Wednesday, April 14th, 2010
"Anything that my eyes asked for I did not keep away from them." (Ecclesiastes 2:10)
Solomon was one of the richest men on earth when he wrote Ecclesiastes. (2 Chronicles 9:22) He had the means to acquire anything he wanted. Nevertheless, he discovered that possessions do not in themselves bring satisfaction. "A mere lover of silver will not be satisfied with silver, neither any lover of wealth with income," he concluded. (Ecclesiastes 5:10) Researchers have noted that an emphasis on materialism is, in fact, a hindrance to happiness and satisfaction. A long time ago, Solomon had already reached that same conclusion. He wrote: "I accumulated also silver and gold for myself, and property peculiar to kings . . . And, look! everything was vanity and a striving after wind." (Ecclesiastes 2:8, 11) In contrast, if we use our life to serve Jehovah wholeheartedly and thus receive his blessing, we will obtain true riches.—Proverbs 10:22.
(Watchtower issue: 4/15/08, 5:9, 10)
Too bad the rest of the world hasn't "got the memo" on this. =)
Actually, what I hadn't realized for a long time was that the enormous wealth and material prosperity which King Solomon had, was *unique* among the kings of Israel. And the reason for that was prophetic...foreshadowing the rich blessings in store for everyone under the Messianic Kingdom.
But as a general rule, the other kings of Israel were given guidelines which set a balanced *limit* on the amount of material goods they should accumulate. -In order to keep both the rulers, and the people, from developing a greedy, materialistic frame of mind, and way of life (like the surrounding nations promoted), but even more importantly, to keep them from developing an unhealthy dependence on their physical assets for protection & security, rather than relying on Jehovah to provide for them.
(Deuteronomy 17:16, 17)
"Only he should not increase horses for himself,...He should also not multiply wives for himself, that his heart may not turn aside; nor should he increase silver and gold for himself very much."
(The part about not increasing horses applied especially when the Israelites won a victory in battle against their enemies and had the option of plundering lots of trained horses and war chariots. So that guideline was given in order for the people, and the kings, to remember that success in battle was dependent on Jehovah,...not the size of their military.)
So it's pretty clear that regardless of the type of material assets, (whether its money, women, or horses),...God doesn't like hoarding. =) And it's not too hard to understand why, when you've got huge sectors of society living in terrible poverty, (over a billion people trying to survive on less than a dollar a day) and children dying from starvation and preventable diseases, while the rulers of society are jet-setting around the globe, attending gala parties, and living in posh decadence.