Saturday, May 21, 2022

God of Every Age

Bobservations Column
Pastor Bob Lawrenz

Ecclesiastes, AKA “The Preacher,” as we learn in the first verse of the book. King Solomon, the son of King David, is credited with writing this book of scripture, as well as two others, “Proverbs,” and “Song Of Solomon.” His wealth was unquestionably great, and his wisdom was sought after by Kings, Queens, and Princes.

His writings of scripture, and his decisions made while seated on his father’s throne, the Throne of David, revealed his wisdom. We too can esteem him, but we must not forget that he was a man. Perhaps he was among God’s favorites, having taking the throne of Israel, he humbled himself and asked God to give him wisdom, and God provided it. Solomon’s name means “peaceable,” and Israel was at peace during his reign.
In Proverbs 16:7 Solomon wrote under the Spirit of God, “When a man's ways please the LORD, he maketh even his enemies to be at peace with him.”

To say that the Lord was gracious towards Solomon would be an understatement. But even with all of God’s favor upon him, he was still human, and as the Apostle James wrote of the Prophet Elias, “Elias was a man subject to like passions as we are.” All of the Prophets were human, and subject to human emotion and passions. Perfection is not a human trait; it belongs to God only, and that is a lesson we will learn through the twelve chapters of this Book. It is also a truth that Solomon realizes through his own life experiences.

Stay with us through this book, and you will see yourself and others in our shared human experiences.

“Better is the end of a thing than the beginning thereof: and the patient in spirit is better than the proud in spirit.” - Ecclesiastes 7:8

Today's Audio Message:
Ecclesiastes 1:1-18 - "God of Every Age"


Today we begin our study in the book of Ecclesiastes from chapter 1.

We all desire meaning in life. That search always takes us along winding paths filled with brief moments of satisfaction that eventually fade.

As we begin our study, we will find that we can all 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, power, careers, wealth, and the depths of the world’s philosophies, we eventually find we’ve come to a dead end in each of these pursuits. As Solomon puts it, vanity (emptiness), vexation of spirit, wanting, madness and folly, not to mention physical exhaustion. Man’s lifework with all of its activity produces limited satisfaction. For all of the vanities described in the Book of Ecclesiastes, the answer is Christ.

The autobiographical profile of the book’s writer unmistakably points to Solomon. There are some commentators who claim that we don’t know who the author is, but the overwhelming evidence is found in verse 1: “The words of the Preacher, the son of David, king in Jerusalem.”   While David had other sons, only Solomon fits these titles. Solomon was the “son of David, king in Jerusalem” (1:1) and “king over Israel in Jerusalem” (1:12). The writings chronicles Solomon’s life (1 Kings 2-11; 3), and the role of one who “taught the people knowledge” and wrote “many proverbs” (Ecclesiastes 12:9) corresponds to his life. All point to Solomon, the son of David, as the author.

Solomon was probably writing in his latter years, primarily to warn the young people of his kingdom, but applies to all.  His message was to avoid walking through life on the path of human wisdom; he exhorted them to live by the revealed wisdom of God which we will later see in Ecclesiastes 12:9–14.

Solomon’s reputation for possessing extraordinary wisdom also fits the Ecclesiastes profile. David recognized his son’s wisdom (1 Kings 2:6, 9) before God gave Solomon an additional measure. Solomon asked God for wisdom, and God gave him wisdom in abundance. After he received a “wise and understanding heart” from the Lord (1 Kings 3:7–12), Solomon gained renown for being exceedingly wise by rendering insightful decisions (1 Kings 3:16–28), a reputation that attracted “all the kings of the earth” to his courts (1 Kings 4:34). In addition, he composed songs and proverbs (1 Kings 4:32; cf. 12:9), activity befitting only the ablest of sages. Solomon’s wisdom, like Job’s wealth, surpassed the wisdom “of all the people of the east” (1 Kings 4:30; Job 1:3).

While this book was written over 3,000 years ago, the message of Ecclesiastes still resonates. The pursuit of things, people, objects, power and pleasure bring nothing more than emptiness. In the pursuit of anything but God, we will always come up wanting. For it is only in the accomplishments of God and His grace that we are perfectly satisfied.

Solomon gives a personal account of his endeavors in what he referred to as “chasing after the wind.” In his quest for exponential wisdom, for satisfaction in every field under the sun, meaning worldly pursuits,  he not only realized how pointless his pursuits were, but also how exhausting they were both physically and spiritually. Although he had gained more knowledge than anyone in Israelite history, he realized that he neither had personal gratification nor the power to alleviate other people’s misery.

The closing remarks of chapter one affirmed that seeking wisdom and satisfaction also unearthed human corruption and desolation - "For in much wisdom is much grief: and he that increaseth knowledge increaseth sorrow" (verse 18).  Keep in mind that Solomon is speaking of worldly wisdom, not the wisdom of God.  Solomon would come to know madness and folly as he foolishly pursued wisdom apart from God.

The key word is “vanity,” which expresses the futile attempt to be satisfied apart from God. All earthly goals and ambitions when pursued as ends in themselves produce only emptiness, because God is God of every age.  He is the Creator, the Maker and Giver of life.  He is the ultimate point of our lives, because He created us for a purpose and for His pleasure.  Apart from God, 
there no point to life, and no purpose or direction to it, either.

The book of Ecclesiastes is applicable to all. Those who listen will benefit from the principles he drew as a result of his experiences. In spite of his foolish behavior and thinking, God took corrective measures in Solomon’s life and drew him back to Himself.

WhitestoneCF Media - Web TV

WhitestoneCF Media - Web TV