Summary: We all have it.
HOW’S YOUR “I” PROBLEM?
Introduction: How’s your “I” problem? I don’t have an eye problem. My vision is 20/20 thank you. I used to have a problem but I went from cataracts to contacts. You have an “I” problem! How dare you tell me I have an eye problem. I’m not talking about an “EYE” problem but an “I” problem. You know, it follows “H” and precedes “J”. The “I” problem! We all have it.
Solomon had a severe “I” disease. Thirty times in twenty-six verses he mentions “I”. Let me break this down into five headings and draw an observation with each.
I. I Thought (V. 1)
“Talking to yourself is not always a good idea.” The picture here is Solomon talking to himself. “I thought in my heart.” He suggested to himself. He didn’t seek counsel from other advisors (Prov. 14:1). He didn’t consider his father’s history. He didn’t consult with God. Sometimes we talk ourselves out of doing what is right and talk ourselves into doing what is wrong. Such is Solomon’s case. What did Solomon talk himself into?
A. Pleasure (V. 1-2): He takes a ride down Pleasure Parkway. Along the way he makes three stops.
1. The Playboy Mansion (V. 1): Pleasure is another word for sensual or erotic. He thought lust could satisfy. Solomon became the Hugh Hefner of his day. It didn’t take Him long to find out Internet Porn, T.V Pay Per View’s, sex toys and videos don’t satisfy the soul.
2. Comedy Central (V. 2): Laughter. Solomon found out Saturday Night Live and Mad T.V. are only facades trying to disguise a defiled heart. He’s not against a healthy sense of humor.
3. Jack Daniels Distillery (V. 3): Liquor. Note he is trying to indulge without being consumed. I don’t know any alcoholic who set out to become an alcoholic. Solomon went from the hot tub to the local club to the corner pub. Nothing satisfied.
B. Projects (V. 4): This guy made Donald Trump look like Donald Duck! Note “Houses” are plural. Interestingly enough he never mentioned his greatest feat – the Temple. Also note that word “myself” is mentioned four times. It took Solomon “seven” years to build the Temple but “fourteen” to build his own palace.
C. Possessions (V. 7 and 9): He had to outdo dear old dad. I mean this guy is loaded! Look at V. 8 - Harem. Solomon had 1,000 women available to him at any time. (Guys, this is not the time to elbow your wife.) Look at I Kings 11:3. They turned his heart away from the Lord.
Glance at verses 10-11. Nothing satisfied. What do you do after the party’s over? You pick up the broken pieces and shattered lives.
II. I Turned (V. 12)
“Changing your course doesn’t automatically mean you’re going in the right
A. His Determination (V. 12-14): Wisdom wins but in the end both the wise and foolish die. Life is not always fair – get used to it.
B. His Meditation (V. 15):
C. His Frustration (V. 16): Such is the case of “under the sun and without the Son” living. Without God, life is empty and meaningless.
III. I Hated (V. 17)
“Wrong pursuits only lead to bitter disappointments.”
He is utterly disgusted. Note the word “meaningless” is used four times here.
Also note the words “I must leave” (V. 18, 21, 26). There are no “U-hauls” in heaven.
IV. I See (V. 24-25)
“Life without God is empty.” Unless God is in the middle of it, it’s meaningless.
There is one more “I” to deal with. Dr. Ed Young in his book Been There, Done That, Now What? Poses a very interesting thought here. This “I” is not found in the text, but it can certainly be implied at this point. I call this:
V. I Wonder
“If Jesus spoke to us today what would He say?”
If Jesus audibly spoke to Solomon, Hugh Hefner or you and me, what would He
say? Listen to Young’s take:
A. I Am Hurt! I am hurt that you have such great potential and yet you are wasting it on misdirected desires. I’m hurt that you are headed down a road that won’t satisfy.
B. I Am Sorry! I’m sorry you are trying to cover a wound that has never healed. I’m sorry that you have such a distorted view of Me. I’m not a killjoy. I only want the best for you.
C. I Understand Don’t believe it? Read Hebrews 2:17-18. I don’t excuse what you do but I do understand.
D. I Will Help I offer you unconditional love – no questions asked. I offer you “Me”.
Conclusion: “The ‘eyes’ of the Lord are in every place beholding both the evil and the good.” He’s the only cure for our “I” problem!