We are in the Wisdom Stream reading from the New King James Version. Our special guest, Melissa Disney, reads the scripture today.
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Commentary by Dr. Drake Travis
Lord Jesus, thank you for giving us significance, a story to live and tell, a purpose, a calling, a destiny to walk in with you. Amen.
Solomon, late in his life is a completely satiated man. There was nothing on earth that was out of reach to him. He experienced limitless power and every luxury and pleasure the world had to offer. And as his days are winding down, he looks back, looks around, looks forward, looks up. He is in a sort of despair assessing that life had no solution. Jesus wouldn’t arrive for another 930 years, so the world had no savior as of yet. Solomon was acutely aware that something was lacking. Here’s his take on the meaning of life. It was a trifle grim this week. It gets better as he wraps up next week.
1 – Solomon is frustrated as he is musing that life nothing in life, as he observed, had no ecstatic finale. He in a sense is asking, “where’s the rhapsody? Why all the constant cycles? Heavens, are we all just on a treadmill no matter what?” The seas, the wind, weather, seasons, the labors, the assignments; round and round we all go. And there’s no getting off the misery-go-round. Learn, teach, build, repair, do what you will. You will be cycled back to sorrow. [heavy sigh]
2 – Solomon set out to pursue happiness, pleasure, joy. He had wine, song, women. He built. Wow, did he build: palaces, and gardens, and pools, and grounds, fortresses and a stunning Temple and and and. Everything was staffed and managed and beautiful and stocked and ready to host. Solomon became brilliant and wise, was talented. He had it all, ingested it all, heard it all, saw it all, loved it all, slept with it all. There was no available anything that he had not experienced. Nothing material was he left wanting. He noticed that he was dying…like everyone else, along with the fools and jokers. He had just always thought he would feel more satisfied in his sunset years. He didn’t. and it was bothering him deeply. He knew he was soon going to be leaving all this behind and was wondering why he had gathered it all together anyway.
3 – He observes at greater length the seasons of everything. There were cycles to everything, including emotions. He pauses here [and at other times in Ecclesiastes] to state that we may as well enjoy ourselves. He senses that though our deeds are temporal – all of God’s were eternal. He’s frustrated at the pervasive ubiquitous nature of evil (it’s everywhere). God will have His way over evil eventually. Solomon also in an eloquent manner asserts that there is an end that is coming; an end to each life that we see.
4 – The grief is also weighing on Solomon. He noted that everyone has to deal with their cup of suffering. Maybe the dead were better off? Solomon is realizing that there is more in contentment than there is in plenty or excess. He touts the value of trusted friends, and languishes the absurdity of those made into rulers who shouldn’t be ruling. Perhaps he was pondering his own foolish children who were soon to follow him to the throne(s!)
5 – It is heartwarming to have Solomon remind us all to come before God with a right heart and an upright life to match. God desires this of us. In a word – Solomon admonishes us to watch our words. Try not to be appalled at injustice for it is everywhere. Realize that wealth is empty, it needs to be painstakingly managed. It won’t help you sleep like a laboring job will! He noticed that one would hoard while a neighbor went without. Another madness is that a man will work a lifetime and have it come to nothing. Again, Solomon’s refrain is more or less, “ah phooey, just dine and enjoy yourselves, I guess.”
6 – Solomon is in chagrin to notice and recall that a man would work and amass, only to have a foreigner come consume it. He noticed that for those who did not pursue goodness, things did not end in a good way.. By default he is saying that contentment is a better thing to crave, for desires fulfilled are yet wanting more. And all of us must remember that we are on a timer. Were we to have 1,000 years, we’re still on a timer in this life.