With the downloaded divine wisdom of God, Solomon wrote this book. The name Ecclesiastes means preacher. In his meditations the writer puzzled with how one could find happiness or contentment apart from God. Are the answers found in science, philosophy, wealth, music or materialism? Solomon’s wide search came up empty. He concludes that it is wise to seek God early on in life so that looking back, one could see great value and satisfaction in a life of worthy of walking in and of talking about.
“Remember your Creator in the days of your youth, before the days of trouble come and the years approach when you will say, “I find no pleasure in them”. (Ecc 12:1)
A great question that stirs in the heart and gut of young and old is “Is life worth living?” As mankind continues to explore the globe in search of meaning, we would be better off to simply imitate a contented dog, which eagerly wags his tail whenever he recognizes his Master coming. Instead, like Solomon, people shop the world for knowledge, fame, fortunes and the pleasures of the flesh. All our futile efforts expose the human incapacity to find meaning without God.
With a simple online search today we can amass great reasoning minds. Over the past 100 years the media has enticed us to seek and satisfy all conceivable pleasures. After all philosophy failed, the king sampled music, dance, wine and clever clowns in his court. The wisest man known in history concluded that cheerfulness is admirable, a hearty laugh is delightful, but a person who is always giggling is a bore!
The king becomes practical in his quest for contentment and he builds architectural marvels. Solomon built aqueducts, pools, palaces, public buildings which today are under the rubble of earth. He established gardens, vineyards, orchards and Jerusalem bloomed like the garden of Eden. He collected art, organized the finest orchestras for the royal palace, and yet he surmises: “Music hath charms” and yet it is powerless to provide more than a fleeting moment of pleasure.
In chapter five Solomon confronts the rituals and traditions of formal religion and he determines that this too is meaningless “When you make a vow to God, do not delay to fulfill it. He has no pleasure in fools; fulfill your vow. It is better not to make a vow than to make one and not fulfill it. Do not let your mouth lead you into sin. And do not protest to the temple messenger, “My vow was a mistake.” Why should God be angry at what you say and destroy the work of your hands? Much dreaming and many words are meaningless. Therefore fear God.” (Ecclesiastes 5:4-7)
In chapter 7 Solomon makes a case for building a good reputation, but the truth is we are but a vapor, we last as long as the steam above a hot cup of coffee. “you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? “You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.” (James 4:14)
People are soon forgotten and our quest to impress others with our reputation is pure vanity. “A good name is better than fine perfume, and the day of death is better than the day of birth.” (Ecc 7:1)
Solomon admonishes the reader of his findings that life is worth living when we rightly fear God for His power and glory will outlast anything we do. “fear God and keep His commandments, for this is the whole duty of man.” (Ecc 12:13) The preacher Solomon looked into the future and into the past and spoke that everything “under the sun” will not satisfy the soul like God does.
Ecclesiastes is a warning written by the wisest man that ever walked the earth. We have the choice to seek God and be content with what we have, or avoid God altogether and foolishly seek to leave a legacy of our own Tower of Babble on earth.
LESSON: Apply the Wisdom of God
Copyright © 2019 by Barbara Alley Hoyle.
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