In this sermon, we look at the 9th and final identity trap: Solomon aimed for satisfaction through possessions.
King Solomon was one of three great kings who ruled over Israel. King Solomon’s story is a fascinating and cautionary tale. The story begins fairly well and things seem to be going so great, but then Solomon kind of goes off the deep end and everything starts to fall apart. It’s only at the end of his life, when Solomon looks back on all his mistakes, that he begins to see life clearly.
They say, “It’s good to learn from your own mistakes, it’s better to learn from the mistakes of others.” Solomon made some big mistakes, so there’s a lot we can learn from him. We’ll look at his life in three parts:
1) Solomon’s Ascent: In the beginning, Solomon looked to the Lord for the good life.
Solomon became King when he was just 20 years old, and he loved the Lord. He walked in the statutes of David his father, following his example and counsel.
There was on only one small problem: Solomon sacrificed and made offerings to the Lord, not at the Tabernacle, but at the high places, like the pagan neighboring kings did. Solomon is worshipping the right God, but he’s doing so in the wrong way.
Solomon knew his limitations. He knew how much he needed God. And so, he asked for divine wisdom to lead his people into a good and prosperous future. If he was to be a good king, Solomon knew he needed his Good God to be with him every step of the way. Solomon began in humble dependence on God’s grace.
2) Solomon’s Demise: In the middle, Solomon ran after satisfaction through possessions.
Under Solomon’s wise leadership, Israel grew in peace and prosperity. And as the treasury’s resources grew, Solomon began building. He began by building a glorious temple for the Lord in Jerusalem. It took 7 years to build. He then built himself a glorious palace, which took 13 years to build.
Solomon’s wealth and prosperity continue to compound. All of his wildest dreams have come true! But he doesn’t see the danger in it all.
Instead of looking to the Lord for the good life, as he had in the beginning, Solomon is now looking for happiness in all the stuff this life can offer. He’s gaining the whole world and losing his soul.
Solomon had asked God for wisdom to govern his people. But Solomon had forgotten to apply that wisdom to the governance of himself. And everything he’d built began to crumble.
3) Solomon’s Wisdom: In the end, Solomon realized God alone can satisfy.
The book of Ecclesiastes is written from Solomon’s perspective at the end of his life, looking back over the collapse of his dreams. Having ascended to the pinnacle of wealth and prosperity, and having it all crumble away, he realized that it’s all empty vanity.
Like trying to chase down the wind, happiness was elusive. As soon as he reached it, it slipped between his fingers and was gone.
All his years of endless searching led him back home to the One he was made for, to the Satisfier of his soul, to his Heavenly Father who loves to give good gifts to his beloved children.
Takeaway: Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
1 Kings and Ecclesiastes