Most of us at one time or another have thought "if only I had....... more money, or a better education, or a different boss or a new car..... THEN I could be different, or life would be different for me." Sound familiar? Well, we're going to continue our study of Solomon this month who seemed to literally have everything going for him. He was the son of King David and followed him to the throne. Money, wives, wisdom, peace in the land, great homes, great armies with horses and chariots------all of it was his. He never had to think "If only I had...." because he had it! He was the most famous man in the world at the time so that even kings and queens of other countries came to him for counsel.
Was he really better off than we are? Did all his advantages satisfy his heart? His life and his journal (Ecclesiastes) are a part of our Bible so that all generations can know from his own mouth what it is like to have whatever you want, do everything you want and be anything you want.
We've looked at part of Solomon's life from outside circumstances , now in this study let's look at .......
Day 1- It is difficult to tell exactly when Solomon's heart turned away
from God, but by the time he writes this journal what is his perspective? Can
you pick out the phrase repeated in all these verses?
Ecclesiates 1:3,9,14/ 2:11,17-20
(There are 20 more times that this phrase is found in Ecclesiastes!)
Day 2- Solomon's "under the sun" perspective means that he looked at
everything from a human point of view only. We'll find throughout our study
that there was absolutely nothing that satisfied him. And right from the
beginning of his journal he shares his conclusion about life.
Ecclesiastes 1:2, 14
Day 3- "There was nothing that he saw, discovered, attempted, produced,
initiated, or concluded as a result of his lengthy search that resulted in
lasting significance or personal satisfaction".(C.Swindoll -Living on the
Ragged Edge-p.15) Vanity of vanities became his motto and in today's words
could be translated empty, hollow or zero!
(Vanity of vanities is used about 20 more times throughout this book!)
Day 4- Lest you believe Solomon's "under the sun" perspective, let's
look at the truth from God's point of view "above the sun". What has He done to
enable us to transcend our finite lives?
Day 5- Although God has done this for ALL mankind, not all believe it or
walk in the truth of it. Yet, for those who do believe it how does life change?
II Corinthians 5:17 / Galatians 2:20
Day 6- This change in our lives produces a whole new outlook from what
Solomon expresses. Our focus shifts from "under the sun" to "above the
Day 7- And although we live physically on this earth, what should our
attitude be? and what can we be confident of?
Day 8- To perhaps try to answer some of his own questions, Solomon
studied science or natural law and came to very accurate observations
consistent with later discoveries such as storm currents, and evaporation.
Day 9- But what did he find the more he studied?
Day 10- So Solomon turned from his experimental efforts to the lofty
pursuits of philosophy and intellectualism.
This is also what men and women in our day spend much time pursuing. If this is where true satisfaction is found however, our universities and colleges would be the most wonderful places and noone would be anxious to graduate.
Day 11- There is nothing wrong with getting an education but what is
true about living only by worldly wisdom?
Isaiah 47:10-11/ Romans 1:22 / I Corinthians 3:19-20
Day 12- What conclusions did Solomon come to?
(It's interesting to note that education and playing the fool are not far apart-v.17).
Day 13- The deep truths about God and life will never come through
education or systems of philosophy. How will we know them?
I Corinthians 2:9-13/ John 15:15/ John 16:13
Day 14- These next verses describe Solomon as he experiments with life.
He lays hold of and does anything that might bring meaning and happiness. List
for yourself all the things he tried.
Day 15- Solomon had only just begun this search before he knew in his
heart what the results would be (see Ecclesiastes 2:1B) Nevertheless, he spent
many years pursuing his pleasures. Then one day he stopped long enough to
consider all of them and sadly came to the conclusion he knew all along.
Solomon now sinks to one of his lowest levels. God had already given him a great gift of wisdom (the ability to use knowledge correctly). In fact, Solomon in his backslidden state is surprised he still has any wisdom left. (See Ecclesiastes 2:9B). Now, he seeks to know all about good AND evil and so applies himself to know the pespective of a fool.
Day 16- What comparisons does Solomon make between wisdom and
foolishness? How does he feel they are alike?
Day 17- Solomon now makes several "under the sun" conclusions.
Can you think of any today that feel just like he did?
Before we go on with Solomon's experiments let's look back at the first two chapters of Ecclesiastes and observe a few things.
Day 18- As a young man in fellowship with God, Solomon spoke with God
and God spoke with him. That is how it always should be.
I Kings 3:5-14 / 8:22-30 / 9:2-5
Day 19- But as he drifted further and further from God, who did Solomon
Ecclesiastes 1:16A / 2:1A,15
Day 20- Our spirit is the deepest part of us (as opposed to our body and
our soul or mind) and is how we communicate with God and God with us. Our
spirit becomes alive when we allow God's Holy Spirit to live within us.
John 6:63/ Romans 8:11 / John 14:17 / 16:13
Day 21- When we don't let God's Spirit live within us, our spirit dies
and we are left with our body and mind to bring us the satisfaction that only
God is meant to bring. With a spirit that was now almost dead toward God what
did Solomon spend a lot of time developing?
Ecclesiastes 1:13A,16-17 / 2:3,9
Day 22- The more he worked on developing his mind apart from God the
more questions he seemed to have. Notice the questions Solomon asks in just the
first two chapters. Can you hear the pessimistic, fatal tone in his voice?
Ecclesiastes 1:3,10/ 2:2,12B,15,22,25
(Men without God are full of questions without answers).
Day 23- It is our relationship with God that keeps us looking beyond
ourself and our of the quicksand of our own smallness. but a man or woman
without God becomes the center of his universe and ultimately chokes on his own
selfishness. Now, reread Ecclesiastes chapters 1 & 2 and count how many
times you read the words "I", "myself", "my", and "me"!
A popular song of the 1960's sung by Doris Day was called "Que Sera Sera" - a catchy tune to whistle- the words meant "what will be will be". This is fatalism. It's the belief that events are determined by fate. It's taking life as it comes. It's a "what's the use" - "why fight it" type of philosophy.
Day 24- These next words have been sung and quoted by agnostics and
atheists as well as backslidden believers like Solomon.
Day 25- What gain has the worker for his toil? Despite Solomons
backslidden state, something of truth now comes forth as he tries to answer
this. What does Solomon believe are God's gifts to us?
Day 26- Despite these moments of truth and inspiration, Solomon sinks
back to his own "under the sun" reasoning and comes to the final fatalistic
Ecclesiastes 3:15-22 (especially notice vs. 19)
But the problem with his conclusions is that they are only partial truths spoken without faith in God.
Day 27- It is true that the sinful nature of man causes one to oppress
another and for evil to seem to triumph in place of righteousness.
Psalm 94:20-21 / Isaiah 59:14-15A
Day 28- But God will always have the last say. He will uphold those who
are righteous and true.
Psalm 94:22-23/ Isaiah 59:15B-18
Solomon's equating man on simply the same level as animals is a total contradication of what Solomon knew to be true.
Day 29- God made man......
A. In His own image - Genesis 1:27/ 5:1
B. For a purpose - Genesis 1:26/ Psalm 8:6
C. With a mind that can reason - Proverbs 2:3-5/23:23
D. With a free will- I Corinthians 8:9/ Galatians 5:13
E. With an immortal spirit- John 8:51/11:26
Day 30- Yes, our physical bodies do die like an animal's body but our
spirit goes to an eternal destiny that is never talked of for animals.
2 Samuel 14:14 / 2 Corinthians 5:1
Solomon's "under the sun" philosophy is what so many men and women today believe, but is totally contrary to the abundant life God has for us.
Next study we'll continue with Solomon's quest for meaning and satisfaction and examine our own lives at the same time.
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