The Best of the Uselss Choices

I saw that wisdom is better than folly, just as light is better than darkness.  The wise man has eyes in his head, while the fool walks in darkness; but I came to realize that the same fate overtakes them both.  Ecclesiastes 2:13, 14.

 

Remember Solomon is speaking from a point of no eternal hope.  He has no knowledge of Jesus or any real understanding of redemption as we know it because that revelation had not been born or even clarified until Isaiah’s time.  I’ve heard critiques of his POV and wondered how anyone would think to dismiss the truth in his words just because he lacked the knowledge of salvation in its revelation through Christ.  I know that in past discussions on this blog I’ve called the Jewish leaders on the carpet for rejecting Jesus, but they were different in some respects to Solomon for they watched a revelation unfold in front of their eyes and still chose to crucify Him.  Their POV held more value to them than the God they claimed to serve.

Solomon’s wisdom guided him to experiment with life, sure, and he failed God badly, but in the end this book declares the simple profound truth of what he discovered about our bottom line as humans.  In this declaration he left nothing to doubt but openly stated God should be our number one priority.  By this statement of loyalty, I see a sliver of hope for redemption for this wayward king.  I know the story, but I think this book opens a window into this man’s soul, jaded, bitter and remorseful as it was.  I believe, though, had he met Jesus, wisdom would’ve won him over to follow Him.  It might seem to be an assumption on my part, yet look at the evidence written here in the book and you’ll see this man was guided by wisdom.  The only wisdom which exists comes from God and even those who don’t acknowledge ours as Lord of the universe cannot attain any platform of wisdom without tapping into His mind directly or indirectly.

The difference wisdom brings to a life over one of foolishness is being able to see versus being left in the dark.  Clarity brings a certain satisfaction to it that ignorance can never attain.  The old sarcastic saying, “Ignorance is bliss,” communicates the stark line between reality and fantasy.  The wise at least are able to enjoy all that life has to offer without being ruled by anything.  In other words, though the wise understand the futility of chasing the temporary pleasures of life on earth, they also know that these pleasures are supplied by God for mankind to enjoy.  They were never meant to be lasting things, so trying to capture them is chasing the wind.

 

So I hated life, because the work that is done under the sun was grievous to me.  All of it is meaningless, a chasing after the wind.  I hated all the things I had toiled for under the sun, because I must leave them to the one who comes after me.  And who knows whether he will be a wise man or a fool?  Yet he will have control over all the work into which I have poured my effort and skill under the sun.  This too is meaningless.  2:17-19.

 

The wise man dies and leaves all he worked so hard for to someone else—not knowing whether his successor will treat it wisely or squander it foolishly.  There’s something to this which is best understood in verse 22-24:

 

What does a man get for all the toil and anxious striving with which he labors under the sun?  All his days his work is pain and grief; even at night his mind does not rest.  This too is meaningless.

            A man can do nothing better than to eat and drink and find satisfaction in his work.  This too, I see, is from the hand of God, for without Him, who can eat or find enjoyment.

 

The problem with those given over to death is that our Designer never intended us for sin, which in turn means we weren’t designed to die.  Our accomplishments were meant to be enjoyed forever as we grew into more and more able projects.  The heart which sins dies; and any heart which is born under our sun is subject to sin therefore subject to death, which brings futility with it.

But do you see how smoothly Solomon brought God into the picture?  He makes it abundantly clear that a man cannot find satisfaction or enjoyment without Him.  This is what convinces me that Solomon repented at the end of his life because he writes this truth down for his posterity to ponder.  He’d spent his life searching out what was good for man to do under heaven and finally comes to this conclusion, which is quite telling coming from such a wealthy and accomplished man.  Yet he adds a promise to his statement above that takes us one step further into God’s mind, verse 26:

 

To the man who pleases Him, God gives wisdom, knowledge and happiness, but to the sinner He gives the task of gathering and storing up wealth to hand it over the one who pleases God.  This to is meaningless, a chasing after the wind.

 

How this works out for those who follow God is not clarified in Solomon’s statement of God’s intent.  As a follower of Christ I know how the promise works itself out in the end.  Solomon saw a bare glimpse of the fact in his day from a limited perspective of the works of God.  Jesus revealed the true meaning behind these words by showing us the wealth of God grew in our spirits—those who worship Him will do so in spirit and in truth.  What we possess or own is of little consequence to God, rather the truest form of wealth is in who we are in Christ; that pearl of great price, the treasure we would sacrifice all we have to obtain.

Still, even in the temporary wealth we gain on earth, the promise of wisdom, knowledge and happiness proves a sure thing.  Yet we need to clarify at this point just who the sinner is in contrast to the man who pleases God.  Through Christ we know a righteousness based on faith and not works —for without faith it is impossible to please Him.  Therefore this promise is for those who walk by faith in Christ for they alone please God.  We are all sinners, for sure, but those found to have a righteousness not of their own but through Jesus move from death to life—the greatest treasure of all.

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One Response to “The Best of the Uselss Choices”

  1. tlc4women Says:

    I’m so glad that I was born this side of the cross.

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