8 I amassed silver and gold for myself, and the treasure of kings and provinces. I acquired male and female singers, and a harem as well—the delights of a man’s heart.
9 I became greater by far than anyone in Jerusalem before me. In all this my wisdom stayed with me.
10 I denied myself nothing my eyes desired; I refused my heart no pleasure. My heart took delight in all my labor, and this was the reward for all my toil.
11 Yet when I surveyed all that my hands had done and what I had toiled to achieve, everything was meaningless, a chasing after the wind; nothing was gained under the sun.
If we are going to use verses from Ecclesiastes, and we are, then we should know a little bit about the book and especially the title Ecclesiastes. Turns out Ecclesiastes is a Latin transliteration of a Greek translation of the Hebrew Kohelet, the pseudonym used by the author of the book. The Bible Dictionary says Ecclesiastes is
the Greek rendering of the Hebrew Koheleth , which means “Preacher.” The old and traditional view of the authorship of this book attributes it to Solomon. This view can be satisfactorily maintained, though others date it from the Captivity. The writer represents himself implicitly as Solomon. It has been appropriately styled The Confession of King Solomon. “The writer is a man who has sinned in giving way to selfishness and sensuality, who has paid the penalty of that sin in satiety and weariness of life, but who has through all this been under the discipline of a divine education, and has learned from it the lesson which God meant to teach him.” “The writer concludes by pointing out that the secret of a true life is that a man should consecrate the vigour of his youth to God.” The key-note of the book is sounded in chapter 1:2 KJV, “Vanity of vanities! saith the Preacher, Vanity of vanities! all is vanity!” i.e., all man’s efforts to find happiness apart from God are without result.
For more online information and background on Ecclesiastes I recommend the Zondervan Academic link.
The verses for today surely live up to the background given us by The Bible Dictionary. The author is saying he had everything he might want, all the delights of a man’s heart.
The problem noted herein is known to alcoholics, drug addicts, porn addicts, etc. as once a person becomes adapted to one level or another of a drug or behavior, more is always required sooner or later. Unless our hearts are turned to and seeking God, we end up worshipping the idol of More More More, whatever the More might be and it is never satisfied – thus the incredible number of overdose deaths per annum.
I recall reading how a heroin addict had found her way free of the addiction by way of God. In describing her addiction she said there was no human bond she would not break to satisfy her addiction. Finally turning to God she was freed of this terrible addiction and given knitting as a creative outlet pleasing to her and to her Creator.
The appetites of our hearts can be overwhelming if and when they are not focused on God our heavenly Father and His Son, our Lord and Savior with the guidance of the Holy Spirit once we have accepted the free Gift of Grace. Laws of the land can limit our hearts’ appetites somewhat, but only God is able to fill our hearts through His love and our faith in His Son.