannot be counted. I thought to myself, ‘Look, I have grown and increased in wisdom more than anyone who has ruled over Jerusalem before me; I have experienced much of wisdom and knowledge.’ Then I applied myself to the understanding of wisdom, and also of madness and folly, but I learned that this, too, is chasing after the wind. For with much wisdom comes much sorrow; the more knowledge, the more grief” (Ecclesiastes 1:12-18).

Contentment means “held together.” We think that if we are smart enough, we can hold it all together, and we often end up on autopilot apart from God, the only one who can offer us true contentment in the peace of an intimate relationship with Him through Christ.

Solomon offered wise advice to many world leaders who traveled to meet him (see 1 Kings 4:34). He authored Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Songs, and two Psalms (72, 127). The king spoke 3,000 proverbs and wrote 1005 songs (see 1 Kings 4:32). He described plant life (see 1 Kings 4:33) and taught about animals, birds, reptiles, and fish (see 1 Kings 4:33). Yet, he still pursued knowledge apart from God. One millennium later, James compared two kinds of wisdom: Godly and worldly. The former is selfless. The latter is selfish (see James 3:13-16).

This week, pursue intimacy with God by reading the Bible daily, perhaps a chapter in Proverbs that correlates with the date of the month. Allow the wisdom of Scripture to grow your selfless heart and never lord it over others as you rest contented in Him.

Episode 37: The Life of Solomon from mitchkrusetv on Vimeo.