King Solomon’s Trouble: Emptiness
I felt very puzzled every time I read the Book of Ecclesiastes; it says: “I sought in my heart to give myself to wine, yet acquainting my heart with wisdom; and to lay hold on folly, till I might see what was that good for the sons of men, which they should do under the heaven all the days of their life. I made me great works; I built me houses; I planted me vineyards: I made me gardens and orchards, and I planted trees in them of all kind of fruits: I made me pools of water, to water therewith the wood that brings forth trees” (Ecclesiastes 2:3-6), and “Then I looked on all the works that my hands had worked, and on the labor that I had labored to do: and, behold, all was vanity and vexation of spirit, and there was no profit under the sun” (Ecclesiastes 2:11). Acclaimed as the king of wisdom, Solomon was filled with wisdom bestowed upon him by Jehovah God and possessed enviable wealth. Then he should have been well contented, but why did he not only not have joy but even said the words “I have seen all the works that are done under the sun; and, behold, all is vanity and vexation of spirit” (Ecclesiastes 1:14)? Could it be that such an abundance of material comforts were not able to bring him the spiritual satisfaction?
Only after I read God’s words did I come to know that what man really needs is not material enjoyment. God’s words say: “For without the guidance of God, no matter how much rulers and sociologists wrack their brains to preserve human civilization, it is to no avail. No one can fill the emptiness in man’s heart, for no one can be the life of man, and no social theory can free man from the emptiness with which he is afflicted” (“God Presides Over the Fate of All Mankind”).
“The sentence ‘is Lord even of the sabbath day’ tells people that God’s everything is immaterial, and although God can provide all of your material needs, once all of your material needs have been met, can the satisfaction from these things replace your pursuit of truth? That is clearly not possible! God’s disposition and what He has and is that we have fellowshiped about are both the truth. It cannot be measured with the heavy price of material objects nor can its value be quantified with money, because it is not a material object, and it supplies the needs of each and every person’s heart. For every person, the value of these intangible truths should be greater than the value of any material things you think are nice, right? This statement is something you need to linger over. The key point of what I’ve said is that what God has and is and God’s everything are the most important things for every single person and they cannot be replaced by any material object. … what comes from God, what He has and is, and His everything are greater than any other thing, including the thing or the person you once believed you treasured most. That is to say, if a person cannot have words from the mouth of God or they do not understand His will, they cannot gain peace” (“God’s Work, God’s Disposition, and God Himself III”).
Man was created by God. What we need the most is the life supply of God and the guidance of God. If we creatures depart from the Creator, which is just like the branch separating from the trunk, we will wither away gradually, our life will ebb out little by little, and we will die eventually. So, for every one of us, the supply of life and spirit from God cannot be substituted by any material object, money, or any person we love.
From the story of Solomon, I deeply appreciated that if we lose God’s provision of life to us, then no matter how lofty and tough we are, we are still powerless. Without God’s provision of life, we will wither; apart from God, we will accomplish nothing. Therefore, knowing God and receiving the supply of life from God is of the utmost importance to us created beings.
When Solomon was young, he sincerely relied on Jehovah God, and Jehovah God made him become the wealthiest and wisest king, but he did not know God. Though he spoke many words of wisdom, he didn’t truly gain the way of God; though he had gotten a great deal of material enjoyment, he finally found that everything was vanity and vexation of spirit. Isn’t the trouble of Solomon also that of all people in this world?
Apparently, no matter what circumstances we are in—whether we possess untold wealth and enjoy the material benefits that others cannot enjoy, live a peaceful and happy life, or are suffering pains—if we haven’t gained the truth and life from God and have no knowledge of the Creator, then everything of us will be nothing in the end.
No wonder the Book of Proverbs says: “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding” (Proverbs 9:10).