Summary: This is the third message in a series from the book of Ecclesiastes that examines Solomon's wisdom in regard to the mistakes that he had made in his life. This message examines how often know the right thing to do but just don't do it.
Dear Diary, I want to do what’s right, I listen to wisdom from others but when it comes to applying it in my life, I fail miserably. Every one of us has at one time or another found ourselves in a situation where we knew the right thing to do and just didn’t do it. It is these times that frustrate us to no end and cause us to consider throwing up our hands and quitting. In our text we meet two individuals, a wise man who lives life with their eye on the future and the fool who is caught up in only living for the moment. The wise man weighs the potential consequences of every decision while the fool only thinks about the here and now. Perhaps, what Solomon is telling us is that there is a difference between fully living and simply existing. The world is crying out live for the moment, don’t worry about tomorrow. Some may say it this way, “You’re only young once so enjoy life.” Your personal philosophy of life plays a major role in determining if you live life or simply just exist. If you truly live life you are conscious of the consequences of the decisions you make now and you seek to glean every bit of wisdom possible from the experiences life throws your way. If you simply exist, you are like the person that is simply living for the weekend. You put your time in during the week so you can party hard and have a good time on the weekend. Solomon was a man who experienced living life as both the wise man and the fool. Today, I would like us to discover the wisdom Solomon’s experience imparts to us on this subject.
I. Solomon often lived as a fool rather than applying wisdom.
A. Solomon frequently ignored the prohibitions God had given for the king of Israel through Moses.
1. 16 The king, moreover, must not acquire great numbers of horses for himself or make the people return to Egypt to get more of them, for the LORD has told you, “You are not to go back that way again.” 17 He must not take many wives, or his heart will be led astray. He must not accumulate large amounts of silver and gold. (Deuteronomy 17:16-17—NIV 2011)
2. 1 Kings 10 tells us that Solomon had 12,000 horses that were imported from Egypt.
3. 1 Kings 11 tells us that Solomon loved many foreign women. 700 wives should definitely be classified as many.
4. With silver being as common as stones and a net worth of over a trillion dollars, Solomon definitely accumulated large amounts of silver and gold.
5. God obviously had a very good reason for setting down such clear prohibitions for the King as He knew centuries before it happened that the people of Israel would ask for a king.
B. Things that Solomon must have considered insignificant will ultimately lead to his failure.
1. It seems as though Solomon invented the concept of wanting more, despite God’s blessing he sought new ways to acquire more and more wealth.
2. Human logic says that it is a good political move to form alliances with foreign countries especially through marriage. What was done to preserve the nation of Israel would ultimately lead to its destruction.
3. Jay Leno has vast amount of cars and motorcycles numbering well beyond 300. Collecting horses and chariots was the ancient equivalent of collecting cars. Solomon’s collection boasted 12,000 horses and 1,400 chariots.
4. Perhaps since God blessed Solomon with this great wealth he felt that it gave him the green light to acquire more and more.
5. These seemingly insignificant things got Solomon in a heap of trouble.
6. The LORD became angry with Solomon because his heart had turned away from the LORD, the God of Israel, who had appeared to him twice. (2 Kings 11:9—NIV 2011)
II. Lessons Solomon learned about life from his experiences.
A. God desires each of us to be mindful of how fragile life is.
1. It is quite a puzzling statement that Solomon makes, “The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning.”
2. What life lessons can be learned by hanging out in a funeral home?
3. God teaches some of the greatest lessons about life when we find ourselves face to face with things that are eternal.
4. This helps one to discover that life upon this earth does not go on forever and one day everyone will exit this life and face their Creator.
5. When the deeper realities of life begin to come to focus, one will find the direction that God desires each human life to travel.
6. The foolish avoid dealing with the realities of life because they contradict the type of lifestyle that they have chosen.