Tuesday, March 5, 2024
Tuesday, March 5, 2024
HomeAll The NewsMORAL ACTION: Solomon and Morality

MORAL ACTION: Solomon and Morality

by Dr. John Adams, Executive Director

“The Preacher was king over Israel in Jerusalem. And I gave my heart to seek and search out by wisdom concerning all things that are done under heaven; this sore travail hath God given to the sons of man to be exercised therewith. I have seen all the works that are done under the sun; and, behold, all is vanity and vexation of spirit. That which is crooked cannot be made straight, and that which is wanting cannot be numbered” (Eccl. 1:12-15).

Have you struggled with misplaced pursuits in life? Does your life lack the meaning and purpose you desire? Hear the words of Solomon and let them encourage you to place your trust solely in the Lord.

We all desire to have meaning in life. This search often takes us along winding paths filled with satisfaction that shine bright for a time but eventually fade. It’s satisfying to see this from reading Ecclesiastes. We relate to the journey of Solomon because, for so many of us, it is our own. When we attempt to find meaning in the pursuit of pleasure, commitment to a job or intellectual depths, we all eventually find each of these pursuits to be a dead end.

Ecclesiastes shows us a man who lived through this process and came out on the other side with a wiser, more seasoned perspective. Surrounded by the temptation to proclaim life’s ultimate emptiness, we find in Ecclesiastes a worldview tempered by experience and ultimately seen through colored lenses. Life is destined to remain unsatisfying apart from our recognition of God’s intervention. We must choose whether or not we will place our trust in His sure and able hands.

Scholars and writers (even from Wikipedia) disagree about the themes of Ecclesiastes. Whether it is positive and life-affirming or deeply pessimistic, coherent or incoherent, insightful or confused and whether the book’s ultimate message is to copy the wise man or avoid his errors. At times, he doubted every aspect of religion, from the very ideal of righteousness to the traditional idea of divine justice for individuals. The Talmud even suggests that the rabbis considered censoring Ecclesiastes due to its seeming contradictions. One suggestion for resolving the contradictions is to read the book as the record of Ecclesiastes’s quest for knowledge. It is only at the conclusion that the verdict is delivered. (Copied)

The subjects of Ecclesiastes are pain and frustration. In the morality of Solomon, he meditates pervading the world, the uselessness of human ambition and the limitations of worldly wisdom. The phrase “under the sun” appears 29 times in connection with these observations. This coexists with a firm belief in God, whose power and life without the sun has no meaning or purpose; the wise man and the man who does not study wisdom will both die and be forgotten; man should be reverent (“Fear God”). But in this life, it is best to simply enjoy God’s gifts.

“Keep thy foot when thou goest to the house of God, and be more ready to hear, than to give the sacrifice of fools; for they consider not that they do evil” (Eccl. 5:1).

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