“This was my reward”
(Thought by the bible readings of April 23)
The wisest of kings, Solomon, reflects on what his life had really achieved. In reading Ecclesiastes, we perceive his remarkable insight into the meaning and purpose, from a human perspective, of all that we do and all that we possess in our lives. What does Solomon’s insight reveal? He sees he has used his wisdom to accomplish everything possible.
His second chapter details this,
“… my heart still guiding me with wisdom … I made great works, I built houses and planted vineyards … made myself gardens and parks and planted in them all kinds of fruit trees. I made myself pools … had slaves … also great possessions of herds … also gathered for myself silver and gold … I got singers … many concubines … so I became great and surpassed all who were before me … whatever my eyes desired I did not keep from them. I kept my heart from no pleasure … this was my reward for all my toil” (verses 3-11).
Consider carefully his conclusion! “this was my reward” – but we noted even more his next comment,
“then I considered all that I had done and the toil I had expended”. And what does he see as the outcome of his considerations?
“Behold, all was vanity and a striving after wind”.
Other versions have,
“I saw everything was emptiness and chasing the wind” (NEB)
Solomon saw that life has no lasting substance, yet we all strive after things we can possess and experience, but at the end of the day there is nothing ‘eternal’ in what we have achieved! Solomon then declares
“so I hated life” (verse 17).
It seems evident he wrote Ecclesiastes near the end of his life. He lacked the vision that his father David possessed. David wrote a Psalm and commented about “men of the world whose portion is in this life” but in the next verse stated,
“As for me, I shall behold your face in righteousness; when I awake, I shall be satisfied with your likeness” (Psalm 17:14,15).
What will we be satisfied with?
Ecclesiastes makes humans look in the mirror of their minds and consider what they are accomplishing in life. Do you have a ‘mirror’ in your mind? What do you see when you look in it? It makes many read and reflect on God’s word more fervently.
- Ecclesiastes 3:1 – There is a time for everything, (church4u2.wordpress.com)
it seems we are perpetually tired and lack the margin to enjoy life. Solomon shows us that this is not unique to our culture. To understand the season that we are in can help us say no to many good things that are not appropriate at that particular time. May God give us the wisdom of Solomon, who knew how to focus on the right things in the right season.
- Proverbs and Ecclesiastes (Amy Plantinga Pauw) — Review (bobcornwall.com)
Every culture seems to produce a form of wisdom literature—sacred words meant to give guidance for daily life. The Bible is no different. While very different in their message, two books of the Hebrew Bible, both traditionally linked to Solomon, who was renowned for his wisdom, exemplify this tradition.
Proverbs and Ecclesiastes were viewed by many modern Christian biblical scholars as stepchildren of the canon, awkward presences whose concerns were largely alien to the center of Israel’s faith” (p. 1). Torah and the Prophets, along with the Psalms seemed more promising.
Wisdom is not innate, but must be taught. The wisdom offered is practical, but it is rooted in a concern for social ethics (righteousness, justice, and equity), and centered in the premise that “the fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge” (Prov. 1:7).
- Vanity, vanity (standupforthetruth.com)
Have you spent time in the book of Ecclesiastes lately? It not only tells the story of how King Solomon learned the meaninglessness of making himself his own god of sorts, but it leaves us with wise words from someone who threw his own God-given wisdom away.
- Learning From Solomon’s Mistakes (danspulpit.wordpress.com)
The faithful never really intend to back slide or replace their love for the Almighty with things, ego and the like. But too often, little by little the blessings chip away at the faithful and he or she begins to love the blessings more than the One who blesses.
We reap what we sow. Solomon held nothing back and lived his life to the full, enjoying all his blessings. But his heart grew cold to the Lord. He ended up worshipping other gods and the great king Solomon may very well be in hell, if he didn’t truly repent later in life. He did summarize what he thought of his life of excess:
“Vanity of vanities, all is vanity. I have seen all the works that are done under the sun; and indeed all is vanity and grasping for the wind” (Ecclesiastes1:2,14).
After experiencing first hand like no other the pointlessness of living a life for self and pleasure, Solomon concluded:
“Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God and keep His commandments, for this is man’s all. For God will bring every work into judgment, including every secret thing, whether good or evil” (Ecclesiastes 12:13-14).
- Why We Need To See Life Like A 1 Year Old (kellyjgrace.com)
Solomon’s Life Hacks are designed to help us manage our expectations and increase our enjoyment of life.