Money, Power and Prestige - all are vanity
“There is an evil which I have seen under the sun, and it is common among men: 2 A man to whom God has given riches and wealth and honour, so that he lacks nothing for himself of all he desires; yet God does not give him power to eat of it, but a foreigner consumes it. This is vanity, and it is an evil affliction.” (NKJV)
One of the main themes of this book is about wealth, possession or money. The human author himself was rich. In his time Solomon was perhaps the riches man alive. Even though we do not know exactly the amount of his wealth in today’s dollars. We know he was just a young man, perhaps in his early 20s when God appeared to him. God asked Solomon if there was anything he wanted. Solomon did not ask for wealth and power, but wisdom. God was so pleased and He gave him riches and power as well (2 Chronicles 1:11-12).
Solomon was given more than what he asked for. I want you to see God’s character here. God understands our limitations when we ask things from Him. If our asking is according to His will and purpose He gives us more. He pours His blessings upon us more than we could imagine. Have you experienced that? Solomon had been blessed with wealth, power, and fame during his time. In the early part of his life, before he was influenced by his pagan wives, God was the centre of his life and in all his projects. He built a magnificent Temple in Jerusalem, extended his empire, he had military and economic power. His fame flourished so much so that even the Queen of Sheba went to visit him.
Solomon was also a man like us, subject to many trials and temptations. Sometimes God allows these things to happen in our lives to develop our character. If we respond in obedience we will be blessed, but if we succumb to temptations there are some negative consequences.
Solomon, perhaps for economic and political and diplomatic purposes, married pagan wives from neighbouring countries. In fact, God gave him some warnings on this issue earlier according to 1 Kings 11:1-8. Look v.4 “For it was so, when Solomon was old, that his wives turned his heart after other gods; and his heart was not loyal to the LORD his God, as was the heart of his father David. Solomon become idolatrous.”
Solomon did compromise his faith in God. His commitment to God was shaken. He did not only marry pagan women, but he went as far as to build temples or a place of worship for their gods according to v.5-8 of 1 Kings Chapter 6. That was an abomination unto the Lord.
In the later part of his life, Solomon came back to God and wrote about the highlights of his experiences: such as his frustration to find meaning in life through money, power, prestige, and marrying godless women. He realised they all were vanity. Life ‘under the sun” was meaningless. Apart from God he realised there is no satisfaction in life, for God has put eternity in the human heart.
Only the Eternal God can satisfy the longing of our hearts. He wrote that! Are you fully satisfied with your life? Consider Jesus’ offer, “whosoever believed shall have everlasting life.” “I came that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” (John 3:16; 10:10b). His grace is sufficient for you! All by grace and by grace alone through faith alone.