Tag Archives: Solomon

Ecclesiastes 2 – Futility of Work

I came to hate all my hard work here on earth, for I must leave to others everything I have earned. And who can tell whether my successors will be wise or foolish? Yet they will control everything I have gained by my skill and hard work under the sun. How meaningless! So I gave up in despair, questioning the value of all my hard work in this world. – Ecclesiastes 2:18‭-‬20 NLT

The Teacher has sought solace in work. Now, let’s be clear about this, work is a good thing. Work is a holy thing because God did it. This book is not telling you that work is bad because it’s not. What is bad is finding your life’s purpose only in work.

The Teacher has worked hard. He’s trying to create meaning and purpose in life from work alone, and now that he’s had his work accomplishments, he’s reflecting on how meaningless they are. After all his hard work, one day, he will die. After he’s dead, someone else will take over what he’s left behind. And the same is true for us.

One day, we will die. Perhaps we’ll leave a company or organization behind. Maybe, like me, you’ll leave a classroom behind. And we don’t know if our successors will be wise enough to manage the work or foolish enough to banish working and responsibility. When work is your only purpose, that is a scary thought. When you work out of your purpose, that is a freeing thought.

If your only purpose is to work, then there is nothing to leave behind and certainly nothing you can take with you. But if you find purpose in your work, you can begin to leave a legacy behind.

Why was work meaningless? Because work by itself can’t give you God’s eternal purpose for you.

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Ecclesiastes 2

Anything I wanted, I would take. I denied myself no pleasure. I even found great pleasure in hard work, a reward for all my labors. But as I looked at everything I had worked so hard to accomplish, it was all so meaningless—like chasing the wind. There was nothing really worthwhile anywhere.
Ecclesiastes 2:10‭-‬11 NLT

Solomon is essentially saying that he enjoyed life. He had everything the world says we should want. He had servants, gardens, food, wine, resources, concubines, and wives. He denied himself no thing that we would deem pleasurable.

He even found pleasure in work, maybe even purpose in it (we’ll talk about work later). In other words, whatever he wanted, he had. Whatever he thought would make him happy, he had. No thing was off limits. Yet, in the end, he still had the same conclusion that he began with. It was all like chasing the wind.

It all brought momentary pleasure but no eternal value. It still left him wanting. So if pleasure didn’t bring a life purpose, he thought work might. Might it?

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Lovestruck- Podcast Book Review

We’re hitting the books with Lovestruck by Sharon Jaynes. I must say, this in-depth description of the Song of Songs gave me a clearer understanding of this biblical book.


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Proverbs 8

For wisdom is far more valuable than rubies. Nothing you desire can compare with it.
Proverbs 8:11 NLT

At least eight times in Proverbs 8 it references the importance of wisdom over treasures. Eight times it either says wisdom and understanding are better than silver and gold or something along the lines of it being more valuable than precious rubies. It actually says if you love wisdom you will inherit wealth and fill your treasuries.

So I must say, I’m totally confused when people flaunt their wealth. I have never and will never be moved by how much money a person has. It’s about how much wisdom and discretion we obtain and use in life. Solomon possibly wrote this Proverb and he was one of, if not the richest and wisest to ever live.

There is nothing wrong with being wealthy. There is something wrong with: finding identity in wealth, obtaining wealth by any means necessary, being wealthy and not using it for God’s glory.

In the end, our prayer shouldn’t just be for more wealth. It should be for more wisdom. It seems to me that the Bible is saying that if you’re wise enough, you’ll be wealthy enough. There’s a reason wisdom is more valuable than wealth. You won’t lose out on wealth by chasing wisdom, but you can miss out on wisdom by chasing wealth.

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Don’t Ignore the Signs

Hindsight is 20/20, or whatever is better than 20/20 these days. Things look clearer and make more sense after we look back at them. We see how we could’ve strategized better or responded differently.

Scholars have said the book of Ecclesiastes was written by Solomon in his later years. Looking back on his sin of idolatry and turning away from worshipping God alone. I sure hope his heart returned to the Lord. For now, let’s look at 1 Kings 11.

The Lord was very angry with Solomon, for his heart had turned away from the Lord, the God of Israel, who had appeared to him twice. He had warned Solomon specifically about worshiping other gods, but Solomon did not listen to the Lord’s command. 1 Kings 11:9‭-‬10 NLT

Look at you and me. I know I read this with a finger point and head scratch. Solomon, if God is repeatedly and specifically warning you about something you need to listen! It’s not friendly advice. It is literally Godly counsel. Even more, it’s not a suggestion, it’s a life or death decision.

But hold on. Don’t we do the same? We know our weaknesses and have seen the warning signs but for some reason the unhealthy thrill of sin creates allure.

We think we can’t help but at least sit on the fence… There’s no harm in an after work conversation… We can watch five more minutes and stop… What’s one more slice…

Before we know it we’re so far past the “Do Not Enter” sign. “Yield” is a thing of the past. And at best all we can see is “Slow Down.” I assume that’s how it happened to Solomon. He is considered the wisest man to ever live so it’s not like he was weak-minded. Maybe he was just too “lust-minded.” Maybe while inheriting so many of his family’s good traits he ignored the warning about falling prey to lust and women.

