Summary: Introductory message for a series through Ecclesiastes
SERIES: “BE SATISFIED”
“IS LIFE WORTH LIVING?”
Three guys are shipwrecked on a deserted island. They’ve been there for quite awhile. One day, a magic lamp washes up on the shore and they find it. One of them begins to rug the lamp and sure enough, out pops a genie.
The genie says that he will grant each one of them a one wish apiece. The first guy says, “I’ve really missed my wife’s’ cooking. I wish I could be back at home ready to eat one of her great meals.” The genie waves his hands and POOF! The man is sitting at the table in his house ready to eat dinner.
The second man says, “I’ve never been married but I really miss my girlfriend. I wish I was on my way to her house to pick her up for a date.” The genie waves his hands and POOF! The second man is driving in his car on the way to pick up his girlfriend for a date.
The third man says, “I’m really glad those guys got what they wanted but I sure do miss them. I wish they were back here with me again.”
Imagine with me this morning that you can have anything that you want. Literally, anything that you can think of to ask for is yours – be it material or spiritual. You want riches, ask for it. You want a long and healthy life? All you have to do is ask. You want a new and better job, go ahead and ask away. The question is, what would you choose?
There once was a man who was asked this very question by God Himself. His name was Solomon and he became king of Israel after his father David had died. Solomon was probably about twenty years old when he was asked this question. 1 Kings 3:5 – At Gibeon the LORD appeared to Solomon during the night in a dream, and God said, “Ask for whatever you want me to give you.”
I’m sure that if I asked for people to come forward this morning and we all shared what we would ask for in this situation, we would all say wonderfully spiritual things: “I’d like to see every person in the world come to know Jesus as Savior and Lord.” “I’d like to see an end to world hunger and the eradication of poverty.”
But in our heart of hearts, wouldn’t we be thinking about how nice it would be have a much higher paying job? Or better yet, enough money where we wouldn’t have to work? Possibly we’d consider a nicer house or a nicer car. Of course, we’d all tithe on the value of the things we received, wouldn’t we?
Do you know what Solomon asked for? Listen as we pick up the story in 1 Kings 3:6-9 – Solomon answered, “You have shown great kindness to your servant, my father David, because he was faithful to you
and righteous and upright in heart. You have continued this great kindness to him and have given him a son to sit on his throne this very day. Now, O LORD my God, you have made your servant king in place of my father
David. But I am only a little child and do not know how to carry out my duties. Your servant is here among the
people you have chosen, a great people, too numerous to count or number. So give your servant a discerning
heart to govern your people and to distinguish between right and wrong. For who is able to govern this great people of yours?”
What was it that Solomon said that he wanted more than anything? Wisdom. 1 Kings 3:10 tells us that God was very pleased with Solomon for choosing wisdom. And because Solomon asked for wisdom, listen to what God said to him: 1 King 3:11-14 – So God said to him, “Since you have asked for this and not for long life or
wealth for yourself, nor have asked for the death of your enemies but for discernment in administering justice, I will do what you have asked. I will give you a wise and discerning heart, so that there will never have been anyone like you, nor will there ever be. Moreover, I will give you what you have not asked for—both riches
and honor—so that in your lifetime you will have no equal among kings. And if you walk in my ways and obey
my statutes and commands as David your father did, I will give you a long life.”
Now let’s flash forward. We’re near the end of Solomon’s life. What sort of life do you think he had? After what you just heard, wouldn’t you expect it to be a full and enjoyable life? If I had been a publisher at the beginning of Solomon’s life, I would have signed him up immediately to write his memoirs. And that book has been written. We call it Ecclesiastes. It is Solomon’s reflections on his life experiences and the lessons that he has learned.