Solomon's Grief

"For in much wisdom is much grief:
and he that increaseth knowledge increaseth sorrow."
( Eccl. 1:18)

If anyone ever was qualified to speak of things pertaining to wisdom or knowledge, I would have to say that Solomon, the ancient king of Israel, would be a likely candidate. For the Scriptures tell us that God appeared unto Solomon in a dream and gave him this promise: "Lo, I have given thee a wise and an understanding heart; so that there was none like thee before thee, neither after thee shall any arise like unto thee" (I Ki. 3:12).

The wisdom that God bestowed upon Solomon had nothing to do with human intellect or education, though unquestionably he possessed a high degree of these things also. The wisdom that he received from Heaven however, was a wisdom that could not be learned in earthly institutions. Actually it was a capacity to see things as God sees them: the ability, in other words, to see things as they really are; not according to manís opinion, but according to divine truth. For this was the wisdom he needed, in order to execute righteous judgment among Godís people of Israel, over whom God had appointed him king.

Solomon's Magnificence

But before we think any more on the wisdom of Solomon, I would like to consider some of the other aspects of his truly magnificent life. When God appeared to him with the promise of wisdom, He included something more to go along with it: "and I will give thee riches, and wealth, and honour, such as none of the kings have had that have been before thee, neither shall there any after thee have the like" (II Chron. 1:12). And He wasnít joking.

Solomon's set income alone was more than thirty tons of gold per year, "BESIDE that which he had of the merchantmen, and of the traffic of the spice merchants, and of all the kings of Arabia, and of the governors of the country" (I Ki. 10:14,15). We are also informed that he had a navy, which every three years came from foreign lands, "bringing [him] gold, and silver, ivory, and apes, and peacocks" (I Ki. 10:22). All of his drinking vessels were of gold, for silver we are told, "was not anything accounted of in the days of Solomon" (II Chron. 9:20). In fact, the scripture says that silver was of no more worth to Solomon than stones (II Chron. 9:27). His throne of ivory overlaid with pure gold was the most elaborate throne of any king in the world (II Chron. 9:17-19). In short, he was quite possibly the wealthiest man in the history of the world.

Concerning his authority and dominion, the Bible tells us: "And Solomon reigned over all kingdoms from the [Euphrates] river unto the land of the Philistines, and unto the border of Egypt: They brought presents, and served Solomon all the days of his life" (I Ki. 4:21). This is to say that he had rule over a goodly portion of the existing world at that time.

The scripture says that "his fame was in all nations round about" (I Ki. 4:31). And consider this profound statement regarding the degree of honour, admiration, and prestige that he attained unto: "And ALL THE KINGS of the earth sought the presence of Solomon, to hear his wisdom, that God had put in his heart. And they brought every man his present, vessels of silver, and vessels of gold, and raiment, harness, and spices, horses and mules, a rate year by year" (II Chron. 9:23,24).

He was continually supplied with an abundance of the finest foods available to choose from (I Ki. 4:22,23). His dress and wardrobe was so marvelous that Jesus Himself referred to him as a gloriously arrayed man (Mat. 6:28,29). He also "had seven hundred wives, princesses, and three hundred concubines" (I Ki. 11:3); all of which I'm sure were elegant, beautiful and charming. I'm certain that he himself was also of superb physical features, for the Bible describes both his father and his mother as being such (I Sam. 16:12; II Sam. 11:2-4).

And everyone knows that tales of greatness and impressiveness are always exaggerated after being carried through many channels. But consider the reaction of the queen of Sheba, after having heard of the fame of Solomon, and traveling to Jerusalem to prove whether the stories were true or not. So overwhelming was his wisdom, his wealth, his kingdom, indeed his very manner of being, that she said: "It was a true report that I heard in my own land of thy acts and of thy wisdom. Howbeit I believed not the words, until I came, and mine eyes had seen it: and, behold THE HALF was not told me: thy wisdom and prosperity EXCEEDETH the fame which I heard" (I Ki. 10:6,7). In truth, God made Solomon so great that it simply could not be exaggerated.