Now King Solomon loved many foreign women. Besides Pharaoh’s daughter, he married women from Moab, Ammon, Edom, Sidon, and from among the Hittites. The Lord had clearly instructed the people of Israel, “You must not marry them, because they will turn your hearts to their gods.” Yet Solomon insisted on loving them anyway. He had 700 wives of royal birth and 300 concubines. And in fact, they did turn his heart away from the Lord. In Solomon’s old age, they turned his heart to worship other gods instead of being completely faithful to the Lord his God, as his father, David, had been. – 1 Kings 11:1-4 NLT

What’s your warning sign? What’s the thing that God says don’t do because you don’t want the path it’ll take you on? Today, don’t see God’s warnings as suggestions, but rather commandments. Commandments to living a better, God-honoring life.

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Wisdom Help

2 Chronicles 1 is when Solomon asks God for wisdom. I may have shared this before but I remember being a kid and asking for the same thing after reading this chapter.

I’m not the most profound by any means. I’m not trying to puff myself up by saying this or promote false humility in my statement. I just remember feeling a tug to pray for wisdom more than anything else.

God grants Solomon so much more because he didn’t ask for riches or simply for the death of his enemies. And I didn’t ask for wisdom because I thought God would give me something else in return. I just knew wisdom was important.

As an adult, I see even more why wisdom is important now. Without wisdom I really can’t do the right thing nor make the right decision. I need wisdom in order to manage relationships and to manage my life. Wisdom helps you manage your emotions as well as your money.

Without wisdom, you might as well throw out anything sensible.

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Study this Book- 1 Chronicles

Alright, so we read 1 and 2 Samuel and 1 and 2 Kings a year or two ago. Now it’s time for 1 and 2 Chronicles.

The Chronicles are a lot of recap and extra detail from previous accounts. It’s very important to read these for the detail, but also to continue to see how God has weaved biblical narratives together. The lineage is not irrelevant, it’s totally relevant, especially when we start seeing repeat character traits, in people or their family lines.

There will be slow moments of reading, but all will be important to read. I can guarantee that. So, here we go!

March 1-5: 1 Chronicles 1-4
March 6-12: 1 Chronicles 5-10
March 13-19: 1 Chronicles 11-17
March 20-26: 1 Chronicles 18-24
March 27-31: 1 Chronicles 25-29

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Study this Book- Ecclesiastes

The Teacher is quite downtrodden in Ecclesiastes. It’s full of wisdom and truths, but at the same time you read it thinking, is there a light at the end of this tunnel?

Chapter 7 in particular was what I read today. There were some positives that made you feel good and then there were some very half empty outlooks. But what I found interesting after reading the positives and negatives of life the following verse was the ending to Chapter 7:

But I did find this: God created people to be virtuous, but they have each turned to follow their own downward path.” – Ecclesiastes 7:29 NLT

So before this, he’s talking about there being no virtuous men and women in this world. He pretty much says if you don’t follow God then you’re doomed to the trap and chains of the seductive woman. Again, half empty outlook to life. But in all of this, he concludes with this hope. And the hope really has nothing to do with us, but with God.

The hope we can have is what God intended for us to be like. He created us to be virtuous, and we are the ones who have chosen another path. Doesn’t that make you see the glass of life a little more half full? That God’s original intent for you had nothing to do with failure, hurt, pain, or sin. And although we in our fallen state experience all of the above, His plan is to still bring us through it all virtuously.

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Study this Book – Ecclesiastes 2

These verses in chapter 2 are interesting to me:

Anything I wanted, I would take. I denied myself no pleasure. I even found great pleasure in hard work, a reward for all my labors. But as I looked at everything I had worked so hard to accomplish, it was all so meaningless—like chasing the wind. There was nothing really worthwhile anywhere.
Ecclesiastes 2:10‭-‬11 NLT

I think it’s easy to read it and say Solomon lived a spoiled life to find meaning. I tend to associate spoiled with the lack of hard work. And of course getting everything a person wants. And he said he did that. He didn’t deny himself and whatever he wanted he took.

But as you read you see that he also found pleasure in hard work. Perhaps he became a workaholic and “found” some type of reward in that.

These two ideas are contradictory of course. On one hand, there’s this lifestyle of spoiling oneself, and on the other hand he’s working hard. And honestly, I believe that is the point of all of this.

The point of this is that Solomon has tried to find meaning and value in life in everything. No matter where you fall on the life spectrum, Solomon has tried to find meaning there. Whether it was in doing nothing or doing everything, he tried it. And in the end, the only value he found in life was in God.

That’s the whole story. Here now is my final conclusion: Fear God and obey his commands, for this is everyone’s duty.
Ecclesiastes 12:13 NLT

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Study this Book- Ecclesiastes

The next couple of weeks we’re reading Ecclesiastes. I’ll tell you, if you struggle emotionally, brace yourself. Ecclesiastes doesn’t exactly start off with a ray of sunshine. Actually here’s how it begins:

“Everything is meaningless,” says the Teacher, “completely meaningless!”
Ecclesiastes 1:2‭

Now why such a big proclamation? Well read the book to find out all the details. But its taught that the Teacher is Solomon. Solomon is considered the wisest man (other than Jesus) that ever lived. And yet, he’s here proclaiming that life is repetitive and redundant.

It’s important to read this book because it reminds us that without God life is meaningless. The search for meaning in materials is futile. Apart from God nothing truly serves its purpose to the fullest. It also says a lot about mankind. Read verse 8.

Everything is wearisome beyond description. No matter how much we see, we are never satisfied. No matter how much we hear, we are not content.
Ecclesiastes 1:8

That says a lot to me about us as people. No matter how much we see or hear we aren’t satisfied or content. Wouldn’t you agree?

Why the seemingy morbid outlook on life? Why read this? Honestly, I think it speaks to every human being. The questioning and quest for meaning in life is something we all go through. And I truly think this book is a reminder of that. Keep reading and feel free to share what you think.

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