554: Solomon’s Life: “Stupid Is as Stupid Does”
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Don’t Fall in the Same Hole Twice
In the first chapter of Ecclesiastes, Solomon, once the wisest man who ever lived, tells us how he really feels about life. He says, “Vanity of vanities, all is vanity” (Eccl. 1:2). Or, all of life is meaningless, useless, pointless, of no real value, and a colossal waste of time. And so is everything a man does or builds while he lives his life on earth. Solomon continues, “What profit has a man from all his labor in which he toils under the sun?” (Eccl. 2:3). Really? Sounds a bit selfish and narcissistic to me. How about you?
But it gets worse for Solomon by the time we get to chapter two.
In chapter two, Solomon tries to find his purpose, not in serving the Lord as he did when he was a young man, but in gratifying his flesh in every way imaginable, making all of life about him. And he knew his plan of trying to find the meaning of life in fleshly pleasure would lead to nothing, yet he continued anyway. Why? Maybe, “Stupid is as stupid does.”
I said in my heart, “Come now, I will test you with mirth; therefore enjoy pleasure”; but surely, this also was vanity (meaningless, pointless, futile, of no lasting value). I said of laughter—”Madness!”; and of mirth, “What does it accomplish?” – Ecclesiastes 2:1-2.
But Solomon continued on this road to destruction anyway. Why? Especially when he was once the wisest man who ever lived. My, how the mighty have fallen.
Whatever (kōl) my eyes desired (strong desire, lust) I did not keep from them. I did not withhold my heart from any (kōl) pleasure (sensory, fleshly, the experience of pleasure), for my heart rejoiced in all my labor (trouble, toil, sorrow, painful work, the hardships of life); and this (the experience of sensory, fleshly pleasure) was my reward from all my labor (trouble, toil, sorrow, painful work, the hardships of life) – Ecclesiastes 2:10.
Solomon practiced zero self restraint. He had no discernment of good or evil desires. Solomon did not refuse himself anything. He embraced unhindered lusts. And what resulted from Solomon’s plunge into self-absorbed sin?
Then I looked (contemplated, considered) on all the works that my hands had done (what I had created, built, composed, produced, accomplished through effort) and on the labor (trouble, toil, sorrow, painful work, the hardships of life) in which I had toiled (to exert oneself, to work hard); and indeed all (work, toil, labor, pleasure, fulfilling lusts, etc.) was vanity (emptiness, meaningless, pointless, weariness, having no value or significance, futile, transitory, breath or vapor) and grasping for the wind. There was no profit (benefit, advantage, gain) under the sun (living life on the earth) – Ecclesiastes 2:11.
Uh, “Stupid is as stupid does.”
It’s Not Too Late to Turn Around, Solomon
When you read the rest of this chapter, you will begin to experience the depth of Solomon’s despair. He is running, as fast and far as his legs will carry him, away from the God of his youth, towards something that crumbles over time. He is exchanging the glory of the Lord for a mirage, an image of happiness that is only a vapor. And Solomon knows this, yet he continues to run anyway.
Let’s see what we can learn from watching Solomon implode.
Note, it has been a long time since Solomon has had an intimate relationship with His Lord. He, like many of us, has tried to fill the void in his life with sensual pleasure, wealth, entertainment, and becoming a workaholic, hoping to once again feel what he did when God was close. So, it is not surprising he comes to a carnal, fleshly conclusion about the meaning of life and then tries to justify it by saying God ordained it for him.
Sin has an amazing ability to make armchair prophets and theologians of those who are trying to justify their carnality, just like Solomon. This is not the wisdom of God, but the wisdom of man. It is nothing more than justifying the lusts of the flesh.
And the lessons from Solomon’s life? Simply this: Don’t be like Solomon. Be like Christ. And leave, as fast as you can, the lukewarm spiritual life of Laodicea far behind.