He was a brilliant man. Those who knew him well and those who only knew him by reputation said he had more than merely raw intelligence.He had been given a particular gift and of course it was from God (1 Kings 3:5-15).
He was handed the kingdom on a platter.His father had already defeated the principle opponents in the struggle for the land.Now he had to build the temple to God to secure the borders of the kingdom and keep the peace.
Of course Im writing about Solomon.Because of Gods gift of wisdom, he was considered to be the wisest of men (1 Kings 4:29-34; cf. 1 Kings 10:1-7).
We dont really know when Solomon decided to write some his books or reflections on life.He wrote many of the Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and Song of Solomon.
For this study I will be reflecting on his writings in Ecclesiastes.In Hebrew this is called Quoheleth. which can be translated as wise ways or one who speaks to an assembly.We can call it writing of the Preacher. He wants to teach us about life and a warning for those who forsake their faith. Thats the job of a Preacher.
It is the realism of his words that is striking.They are brutally honest.What Solomon seems to be showing us is that life can be experienced from two distinct points of view . one who fears the Lord and one who does not (Ecclesiastes 7:16-18; Ecclesiastes 8:12-13).
As I read his words, I know that he has experienced what he is teaching.He isnt pulling any punches.He knows what these two choices mean in ones life and he is sharing his world view.
Utterly meaningless!Everything is meaningless (Ecclesiastes 1:14; Ecclesiastes 2:11,17,26; Ecclesiastes 4:4,16; Ecclesiastes 6:9)This word meaningless,means vapor, breath, something transitory.It means something that eludes us and in actuality doesnt bring fulfillment.
He looks at different areas of life . work, nature, the senses, history, etc. to see what they might teach about the meaning of life now while we are alive. Solomon was a realist he knew and experienced life to the fullest.
Now, lets look for a moment at work, or labor, as he puts it.
We spend most of our hours in some sort of work. Not all bad. We need to eat after all, and meaningful work can be fulfilling in our lives. Helping others brings a sense of deep satisfaction. Our Lord, often speaks of laboring in the vineyards or fields. However, at the end of the day, Solomon declares that working only to acquire wealth is as though we are chasing the wind! (Ecclesiastes 1:3; Ecclesiastes 5:16). Even if all of our efforts result in acquiring a fortune, what good is that to us?We have a few years of pleasure and then its over (Ecclesiastes 5:9-15).
Here are my three objectives for work:
1) We work to bring Glory to God.
Whatever you do, do it all to the glory of God(1 Corinthians 10:31). Paul here states the real purpose of our work. My, how can my washing the floors bring glory to God? Let me think about that! Do you have any ideas?
2) We work to gain a living.
If a man will not work, he shall not eat (2 Thessalonians 3:10).This is Gods plan; always was and always will be.
3) Work brings us opportunities for Christian witness.
Jesus said, Do you not say,therearestill four months and then comes the harvest? Behold, I say to you, lift up your eyes and look at thefields, for theyarealreadywhitefor harvest (John 4:35).
This is definitely our work as Christians.
Take heart, dear reader and friend. Your labor will not be in vain (1 Corinthians 15:50-58).
We labor to give glory to God (Ephesians 6:5-8; cf. Isaiah 43:7), helping others; building bridges for winning and discipling people for Him (Matthew 5:14-16; Matthew 7:7-12; Gal. 6:6-10; Matthew 28:19-20; Mark 16:15-16).
This is where true wisdom begins.
Barbara Hyland, guest writer