Solomon, in all his wisdom, struggled with finding and embracing the core truth that could give meaning to all the apparent absurdities of life. With unlimited resources, he pursued every type of pleasure, and even the pursuit of wisdom. In the end, Solomon found all such pursuits “vanity and chasing after wind” i.e. in and of themselves, they had no eternal value and in the end were pointless.
“So I came to hate life because everything done here under the sun is so troubling. Everything is meaningless—like chasing the wind.” (Eccles. 2:17)
David (Solomon’s father) wrote the 23rd Psalm. David’s experience and perspective stands in stark contrast to the words of Solomon. Where Solomon struggled to find meaning in the pursuit of pleasure and purpose, his father David pursued with his whole heart to know the Person from whom all meaning comes.
- Where Solomon said to himself, “Come now, I will test you with pleasure; enjoy yourself.”
- His father David concludes, “The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not be in want.”
- Solomon says, “Then I considered all that my hands had done and the toil I had expended in doing it, and behold, all was vanity and a striving after wind, and there was nothing to be gained under the sun.”
- David in contrast, through his personal relationship with God, experiences‘(lying) down in green pastures and being led beside still waters.’
- Where Solomon came to ‘hate his life’, David’s ‘soul is being restored.’
- Solomon “turned about and gave (his) heart up to despair”, while David was being ‘comforted by the rod and staff of his Shepherd.’
- Solomon asks, “So what do people get in this life for all their hard work and anxiety?” and He concludes, “Their days of labor are filled with pain and grief; even at night their minds cannot rest. It is all meaningless.”
- David confidently states, “Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.”
I’ve experienced both the frustration of Solomon and the peace of David. I’ve grasped for things I thought would fulfill, only to be reminded time and again, that that which fills completely is given freely.
Lord, you are my Shepherd, there is nothing I need apart from you, nothing I desire more than you. You and you alone are the answer to life’s purpose. Amen.