Summary: The message examines Solomon as he reflects upon his life toward the end of his days.
In preparation for this message I decided to Google the phrase, “If only I had it all to do over again” and needless to say, I was amazed by the results. The search yielded 47 million results in a fraction of a second, 0.12 to be exact. After some moments of reflection the amazement started to wear off as the reality began to set in. The evidence is overwhelming that the vast majority of people live their lives with regret. In fact each of us live our lives with regrets over things we have done or the things we did not do that we should have done. It seems that the older we get the more pronounced those regrets are. Scattered throughout those precious memories are the memories of things that we wish we could do all over again. It is these regrets that tarnish those so called golden years. If you are really honest, I am sure that you can find several things that you wish you had the opportunity to do all over again. As Solomon reached those golden years he was not able to relax and enjoy the fruits of his labor. He was forced to deal with the guilt from wasted years of waywardness and rebellion. As he reflects on those years spent pursuing self indulgent pleasures he soon discovers that all he really has left is the painful memories of his unfaithfulness to God. Today we are going to turn to the book of Ecclesiastes and take a look at another entry from Solomon’s diary. As we explore this entry we will discover the valuable lessons we can learn from Solomon.
I. Let’s catch one final glimpse of Solomon’s sunset years.
A. As Solomon’s days are winding down there were three glaring reminders of his defiance.
1. Three men positioned by God serve as a constant reminder of Solomon’s unfaithfulness: Hadad from Edom, Rezon from Damascus and Jeroboam who was one of Solomon’s own officials.
2. Solomon rather than bowing humbly before the will of God and accepting God’s discipline as David had, Solomon tries to prevent God’s judgment from happening.
3. Although his forty year reign was a golden era of peace for Israel, as Solomon’s life winds down the clouds of judgment are gathering and quickly closing in on him.
4. In one sense, Solomon’s reign had begun a new era, for he had built the temple and so transformed the worship and life of the nation. But in another sense, he brought an era to an end; because of his own disobedience he was the last king to rule over all the Israelite tribes.
B. The royal annals of Solomon contained a more complete record of the events surrounding his administration, but the account recorded in Scripture is God’s inspired message, given for the instruction and benefit of the reader.
1. Solomon left a big mark in history. His memory and fame live on. He represents the first stage in the fulfillment of the Davidic covenant.
2. The amazing thing is that despite all his faults Solomon still foreshadows the coming of Christ the true Son of David.
3. In addition his inspired words of wisdom as recorded in Scripture have challenged, taught, and inspired men throughout the ages.
4. Solomon’s father, David, is the ideal standard. Solomon is the king who took Yahweh’s blessings and made them a curse.
5. For God’s people in exile, the story of this king’s tragic reign explains why they had been abandoned and, at the same time, offers hope that Yahweh may be their savior once more.
II. Solomon’s regrets and advise to his younger readers.
A. God will hold each person accountable for the way they live their lives.
1. A person should walk in the ways of his “heart,” satisfy the longings of the heart. One may follow the inclinations of a heart which is rooted in the fear of God for it will assuredly desire what is right.
2. The exhortation to follow one’s inclinations does not endorse the reckless following of every impulse. Awareness of divine judgment turns the pursuit of joy away from crossing over into sin.
3. This statement emphasizes, not the restrictions which godly morality places upon the life, but the broad areas which are thrown open for human enjoyment.
4. God will bring judgment on those who refuse to enjoy life. God holds individuals accountable for failing to enjoy life because God has given enjoyment as a gift to those who fear Him.
5. In these few verses, divine judgment is “not a corrective but an incentive” for making the most of life.
6. In order to experience the enjoyment of life, you must eliminate anxiety from your heart and cast off the troubles of your body. Anxiety and trouble are the two greatest enemies of joy.