Time and space will not allow us to continue with this inadequate description of the majestic grandeur of Solomon's unparalleled life in this world, except to say that his faculty of government produced one of the most efficient and prosperous kingdoms of all time, and that "he had peace on all sides round about him" (I Ki. 4:24). Oh, how staggering it is to really think on the vast variety of greatness that God endowed this man with! He truly had and was everything that anyone could ever hope to have or be, and much, much more!

The Reason For His Grief

Now the new testament scriptures inform us that the old testament scriptures were written for our learning ( Rom. 15:4). So what is the point of all of this about Solomonís magnificence? For the answer, let us now go back to where we began. In our text scripture we see that Solomon declared: "in much wisdom is much grief: and he that increaseth knowledge increaseth sorrow" (Eccl. 1:18). Realizing that his godly wisdom was truly a vision of reality, superseding the common vision of appearances, let us take account of his sermon recorded in the book of Ecclesiastes: "The words of the Preacher (Solomon), the son of David, king in Jerusalem. Vanity of vanities, saith the Preacher, vanity of vanities; ALL is vanity" (Eccl. 1:1,2).

Now in order to understand the powerful and sobering message of the book of Ecclesiastes, one must realize that the word "vanity," as used in the Bible, does not have the same meaning that is commonly associated with the word in this day and time. Vanity, in the book of Ecclesiastes, is translated to mean "emptiness," "unsatisfactory," or "transitory" (passing away without continuance). So when Solomon made the statement "ALL is vanity," what he actually was saying was that nothing of this world is permanent (eternal), therefore nothing of this world can possibly provide lasting satisfaction for the heart of man.

In graphic illustration of this point, he describes in Ecclesiastes 2:1-9 some of the splendor and glory that constituted his lifestyle. Then he went on to proclaim: "Then I looked on all the works that my hands had wrought, and on the labour that I had laboured to do: and, behold ALL was vanity and vexation of spirit, and there was NO PROFIT under the sun" (Eccl. 2:11). Praise God, how I feel the exclamation point of God's Spirit in this emphatic statement of truth! The phrase "vexation of spirit," used here by Solomon, is translated from the Hebrew language, and actually means "the pursuit of wind." Oh dear reader, I hope and pray that you feel something of what I'm feeling this very moment. Can you see that the Spirit of the living God earnestly desires for us to realize that true happiness and fulfillment of life can never, ever be realized by the pursuit and attainment of any earthly state or substance? We have no more hope of filling our lives with rich, lasting peace and joy, by earthly endeavors and accomplishments, than we have of capturing the wind and storing it in a bottle.

Truly Solomon's inescapable grief and sorrow was due to his keen and constant awareness concerning the emptiness and dissatisfaction of all possible achievements and attainments of this world. He had done it all, like no one had ever done it before, or will ever do it again. He had BEEN it all like no one ever could or ever would again, but he found that his heart was yet unfulfilled. The void, the longing for satisfaction was still there, and his clear vision of reality would not allow him to think it wasnít so!

Because he had found ALL of his success, ALL of his wealth, ALL of his fame, ALL of his honour, ALL of his women; indeed ALL of EVERYTHING to be lacking in enduring substance, he came to this conclusion: "Therefore I HATED LIFE; because the work that is wrought under the sun (i.e. anything and everything) is grievous unto me: for all is vanity and vexation of spirit" (Eccl. 2:17). My goodness, how I feel the honesty, the wisdom, the power, just pulsating from this profound statement of truth and reality!

The Remedy For Vanity

So then, what hope is there for us? If EVERYTHING is futile, then what's the use? What is there to live for? Is there an answer of peace? Yes, thank God there is! The truth is, everything WAS vain and empty at the time Solomon was living, but not now. Now everything is vain and empty except for ONE thing, that being the one thing that was not available to Solomon or anyone else who lived in old testament times: the soul cleansing power of God - the blessed ETERNAL SPIRIT!

