Saturday, July 16, 2022

The Revelation To Solomon

Bobservations Column
Pastor Bob Lawrenz

As we begin with Chapter 9 of this most intricate book, we find that Solomon continues to write out the revelation that God is bestowing upon him, a bit at a time. The sub-heading in my Bible for this chapter is “the unfolding, continued.” While we can immediately relate it to Revelation 1 as the Alpha and Omega charges John to record the past, the present, and the future: “the things which thou hast seen, and the things which are, and the things which shall be hereafter;”

It is the story-line of the entire Bible, as He reveals Himself to the world. It is His-story, in the context of His interactions with all mankind since the beginning of time. It’s a part of World History you never learned in school.

Solomon writes of the things he has observed, the things which were current at the time of his writing, and the things which would always be, namely, God being in control of all the minutia of life on earth, for all of time.

Our God is an eternal God, lest we forget. And as we read in the 7th chapter, He knows the end from the beginning. Clearly, He knows our end, which should give us pause to think about our life choices, habits, and behaviors.

The Bible is the story of God revealing Himself to His Creation. And as in any active relationship, the parties get to know each other better and better through their interactions. The only difference in God’s story is that He had all this planned “in the beginning.” It’s important to remember that the 66 books of the Bible were written by 40 different scribes and prophets over a period of some 1,5000 years. God reveals Himself to every generation, in every era, a little bit at a time, just enough to stretch our faith, and cause our belief to deepen.
~ God and Moses ~

“And the LORD said, Behold, there is a place by me, and thou shalt stand upon a rock: and it shall come to pass, while my glory passeth by, that I will put thee in a clift of the rock, and will cover thee with my hand while I pass by: And I will take away mine hand, and thou shalt see my back parts: but my face shall not be seen.  - Exodus 33:21-23 

Today's Audio Message:
Ecclesiastes 9:1-18 - "The Revelation to Solomon"


As we begin Ecclesiastes chapter 9, Solomon is understanding the futility of life, yet He also knows that God is the One who controls all things.

By this point, Solomon has walked through all of life, pondering deeply about life’s true meaning while conducting his own experiments. He's thought about it all. Knowledge, money, power, pleasure, relationships, government, happiness -- all of it. And he ends up in the same place every time: we're all going to die. It doesn't matter how rich, wise, powerful, beloved, or successful you are, every person who lives will die. Perhaps facing his own mortality, he is forced to put his own thoughts into a new perspective. He seems to gain some hope in this chapter but ends up coming to the wrong conclusion.

Much of Ecclesiastes is his coming to grips with the shortness of life and thinking hard about the things that seem meaningless in retrospect. For the believer, it is a call to refocus our priorities.

(Ecclesiastes 9:1-3) - In spite of Solomon's wisdom, he had become very aware that he could never really understand the mind of God and His future plans for mankind. He sees that all things come to all men alike as far as the circumstances of this life are concerned. See: Matthew 5:45. Much of life is inexplicable -- "good" things happening to "bad" people, and "bad" things happening to "good" people. Solomon always came back to one fundamental truth: no one knows what is going to happen to you tomorrow; all you can know is you are one day closer to your death. While Solomon was right in his observations, he was wrong in his interpretations.

From a limited human perspective, it would seem that that “this is an evil among all things that are done under the sun” (verse 3). We have no way of knowing if a "bad" thing happens from (1) God's punishment, (2) God's discipline, (3) God's work in someone else's life, or (4) just happenstance of living in a broken world. Human wisdom can never answer the why of it all. "Bad" things happening are not indicative of God's love or hate toward anyone. Every day we live is in God's hands, and we don't know what tomorrow holds, perhaps a car accident, a sudden illness, an economic downturn, but we can know the One who holds the future in His hands. That should give every Christian hope and confidence.

Ecclesiastes 9:4-10 - You don't have to understand Solomon's pessimism to understand his conclusion that as long as someone is alive, there's hope for them. Death is an intrusion into the life that God created for us, a consequence of human sin. Death is a taking away of God's great gift of life. Also, death for those apart from Jesus is the greatest loss possible. Any day that a non-Christian can continue to live is another day they might repent and turn to Jesus.  But for us, for those who believe in Jesus, death is not a loss. In fact, death is gain! (Philippians 1:21). If you want to be encouraged to this end, read 1 Corinthians 15; Romans 14:8.

Solomon exhorts the wise to have joyful confidence in God whatever their condition in life. He offers some good advice in these next few verses. One example in verse 7, enjoy the fruit of your labor. Bread and wine were the staples of the region (no coincidence that Jesus chose bread and wine for the Lord's Supper), and most of the people were involved in agriculture in some way. One way or another, bread and wine is what they got from their labor, so they may as well enjoy it.

In verse 9 he describes “the life of thy vanity” or emptiness. What a complete contrast to the life we have in Christ. We have joy in our salvation. It is not temporary but eternal. In Christ, we are regenerated, renewed, and a new creation. We are made alive with Him and can rejoice in our Savior who makes all things possible. We are loved, forgiven, and secure. What a wonderful Savior is Christ!

Verse 10 (see also Colossians 3:23). "Whatever you hand finds to do, do it with all your might."  Do your BEST work.  God does not expect us to do more than we are able, but He does expect us to do it right and as unto Him.

Verse 11 - 18 - The humanistic notion that time and chance, rather than God, seem to affect many human activities. In verse 11, because unexpected situations develop that affect the activities and their outcomes. The rationalist may attribute all this to chance, but the believer may well believe that God has intervened in answer to prayer. Solomon is presenting this in humanistic context because he is evaluating such events as those reasoning “under the sun” would see them.

As already noted, God establishes and controls the timing of events in each individual life (Ecclesiastes 3:1-8) and also that He has established a time for judgment (Ecclesiastes 8:6) with good and bad coming respectively for the godly and ungodly (Ecclesiastes 8:12-13).

He gives a sort of parable to this effect (vs 14-15). A Poor wise man was able to save a city by his wise counsel…God’s appointed time. The sad aftermath of the event, however, was that the “poor man’s wisdom is despised, and his words are not heard” (vs.16). How similar to Jesus who was despised and rejected.

It is generally true that “the words of wise men are heard in quiet”, the world lacks appreciation for truth and wisdom. One sinner can undermine much good, in verse 18. It was Jeroboam who won over the ten northern tribes of Solomon’s kingdom from Solomon’s son, and soon led the whole nation into idolatry (1 Kings 22:5).

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