Posted by: davidbowerkingwood | October 26, 2015

Do You Want to be Happy?

What Would You Do With $100,000,000,000?

It has been estimated that King Solomon would have a net worth of around $100,000,000,000 in today’s dollars; that is two and one half times the value of Bill Gates net worth.

I suspect that many of us at some point in our lives have wondered what it would be like to have a huge amount of money; what we would have, how we would live, how we would be treated; these flights of fancy may come but are soon forgotten as reality reasserts itself.

In the Book of Ecclesiastes we have the opportunity to read a first hand account from someone who has had that kind of wealth; from King Solomon himself as he writes in Ecclesiastes 1:1-11:

These are the words of the Teacher, King David’s son, who ruled in Jerusalem.

“Everything is meaningless,” says the Teacher, “completely meaningless!”

What do people get for all their hard work under the sun? Generations come and generations go, but the earth never changes. The sun rises and the sun sets, then hurries around to rise again.The wind blows south, and then turns north. Around and around it goes, blowing in circles.Rivers run into the sea, but the sea is never full. Then the water returns again to the rivers and flows out again to the sea. Everything is wearisome beyond description. No matter how much we see, we are never satisfied. No matter how much we hear, we are not content.

History merely repeats itself. It has all been done before. Nothing under the sun is truly new.10 Sometimes people say, “Here is something new!” But actually it is old; nothing is ever truly new.11 We don’t remember what happened in the past, and in future generations, no one will remember what we are doing now.”

Wow, that does not sound like a happy camper; where has all of the fulfillment, contentment, and happiness gone that great wealth is supposed to provide? How has someone with $100,000,000,000 managed to miss the boat?

Do you think there is possibly a lesson there for the rest of us? Can it be that wealth does not guarantee those qualities of life everyone seeks?

 In the Final Analysis What Does Solomon Learn?

In the final chapter of Ecclesiastes King Solomon provides his summary of life where in Chapter 12, verses 13-14 he writes:

13 That’s the whole story. Here now is my final conclusion: Fear God and obey his commands, for this is everyone’s duty. 14 God will judge us for everything we do, including every secret thing, whether good or bad.”

Do you see the prominence Solomon places on obedience and the parallels between Solomon’s conclusions and the last words he received from his father, David? Solomon was notoriously disobedient and paid a terrible price both individually and as the national leader of Israel; his disobedience caused Israel to pay a severe price as well as it reeled from the repercussions of Solomon’s disobedience.

Is There a Lesson For Us?

In 1 Samuel 15 we find the story of King Saul who is sent on a mission by God with specific instructions on what to do. Sadly, King Saul decides to disobey God and on his return is told by the prophet Samuel that God is not pleased with what he has done.

“22 But Samuel replied: “Does the Lord delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the Lord? To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams.”

Here again we see obedience surfacing as the preferred response to God; are you beginning to see a priority being established here? Now you just might ask yourself how faithfully do you follow God’s commands? If you’re being honest with yourself I believe you would have to say, “Not so good.” Just in case you have any lingering doubt in your mind about your track record on obedience just remember Romans 14:23b which tells us that everything that is not of faith is sin and sin is a failure to be obedient to God’s commands.

In Matthew 28:18-20 the Lord gives us His “Great Commission” and one of the key parts occurs in verse 20:

18 Jesus came and told his disciples, “I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth.19 Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. 20 Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”

I draw your attention to the words, “Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you.” In the Great Commission obedience is important; do you practice obedience much less teach it? In your own mind can you say you are obedient to all the commands we have been given?

God’s Help for His Disobedient Children

After Christ died for our sins on the cross the situation changed; those of us who have Christ as our Savior have been freed from all condemnation. All of our disobedience, past, present, and future, have been covered by the shed blood of Christ and as I mentioned before, we shine with the resplendent virtue of the Lord Jesus Christ before the Father.

The remaining factor now is quality of life and service for the Christian; do we share in the blessings God wants for His children by living a Spirit led life? Do we practice obedience and teach obedience to other Christians? The fruit of the Spirit, as described in Galatians 5:22-25 includes all of those blessings that Solomon hoped to find in his extravagant wealth but was frustrated and disappointed by his failure to find them; these blessings are ours when we keep in step with the Spirit.

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. 24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.”

Do Not Make Solomon’s Mistake

When reading about the life of Solomon it becomes clear that Solomon focused entirely too much of his attention on the creation rather than the creator. He accumulated a vast amount of the creation for his own personal use and seemed to forget the creator that made all things.

The world hammers on all of us relentlessly to do the same thing; let material possessions dominate our lives, our hopes and our dreams. I can promise you that if you let this happen you will get the same results Solomon did, ““Everything is meaningless, completely meaningless!””

The Spirit Led Life

Our creator God knows us perfectly and loves us with a perfect love; in His love, mercy, and grace, He has provided for His children the very things that Solomon and everyone else who has ever lived searches for all of their life if only they will heed His word. These are the qualities available to all who will let the Holy Spirit control in their lives and is described in Galatians 5:22-25 where it is written:

22 But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!

24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed the passions and desires of their sinful nature to his cross and crucified them there. 25 Since we are living by the Spirit, let us follow the Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives.”

When we focus on the creator rather than the creation we are responding to true reality in a manner that will have eternal benefits.

Only obedience to God can open the door to the qualities of life the world cannot provide!

Next time we will take another look at the true nature of reality.


Responses

  1. great newsletter pastor David.remember my parents and my nieces back in Kisii,it is heavily raining(ELI nino) and is predicted to rain until JANUARY 2016.it a week since it started.

    Like


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