I Chronicles 29:11 "Thine, O LORD, is the greatness, and the power, and the glory, and the victory, and the majesty:for all that is in the heaven and in the earth is thine; thine is the kingdom, O LORD, and thou art exalted as head above all."

Monday, June 20, 2011

Poor Solomon

You may think that's a weird title for a post, especially considering who it's about. This is a man who was given everything. He asked for wisdom only, and God also gave him riches and honor. He had everything he could ever need or want. Why "Poor Solomon"?


Well, I was reading this morning in Ecclesiastes, and came across this verse:

Ecclesiastes 1:18 "For in much wisdom is much grief: and he that increaseth knowledge increaseth sorrow."

I never thought of the gifts God gave him as being a burden. I thought they were a blessing. Being wise enough to handle all the problems he would face. I have often thought, in the raising of my girls, that I would love to have the wisdom of Solomon...sure would help when I don't know who wrote on the mirror with lipstick, or threw all the clean laundry in the clothes hamper because they didn't want to put it away...

But when I think back to when God originally gave him the wisdom, it explains how vast that wisdom really was:

30And Solomon's wisdom excelled the wisdom of all the children of the east country, and all the wisdom of Egypt. he was wiser than all men; than Ethan the Ezrahite, and Heman, and Chalcol, and Darda, the sons of Mahol: and his fame was in all nations round about.32And he spake three thousand proverbs: and his songs were a thousand and five.33And he spake of trees, from the cedar tree that is in Lebanon even unto the hyssop that springeth out of the wall: he spake also of beasts, and of fowl, and of creeping things, and of fishes. 34And there came of all people to hear the wisdom of Solomon, from all kings of the earth, which had heard of his wisdom.

He was wiser than the Egyptians! And all the wisdom of the east! These are the ancient civilizations the world digs up and stands in awe of how "advanced" their cities were, and their use of language is praised time and again. They were the source of knowledge in their time. And yet Solomon, this one man, had more wisdom than them all.

He could speak on trees, and birds, and animals, and fish and creeping things. Word of his wisdom spread so that kings from all over the world came to hear him speak. Maybe he told stories of these animals, or maybe he gave exciting lectures on the things he had learned from God. We know he solved the problems of the people in a wise way.

And yet, it was a burden. With much wisdom is much grief. Earlier in this chapter, Solomon says he was acquainted with all things that were done under the sun. With his penchant for trying out anything and everything (like he did with the women of the world), he also says he gave his heart over to seeking the knowledge of all things done under heaven.

So he had seen nothing new. People were fickle and forgot what things had been before...he says from generation to generation nothing new happens, we've just forgotten what we've done before. Maybe it has a new name, or a new style, but it's the same old thing.

So, I can feel for Solomon. It's like when you talk to a person who is close to, or over 100 years old. They've seen so much and experienced so much, that they know there's nothing new. They also know they don't want to continue living forever.

Solomon was definitely frustrated with his life at this point. He said all was folly and vexation of spirit. Maybe he was looking back on a wasted life and a wasted gift. Maybe he was repenting of his former lifestyle and wishing he had made better choices.

I know that when I was reading these verses this morning, it encouraged me to not waste the knowledge or gifts God has given me. I don't want to come to the end of my life full of regret, and wishing I had done better.

So, I do say poor Solomon. Poor man that he couldn't get a grip on his desires. Poor man that everyone around him wanted something from him. Poor man that he chose wrong things.

I love it when God warns me of something through another's experience so I can avoid the same mistakes. I believe God was merciful to Solomon, as he is merciful to us.

Any thoughts?

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