“I made myself great works. I built myself houses. I planted myself vineyards.”
Solomon the wisest of kings, decides to use his fabulous resources to set himself up in a comfortable life and have pleasures and comforts to support his psyche. He is going to investigate to see if they satisfy him and bring him a sense of wholeness and fulfilment as a person.
He built a city, numerous houses and palace, vineyards and places of entertainment. He took to himself many wives and spared himself no good thing. He even built the temple in Jerusalem to the glory of God and for the exaltation of the people of God.
He must have given jobs to many people and helped his people in the process of building the great works. It would have taken significant time and effort to build all his designs, but he did so, and we today still cannot work out all his inventions and devices for the building and upkeep of his great cities, buildings and gardens.
It is hard to imagine the heights and majesty of the opulence at that time. Great blessing ensued from the hand of Solomon. What is was like for him to live that way, we can only guess. There must have been much enjoyment, but much stress also. Solomon would have seen a lot of futility in this period of his life, and much heartache, brought on by the complexity of his family situation, and he was to find that the things of this life do not satisfy us. This is why we have this record of his life and thought processes in the Holy Scripture.
Error was brought into his realm by the wives he married and brought in from other cultures and belief systems. All this would have infiltrated into the household and the wider nation as well. Solomon brought blessing but also cursing because he was a fallen person, just like everyone else. He was wise, but he also entertained folly.
There was plenty of things for enjoyment, as in the vineyards. Solomon spared himself nothing but lived a life of plenty with opulent pleasures and entertainments. He had a life to be jealous of and surpassed by no one else. Servants to wait on him, and no difficulty that couldn’t be overcome with the riches he possessed. He could have anything he wanted and more. At this point he is having a good time and enjoying all his projects and things that riches and his influence could buy. He is reaping the reward of the wisdom, which has made him famous and a sought after counsellor for the rich and famous. Queens and kings come to visit him. His people bring insoluble problems, which he is able to decipher and find answers to. His reputation is monumental and his fame spreads far and wide.
And yet, it all did not satisfy him. His life became empty and full of the deepest sorrow. Depression and apathy dogged his footsteps and there was no one to comfort or counsel him. He is lost in his own mind and earthly riches. It takes him eleven chapters of his life to uncover the reason for the futility. We need the Lord. Without the Creator there is no point in any of it.
This is the outcome of Solomon’s magnificent life, which he lived and recorded for us, for our benefit. This was his ministry to us. This was his sacrifice – to live the emptiest of his days, so we could learn from his mighty wisdom. We thank God for this His servant and learn the lessons well.