Life Lessons Under the Sun
Scripture reading for July 14th: Ecclesiastes 1-6
Solomon was the wisest man who ever lived, except for Jesus Christ, and one of the richest men as well. He explored life in all it’s aspects. God appeared to him twice and he got to ask God for his heart’s desire. He asked for wisdom and God gave him wealth and fame as well. In Solomon’s later years, he tried to find happiness and meaning “under the sun” apart from God. His verdict is found in this writing.
Solomon, being wise, considered wisdom as an end in itself. He looked at the fool and found that the same fate came to the wise and the foolish. Neither the wise or the foolish will be long remembered after they pass from this life–and both will! His conclusion was that pursuit of wisdom as an end apart from God is meaningless! (Ecclesiastes 2:13-16)
Solomon considered his work and toil as a source of meaning. Work produces many nice things and accomplishments but ultimately the worker dies and must leave all his work to another. The one who inherits all the beautiful works may lack wisdom and desire to use and care for them. These thoughts brought despair and a sense of meaninglessness to Solomon. Work ultimately can’t bring satisfaction either. We must enjoy what we have and realize that God is the source of all true satisfaction and happiness! (Ecclesiastes 2:17-26)
Money and an abundance of goods also cannot bring or buy happiness. The love of money brings a restlessness for more and more. As we gain more things, they are consumed, and others come to help in the process. A fortune may be gained only to be lost in a moment by accident or misfortune. When it comes time to depart this life, we take none of this with us. “Naked a man comes from his mother’s womb, and as he comes, so he departs. He takes nothing from his labor that he can carry in his hand.” (Ecclesiastes 5:15)
Solomon’s conclusion so far was that life apart from God appears to have no real meaning. We are born, we live, and then we die. Whatever we accomplish and how we lived our life is all left behind at death and we are soon forgotten. A life without God is “meaningless”!