God made Solomon king over Israel and gave him two great gifts. He told Solomon, “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” (1 Kings 3:12-13).

Solomon, more than any man ever, had the means to do whatever he wanted; and he did. He said: “I devoted myself to study and to explore by wisdom all that is done under heaven” (Ecclesiastes 1:12-13).

“I thought in my heart. ‘Come now, I will test you with pleasure to find out what is good. I wanted to see what was worthwhile for men to do under heaven during the few days of their lives. I undertook great projects; I built houses for myself and planted vineyards. I made gardens and parks and planted all kinds of fruit trees in them. I made reservoirs to water groves of flourishing trees. I bought male and female slaves and had other slaves who were born in my house. I owned more herds and flocks that anyone in Jerusalem before me. I amassed silver and gold for myself, and the treasure of kings and provinces. I acquired men and women singers and a harem as well – the delights of the heart of man. I became greater than anyone else in Jerusalem before me. I denied myself nothing my eyes desired: I refused my heart no pleasure. My heart took delight in all my work, and this was the reward for all my labor. Yet when I surveyed all that my hands had done and what I had toiled to achieve, everything was meaningless, a chasing after the wind; nothing was gained under the sun” (Ecclesiastes 2:1, 3-11).

How could a man who did so much feel so unfulfilled at the end?

He concludes his writing with this: “Now all has been heard; here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man” (Ecclesiastes 12:13).

The wisest man ever learned that happiness isn’t found in seeking our own pleasures. A fulfilled life is only found in God. In his words, “Remember your creator in your youth, before the days of trouble come and the years approach when you will say – ‘I find no pleasure in them” (Ecclesiastes 12:1).

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