If we are not going to trust God, who should we trust? Who will we trust? This is not a new question. King Solomon dealt with it in the Book of Ecclesiastes 1 NASB – The Futility of All Endeavors – The – Bible Gateway long ago.
Instead of living his life under Heaven — trusting in God — Solomon tried to live his life under the sun. That is, Solomon tried various alternatives to God: sex, stuff, science, state, and/or self. The Book of Ecclesiastes 1 NASB – The Futility of All Endeavors – The – Bible Gateway records what Solomon learned, the futility of putting our trust in anything or anyone except God.
From the perspective of God, the idolization sex, stuff, science, state, and/or self is nothing new under the sun. Yet every generation of man must learn for itself the futility of putting age-old idols of sex, stuff, science, state, and/or self before our Creator.
What is “new” about the Book of Ecclesiastes 1 NASB – The Futility of All Endeavors – The – Bible Gateway? Solomon used his God-given wisdom to record what he learned from the perspective of God.
Solomon begins Ecclesiastes by explaining the meaning of futility. When we live life under the sun, without God, we end where we started. Without God, we cannot make any real progress.
Solomon turns next to the futility of wisdom, the “science” of his day, under the sun. What did wisdom under the sun gain Solomon?
Grief and pain!
When we look back on ancient times, many of us congratulate ourselves. We think we know so much more, but relative to what there is to be known, modern scientists know little more than did the educated people of Solomon’s time. The wise know better than to congratulate themselves for all the answers that they have. The wise realize how much more we need to learn. Yet when he set God aside, pursued wisdom without God, Solomon found the pursuit of wisdom pure frustration.
Sex And Stuff
Therefore, Solomon turned to the pursuit of pleasure and possessions, that is, sex and stuff. Imagine having a harem with hundreds of wives and concubines. Money to buy the best wines and live entertainment. Great! Right? But Solomon grew bored. What was the point? In fact, Solomon encountered worst problems than pure boredom. Imagine a king writing this proverb.
So, Solomon turn to laboring to gain more and more possessions, to acquiring wealth and accomplishments for their own sake. Nevertheless, Solomon remained wise. Therefore, he eventually foresaw a problem.
What did Solomon say about idolizing the state? Since Solomon was the King of Israel, he was the state. Nevertheless, he was not happy with the state.
Consider why Solomon was so wise. He had asked God for wisdom so he could rule God’s people well (2 Chronicles 1:7-13 NASB – In that night God appeared to Solomon – Bible Gateway). Yet, because he had tried to live his life under the sun, Solomon knew he had failed.
In Ecclesiastes, does Solomon talk about making an idol of himself? Not directly, but consider the story Solomon tells in Ecclesiastes. Whenever Solomon encounters a problem pursuing the idols of sex, stuff, science, and state, Solomon turns to his own wisdom to resolve the problem. Eventually, however, he is humbled.
When we strive to live life under the sun instead of under Heaven, that is the definition of idolizing our self.
It not until the end of his life that Solomon finally gives up, sadly repents, and turns to God. Why is Solomon sad? He has grown old. Thus, Chapter 12, the last chapter, begins.
When we have grown old, there is so little we can do, except to warn those who follow after us of our follies.
So, what the lesson Solomon leaves us?
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