1 Samuel 13:14 “…the LORD hath sought him a man after his own heart, and the LORD hath commanded him to be captain over his people…”
Psalm 78:70-71 He chose David also his servant, and took him from the sheepfolds: From following the ewes great with young he brought him to feed Jacob his people, and Israel his inheritance.
Solomon knew that the Lord had chosen his father, David, to be king over Israel and established his throne over Israel forever. Solomon was born into privilege but he learned that this does not solve man’s problems or bring happiness or contentment. Two of his brothers had been killed, one was murdered by Absolom and then Absolom was killed in a rebellious war against his father, David. Solomon was forced to execute his brother and his cousin due to their rebellious acts against his position as king. He knew very well the difficulty involved in families. Solomon became king at the age of 40 years old. His eldest son, Rehoboam was born just before his ascension to the throne. Solomon may have known the struggles that parents faced in raising their children. In the book of Proverbs, he gives advice to “My Son” more than twenty times. We know that when Rehoboam took the throne following his father’s death, he was self-absorbed and sought only the good of himself and his friends. Solomon must have noted his son’s rebellious attitude and that of the friends he surrounded himself with. Most parents seek answers of how to bring their children up to love the Lord and bring glory to Him in their lives. I do not believe that Solomon was any different.
Facing the tremendous problems of leading the nation, judging the people, and guiding his own family, he may have determined to find the way to peace and happiness. His discoveries are recorded in this book – Ecclesiastes.
Introduction. In this book, Solomon the King seeks to discover the purpose of life. Solomon determined to utilize all of his vast resources – wisdom, power, finances that God had blessed him with – to discover and reveal the purpose of life and answer the question – how can a person be happy and satisfied. He thought that if he could not answer the question, no one could. One very important statement must be noted in order to understand the truth that the Holy Spirit led Solomon to write down. Remember that this book is the inspired Word of God, absolutely accurate in every detail, but we need to know that Solomon did not seek God’s wisdom in this search. Please mark this statement in your Bibles and refer to it as you read the book ; Ecclesiastes 1:16 “I communed with mine own heart…”. Solomon did not seek God’s wisdom, he used the ability that God gave him, but this still only amounts to man’s wisdom
To illustrate what we will see, let’s imagine Solomon driving down the highway of life, going before us. He began his journey with God as his guide, but soon he took a turn away from the direction that God was leading and he went his own way. He was still blessed with his position, his power, his wisdom, and his wealth but now he was without his guide, Jehovah. What he discovered was a highway littered with wrecked, frustrated, discontented, discouraged lives. He recorded this journey and provided warning signs for those who were following him. We are preaching through this book with a theme that Solomon has blessed us in warning us of what is ahead. The Lord is helping us to avoid the dangers along this road of life and to truly know how to have a pleasant journey, reaching our destination with joy in our hearts.
He opened the book setting forth His –
I. Perception. 1:1-9
As we read Solomon’s introduction to this book, we should remember that as the King and judge of Israel, he was faced each day with the problems that his subjects brought before him to answer. Due to his reputation for great wisdom, he also received those coming from outside his kingdom to seek an audience with him. He would become familiar with the troubles of the great leaders and the ordinary citizens. It would soon become apparent to Solomon that the problems only differed in the amount of people affected: family, community, state, country… Essentially the problems are the same.
He noted that the problems of life brought on emotional feelings –
A. Resentment. 1:1-3 Life is frustrating. The word that Solomon used is ‘vanity’. It means that is seen as worthless, quickly changing, as smoke or vapour. Where is the profit in this life, for it all seems –
B. Repetitive. 1:4-9 Another word can be used to describe his feeling – it is monotonous! It just goes on and on and on and on…
1. The evidence from the natural world. 1:4-7
a. The Earth
b. The Sun
c. The Wind
d. The Rain
That which the generations of old experienced, we also experience today and those coming after will experience the same. Man comes and goes, but the natural world continues.
2. The evidence from human experience. 1:8,9
Man struggles day after day to provide for himself and his family. His senses instruct him that he must go forth day after day, week after week, month after month, year after year and then he dies and is put into the earth which continues on its path throughout the ages. The earth does not slow even for a moment to acknowledge a man’s passing.
Because of what life seems to be to him, he reveals his –
II. Perplexity. 1:10,11
He sees it but he does not understand it. Have you seen something that you know means something, you KNOW it means something, but you do not know what that something is?
When I was 18 years old, I was driving my car to go into the city of Washington. I had to go through a city on the outside of Washington to get to the bridge to cross the river. This city was always changing, new buildings, new roads, old roads rebuilt. I knew my route and was driving quite fast when I saw a warning sign. On this sign were three letters – D I P. I thought to myself what in the world does D I P stand for? While in the process of wondering, my car dropped out from under me and then flew up into the air. I hit the ground hard and it was all I could do to stay on the road and not wreck the car or hit someone else. Then I realized, the letters – D I P – did not stand for anything. They spelled out a word – DIP. While working on the roads, a large dip had formed and they put up a warning sign. Guess what? It did not help me – I did not understand what I was being warned about. Now I learned from that time on when I saw a sign that warned of a DIP, I put on the brakes and slowed down. But since that time, there have been thousands of other roads and multitudes of other warning signs that I saw. Some I understood and obeyed. Some I saw and did not understand, paying the consequences. Some I thought I understood and tried to get by, for example – speed camera ahead. Is there really a speed camera or are they bluffing? You know how all of this works in so many aspects of life.
Life just seems to keep pushing us back day after day. We know the past but we very seldom learn from it. We just keep repeating our mistakes. We do not know the future, but we do know that it will be no different from now. We may have gotten a past problem, but it is still there, waiting for the next person to come along. We will be facing one that someone has faced going before us. Remember what World War One was called? The war to end all wars. It was so terrible that the world believed no one would go to war again. Yet in less than 20 years the world was at it again with World War Two.
What is the point? Where is the profit in all of this life?
These thoughts led Solomon to His stated –
III. Purpose. 1:12,13 Can life be worthwhile?
If there are any good and meaningful reasons for man’s existence, Solomon determined to discover them.
A. He would find it. “…seek…”
B. He would investigate that which he found. “…search out…”
He would use all the resources that he had to discover the meaning of life.
“I just want to be happy”. Is this possible? To what extent and how long with it last? Each step of the way through this book we will discover through Solomon that there is a recurring theme – The meaning of life is God and we come to Him through His Son, Jesus Christ. Have you believed in Him yet?
While the man without God just sees days come and go, a repetition, a rat race, the man who has his trust in God see the same days come but each one brings the blessings of God –
Lamentations 3:22-23 It is of the LORD’S mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness.