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Ecclesiastes: Chapter 2 Verses 4-11

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SIH TOTT ICONWhat Is Your Life If Not Lived For The Lord? (Part 5)

 

 

INTRODUCTION:

Solomon addresses himself as “the Preacher”.   He is the one that will proclaim the spritiual truths of God to those in his nation and to Christians throughout time.

Keep in mind, Solomon learned these truths by trying to find the meaning to life through experiencing all this world has to offer.  Solomon was uniquely suited to learn these lessons and share these truths with the people of God…

First of all, very few men possess sufficient wealth and power to be able to sample all this world has to offer (1 Kings 10:23).

Secondly, only Solomon and a few others throughout time, have been universally respected causing his teachings to be taken very seriously and thoughtfully by all (1 Kings 4:30-34).  (Keep in mind, even Christ Himself and His teachings were rejected by many of those around Him.)

Solomon was God’s man, in God’s place, at God’s time, by God’s grace, to learn this most important truth and proclaim it with authority to those he loved.  May we all listen carefully as Solomon reveals to us the true meaning to life and answer the question…  “What Is Our Life If Not Lived for The Lord ?”.

 

TODAY’S TEXT:

 

Eccl 2:4-11 –

“I made me great works; I builded me houses; I planted me vineyards:  I made me gardens and orchards, and I planted trees in them of all kind of fruits:  I made me pools of water, to water therewith the wood that bringeth forth trees:  I got me servants and maidens, and had servants born in my house; also I had great possessions of great and small cattle above all that were in Jerusalem before me:  I gathered me also silver and gold, and the peculiar treasure of kings and of the provinces: I gat me men singers and women singers, and the delights of the sons of men, as musical instruments, and that of all sorts.  So I was great, and increased more than all that were before me in Jerusalem: also my wisdom remained with me.   And whatsoever mine eyes desired I kept not from them, I withheld not my heart from any joy; for my heart rejoiced in all my labour: and this was my portion of all my labour. Then I looked on all the works that my hands had wrought, and on the labour that I had laboured to do: and, behold, all was vanity and vexation of spirit, and there was no profit under the sun.” 

 

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL:

Solomon next examines human labor that produces great material possessions…

 

I made me great works;

Solomon begins to describe all of his abundant wealth that was the result of his human labors…

 

I builded me houses; I planted me vineyards:  I made me gardens and orchards, and I planted trees in them of all kind of fruits:  I made me pools of water, to water therewith the wood that bringeth forth trees: 

Solomon possessed many great Real Estate assets which were produced through his labors.

You may be wondering what Solomon’s labor was that he performed.  As king, Solomon’s labor was, almost certainly, not physical.  However, he was the one that planned these great works, financed them, accumulated the materials that was needed, oversaw the projects, and then made arrangements for their upkeep.  In that sense, they truly were his labors and he was to be given the credit for them.

This can be likened to someone like Donald Trump who, probably, never actually did any manual labor, but is given the entire credit for the real estate empire that was built by his administrative labors.

 

I got me servants and maidens, and had servants born in my house;

Also, Solomon held authority over many workers that increased his productivity and his material possessions.

 

also I had great possessions of great and small cattle above all that were in Jerusalem before me: 

Through his labors, Solomon accumulated great numbers of various types of livestock which also increased his productivity and wealth.

  

I gathered me also silver and gold, and the peculiar treasure of kings and of the provinces:

Solomon accumulated great riches of precious metals and all the natural resources that held value (different types of wood, animals, ointments, vegetation etc).  He got them from the Kings of the the various countries that surrounded Israel.

  

I gat me men singers and women singers, and the delights of the sons of men, as musical instruments, and that of all sorts. 

His labors also allowed him to own musicians who were totally unproductive, but only possessed for entertainment purposes.

 

So I was great, and increased more than all that were before me in Jerusalem: also my wisdom remained with me.   

When Solomon stepped back and looked at his enormous wealth, he could only describe himself as:

  1. great – He was “excellent”, “magnificent”, “worthy of boasting” – from a human standpoint Solomon was greater than all others and had sufficient reason to boast of the world possessions he had accumulated.
  2. increased more than all that were before me – he had accrued more wealth than all the Israelite Kings before him.

Besides the continuing accrual of physical possessions, Solomon retained his great wisdom to rule over Israel.

 

And whatsoever mine eyes desired I kept not from them, I withheld not my heart from any joy; for my heart rejoiced in all my labour: and this was my portion of all my labour.

olomon had gathered so much wealth from his labors that he could have anything that he desired… and he did just that.  The ability to obtain whatever he desired gave his heart great temporary joy.

He believed that the ability to get his heart’s desire was the well-earned allotment for all his labors.

 

Then I looked on all the works that my hands had wrought, and on the labour that I had laboured to do: and, behold, all was vanity and vexation of spirit, and there was no profit under the sun.” 

At the end of his labors, Solomon now stands back and investigates their true worth to man.  He came to understand that all was:

  1. “vanity” – short-lived with no lasting value
  2. “vexation of spirit” – grasping for the wind
  3. “no profit under the sun” – no gain in anything accumulated in this fallen world.

 

 

PRACTICAL APPLICATION:

What we have just read we see taking place around us all the time.  In some ways, today’s equivalent would be holding a very prestigious job (medical doctor, lawyer, investment banker, RE mogul etc) that allowed an individual to accumulate great wealth and obtain anything his heart desired.

Sadly, these types of positions are highly respected in society due to the great wealth that comes with the job.  However, Solomon clearly tells us that to live lives of labor for the sole purpose of accumulating great material possessions can never truly be satisfied nor possess lasting benefit.

Also, please notice the key word in all of these verses was the word “I”…

“I made”, “I builded”, “I planted”, “I made”, “I planted”, “I made”, “I got”, “I had great possessions”, “I gathered”, “I gat”, “I was great”, “I kept not from them”, “I withheld not”…

In all these Solomon did not give any credit to the Lord for allowing him to labor and obtain his great wealth and possessions.  This is the nature of accumulation of the things of this world… it is a self-centered accumulation that keeps self in the forefront of the mind.

If we keep the Lord in the forefront of our mind, we will see the need to devote our lives to Him and His will for us with the material possessions of this world taking a back seat.

 

Solomon’s pursuit of the meaning of life included:

 

2:1-3 The pursuit of carnal desires  (the base pleasures found in a fallen world)
2. 2:4-11 The pursuit of material possessions through human labors

 

 

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