In his own words, Solomon said he “had everything a man could desire!” I must admit, the list of things Solomon chased in life while seeking pleasure was quite complete. Most of us will never attain such wealth or the extent of possessions he describes. Why didn’t anything bring him happiness?
It’s easy for us to say, “because you can’t buy happiness.” If we know that to be true, then why do we also seek pleasure in the same way? I don’t think we should be condemned from being happy for having new “toys,” but we need to realize that happiness from those such things will not last forever.
Money can’t buy happiness. You’ve probably heard that before. Many of us will scurry about upgrading our cars, houses, jobs, etc., all in the elusive search for happiness. Wasn’t it Plato who said we humans were like leaky jars? No matter how much water (wealth) we put in, we are never fulfilled.
What do these words mean to you? “Why spend your money on food that does not give you strength? Why pay for food that does you no good?” There are plenty of wealthy people who have spent obscene amounts of money on what they thought would make them happy, only to be left miserable. Even the Israelites in captivity would have set up some sort of barter exchange for their survival. You’ll notice how this text is speaking right to them. This whole chapter is such a beautiful invitation for us to return to God. “Come to me with your ears wide open. Listen, and you will find life.” In other words, we don’t need to be chasing around looking for answers. Our security is with God.