In December 2004, Rolling Stone magazine published a special issue which featured the 500 greatest songs of all time (that is, mostly Rock and Roll hits from mostly 1950-2000). Second on the list was a song written by a couple twenty-two year-old British musicians, and it catapulted The Rolling Stones to international fame. In early 1965, Keith Richards woke up in the middle of the night in a Florida hotel with a tune in his head. He turned on a tape recorder that was by his bed, hummed a bit of it into the microphone, and went back to sleep with the recorder still going. The next morning the tape had on it an eight note introduction that made music history, and 45 minutes of Keith Richards snoring. Richards thought the tune might be good enough to be a filler on side ‘B’ of an album sometime. But Mick Jagger wrote some lyrics for it, started singing it with a frenzied intensity that became his trademark, and put the song and the group into music history. Here is that song, “I Can’t Get No Satisfaction”:
This is a great song, but it does raise a question. Why can’t Mick Jagger ‘get no satisfaction?’ Think about it– Mick Jagger had it all, already at the age of twenty-two. First of all, he was having fun. It is great fun to watch the Rolling Stones perform. It certainly must have been a lot of fun to be them. And for over fifty years they have had everything else– success, money, health, fame, friends, sex, travel—all the things most people think they need to make life full and good. But all his life, Mick Jagger has been singing about not finding any satisfaction.
And about once a week we hear about another such celebrity, who has it all, but commits suicide.
Actually, there is one of the famous people of the Bible who was very much like Mick Jagger. The Old Testament book of I Kings tells the story of someone else who, from a very young age had it all, and also did not find it satisfying.
In the second chapter of I Kings, Solomon, the young son the great King David, is crowned the next king over all of Israel. In the next chapter is this story of an amazing offer that God made to the new king (from I Kings 3:3-13):
Solomon showed his love for the Lord by walking according to the instructions given him by his father David… Then the Lord appeared to Solomon during the night in a dream, and God said, “Ask for whatever you want me to give you.” Solomon answered, “You have shown great kindness to my father David, because he was faithful to you and righteous and upright in heart… Now, Lord my God, you have made me king in place of my father David. But I am young and do not know how to carry out my duties… So give me a discerning heart to govern your people and to distinguish between right and wrong…” The Lord was pleased that Solomon had asked for this. So God said to him, “Since you have asked for this, and not for long life or wealth for yourself, nor have asked for the death of your enemies but for discernment in administering justice, I will do what you have asked. I will give you a wise and discerning heart, so that there will never have been anyone like you, nor will there ever be. Moreover, I will give you what you have not asked for—both wealth and honor—so that in your lifetime you will have no equal among kings.”
God then richly blessed Solomon, and as a young man, he had everything. He was the king of Israel during its greatest years of glory and power. He , like Mick Jagger, had wealth, prestige, influence, international fame, and, sex (300 wives and 700 mistresses).
Did having everything satisfy Solomon? The answer can be found in the Old Testament book of Ecclesiastes, which has always been attributed to Solomon. The subtitle of Ecclesiastes could be “I Can’t Get No Satisfaction.” Here are some glimpses from Solomon’s life:
Ecclesiastes 1:12-18 — I, the Teacher, was king over Israel in Jerusalem. I applied my mind to study and to explore by wisdom all that is done under the heavens… I said to myself, “Look, I have increased in wisdom more than anyone who has ruled over Jerusalem before me; but I learned that this, too, is a chasing after the wind. For with much wisdom comes much sorrow; the more knowledge, the more grief.
Ecclesiastes 2:1-11 — So, I said to myself, “Come now, I will test myself with pleasure to find out what is good.” But that also proved to be meaningless. “Laughter,” I said, “is madness. And what does pleasure accomplish?” I tried cheering myself with wine, and embracing folly—my mind still guiding me with wisdom. I wanted to see what was good for people to do under the heavens during the few days of their lives. I undertook great projects: I built houses for myself and planted vineyards. I made gardens and parks and planted all kinds of fruit trees in them. I made reservoirs to water groves of flourishing trees… I also owned more herds and flocks than anyone in Jerusalem before me. I amassed silver and gold for myself, and the treasure of kings and provinces. I acquired singers, and a harem as well—all the delights of a man’s heart. I became greater by far than anyone in Jerusalem before me… I denied myself nothing my eyes desired; I refused my heart no pleasure, (and I took) delight in all my labor… 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… So I hated life. (verse 17)… Whoever loves money never has enough; whoever loves wealth is never satisfied (5:10).
Solomon tried everything: knowledge and learning, pleasure and laughter, drinking and folly, hard work and accomplishment, building a beautiful palace and gardens, entertainment and sex, wealth and power. But still he hated life. It sounds to me like Solomon couldn’t ‘get no satisfaction.’ (continued…)