What Solomon Knew
The “wisdom of Solomon” can refer to a book of Scripture or the wisdom of the man himself, much like patience has become equated with Job. Solomon is renowned for his depth of understanding, and he spent pages and pages writing his advice for those who would follow after him.As I’ve endeavored to get to know him better, I found myself in one of my favorite books of Scripture—Ecclesiastes.
Solomon admits in this book to testing his wisdom and indulging in all sorts of pleasure. God had given him wisdom, majesty, and wealth beyond that of any king before him, yet in his own words he found them “meaningless, a chasing after the wind.”
Several times I have nodded in agreement, but sometimes I think he would have said it differently if he had been able to see beyond his times. He could not know with human insight that there was hope beyond this life, and yet he knew on a spiritual level that every human being would one day face God.
As he neared the end of his diatribe on life’s meaninglessness, he had a few sound words to say that I wonder if we think about as much as he did. In my youth, did I consider the Creator or was I too wrapped up in what I wanted to do?
In hindsight, it is hard to see. I can tell you that my heart played tug of war with a longing for God and a longing for things of earth. The world holds a strong, persuasive pull and many of us are caught up in it.
In contrast, Jesus said, “Seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things will be added to you.” These things being the things we seek in life. God will give to us as we need, but He wants us to put Him first. Why is that so hard sometimes?
Despite every gift God had given to him, Solomon found it difficult to obey the Law of Moses, because he broke it most thoroughly. Toward the end of his life, the heart that had once loved the Lord and heard Him speak grew cold.
Is it any wonder then that Ecclesiastes is a book that describes his depression with life? And yet, I believe that the wisest human of his day came to his senses in the end.
He watched his body break down, saw those he loved die, and had the memory of God’s promise to tear part of the kingdom from his son because of his disobedience. And yet, when his wobbly hand took up the pen to sketch just the right words for future generations to hear, he concluded his teachings to the young with these words:
“Yes, remember your Creator now while you are young, before the silver cord of life snaps and the golden bowl is broken. Don’t wait until the water jar is smashed at the spring and the pulley is broken at the well. For then the dust will return to the earth, and the spirit will return to God who gave it…Here now is my final conclusion: Fear God and obey his commands, for this is everyone’s duty. God will judge us for everything we do, including every secret thing, whether good or bad.” (Ecclesiastes 12:6-7,13-14 NLT)
While we may not fully understand some of his metaphors, I think we get the gist of his meaning. And I wonder if the Solomon that once loved the Lord wished he could have gone back and relived his choices.
My heart almost aches for Solomon, though I have, of course, never actually met him. Yet I have met him through his words, and I can relate to so many of the things he said…with one difference.
I pray that the Lord I loved in my youth will remain my greatest love until I meet Him one day. I pray that other loves will pale in comparison to my heart for God. It’s not a promise I can make, for I am human, faulty, broken. But I don’t want to live meaningless like Solomon. I want to live with Kingdom focus, like Jesus.
May God grant all of us grace to do the same.