You see, my friend, Jesus came to this world and endured great suffering, ultimately giving up His life to the most cruel death known to man at that time, in order to make a way for the void in the hearts of all mankind to be filled. We are told in I Corinthians 15:22 that "in Adam all die...;" meaning that all of mankind has been severed from the fellowship of God because of Adamís disobedience. That deep void in the inner being, which is experienced by all, and acknowledged by those who are honest enough with themselves to acknowledge it, is the result of that severed union with our Maker.

Because of Adamís sin we were all born under bondage to sin and death. But Jesus has made available to us the means by which we can conquer both of these enemies (Romans 5:12-19). John the Baptist, who was appointed by God to introduce Jesus to Israel, informed the people of the purpose of Jesus' mission here on earth. The core of his message was as follows: "Repent ye, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand...There cometh one mightier than I after me, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to stoop down and unloose. I indeed have baptized you with water; BUT HE SHALL BAPTIZE YOU WITH THE HOLY GHOST" (Mat. 3:2; Mk. 1:7,8).

Jesus could not baptize anyone with the holy Ghost while He was yet on Earth (John 16:7; Jn. 7:37-39). But after He had fulfilled His work here, and had risen from the dead, He gave these final crucial instructions to His followers before ascending into Heaven: He commanded them to remain in Jerusalem and "wait for the promise of the Father...for John truly baptized with water; BUT YE SHALL BE BAPTIZED WITH THE HOLY GHOST not many days hence" (Acts 1:4,5). Without question these instructions were given, to the intent that those who believed on Him would not miss the entire point of all that He had done. 

Several days later, after following Jesus' instructions, about a hundred and twenty people "were all filled (baptized) with the holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance" (Acts 2:4). Yes dear one, these were the very first to receive this glorious experience which had come to mankind by means of such great cost.

The baptism of the holy Ghost, which is always evidenced by speaking with other tongues as the Spirit gives the utterance, is the very heartbeat of the Gospel. It very plainly IS the gospel experience. Period. "For BY ONE SPIRIT are we ALL baptized into one body" (I Cor. 12:13). In other words, without this unchangeable experience, we cannot possibly be a member of the true Congregation of God; because ONLY BY THIS EXPERIENCE can we have our sins washed away, be put in right standing with God, and be made a new creature in Christ (I Cor. 6:11; II Cor. 5:17).

The Conclusion Of The Whole Matter

In reality friend, this is the only experience in existence that can fill that lacking, or void, within the heart and soul of all mankind. The soul of man was made to be in fellowship with God, and the true spirit baptism is the means by which we are reconciled unto Him. It is in fact, the infusion of divine, eternal life into the hearts of those who receive it. Jesus described it as a "well of water" inside of us, "springing up into everlasting life" (Jn. 4:14). Isaiah, in prophecy, called it a rest and refreshing for the wearied soul (Isa. 28:11,12).

Let me say, dear reader, that this experience, which can only be received by repentance from sin, and faith toward Jesus Christ, is very real and powerful, for it translates our inner man into the heavenly kingdom of God (John 3:5; Eph. 2:6). You see, the holy Ghost is the very eternal life substance that indwells both the Father and the Son. Without it, the Bible tells us, we "are none of His" (Rom. 8:9).

What about you friend? Have you found, that regardless of what you accomplish or have, there still seems to be something missing in your life? Are you able to acknowledge, as Solomon did, that the things of this world have failed to provide lasting satisfaction to your heart and soul? Wouldnít you like to possess the love, joy and peace that transcends all that can be imagined? It is yours for the having, if you are willing to meet Godís terms. Forsake all that you know to be wrong, and seek after Him with all of your heart; and Jesus will gladly receive you, and fill you as youíve never been filled before. I guarantee it! (Amos 5:14; Jer. 29:13)

In closing, I want to say, that if you have received this experience, but have lost the joy and peace that you once had; your heavenly Father will be glad to do for you what He once did, if you will only do again for Him what you once did. Amen.

If you would like to learn more about this experience, please contact us. We want very much for you to have what we know to be the most wonderful thing available to mankind. You will not be put on a mailing list, nor will you be asked for monetary contribution to this ministry. May God bless you and yours. Amen.

"For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, ..."
(I Cor.12:13)

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