J. Vernon McGee wrote a “Thru the Bible” commentary a while back and I dug my copy out this morning. I had remembered using it as a reference when I taught an adult Sunday School Class several years ago. Here’s how Dr. McGee sees Solomon’s experiment in finding fulfillment.
Chapter 3:1-15. The king adopts a fatalistic point of view. Whatever will be will be so what’s the use. Many religions and modern-day philosophies see life in this way. Solomon found there is no joy in believing that life is mapped out by some deity and there’s nothing you can do about it.
Chapter 3:16-4:16 Solomon embraces the philosophy that it’s “all about me”. He says that since this life is all we get, why not live it up? He even toyed with the idea that man is no better than animals, that the end is the same for both. Again, Solomon was disappointed.
Chapter 5:1-10 Solomon takes a look at religion. It’s like he’s saying, go through the motions but don’t get too close. Going to the temple is one thing but don’t make a vow to God. We who are Christians understand that. Christianity is not a religion. It’s a person. It’s a relationship. It’s so true that religion falls short and cannot bring true joy or fulfillment.
Chapter 5:10-6:12 chronicles Solomon’s search for meaning through wealth. He’s not going to find fulfillment there, either.
Like I said yesterday Solomon was on a mission to find happiness because he hated life at this point. And Solomon had the means to conduct an elaborate experiment. What we’re seeing in Solomon’s experience is that fatalism, self-centeredness, religion, and wealth are incapable of bringing real happiness to anyone.
The void that God created in each of us is designed to be filled with only him. We might try to substitute something or someone else. But in the end, true happiness, joy in the midst of difficulties, hope, acceptance, love are the benefits we receive when God alone fills that void.
Solomon’s going to keep experimenting and we are going to go along for the ride in the next couple of days. But my prayer is that we all will take inventory. Have we tried to fill a void in our lives with anything other than God himself?
Lord, reveal any similarities we have to Solomon’s quest. May your people be filled with Jesus only.