Solomon’s Deepest Thoughts
May 10 - Nº 130 Ecclesiastes
Although it is never directly stated who wrote the book of Ecclesiastes, the author referred to himself as “the son of David” and a “king who ruled over Israel in Jerusalem.” He added that he was given more wisdom than anyone who ruled before him. Therefore, most Jewish, and Christian scholars agree that the author was King Solomon and that he wrote the book as an old man. Ecclesiastes is a glimpse back at the author’s own life and the things he once thought were important. It provides insight into how a man God blessed with so much could abandon Him to worship false gods (see #127 - May 7). As he wrote, Solomon asked and then answered four questions that help us evaluate our own lives: 1. What is life all about? Solomon diligently searched for something that would bring meaning and purpose to his days here on earth (which he referred to as “life under the sun”). He tried everything he could think of. He expanded his mind with knowledge and wisdom. He filled his life with parties and possessions. He worked diligently and became the best at all he did. But in the end, he concluded that everything he accomplished was futile. Pleasure, popularity, and power were no better than soap bubbles. Any beauty or joy they brought quickly disappeared. He concluded that all of life apart from God is “vanity” (1:1-2)! Only God can fill life and bring it meaning. 2. So, why bother trying? Even though life is hard and repetitive and often filled with senseless activities, Solomon concluded that we can and should find ways to enjoy it. For instance, although we may not like the job we have, we can take pleasure in the money we earn from it. Since life is a daily gift from God, we should enjoy it as much as possible. We should take time to “eat, drink, and be merry” (5:18; 8:15)! 3. What is God’s role? No matter how hard we try to figure God out, we never will. But Solomon came to understand and embrace three of His characteristics: (1) God is good; (2) He is just; (3) He is in control. He is the One who appoints the times for everything (3:1-8). When we grasp this, we can find beauty and fulfillment. 4. How can we live a valuable life? Since purpose and satisfaction only come from God, we must get to know Him and choose to obey Him. Only then will our lives have meaning and value. Solomon urges us, as his readers, to obey God’s commandments all through our lives beginning “in the days of our youth” (12:1 and 12:13). Although God gifted Solomon with wisdom beyond any other human being, Solomon didn’t always use this gift the way God wanted him to. He eventually came to his senses and realized that he was not as wise as God. He wished he had always lived in obedience to God’s commands.
Does your life have value and meaning? Are you able to enjoy the role God has given you? Remember: God is good (that means He loves you); God is just (that means He only does what is right); God is in control of everything (that means you are not!). Get to know God. Choose to obey Him. Only He can give your life value and meaning.