Saturday, February 5, 2022

Observing Solomon - Through the Lens of Scripture

People don't quote Ecclesiastes much....

Have you ever noticed that people don't quote Ecclesiastes or Song of Solomon nearly as much as the rest of the scripture? I have some observations on that.

Why Don’t People Quote Ecclesiastes or the Song of Solomon? 

    Have you ever noticed people rarely quote Ecclesiastes or the  Song of Solomon to make a foundational point? I have been reading and listening to the bible for decades and I have noticed that I rarely have a scripture from either of these two books at the ready to make a point.  I wanted to dig deeper into why this is the case. 
    It takes a few bible readings before this pattern emerges. I have private messaged a few of my friends, and looked into forums, and have found that what I am tackling is not very easy to find.   It simply isn’t talked about very much if at all. 
    It takes quite a few bible readings to start noticing this pattern.  But, as I trudged through these books again in my daily bible reading plan, I began questioning why I don’t see these as foundational books.  I subconsciously consider them supplemental at best.

All Scripture is God breathed. 

    Yes all scripture is inspired by God but some appear to be weighter than others. Jesus talks about the weightier matters of the law (Matthew 23:23-28). Jesus also takes authority on the sermon on the mount, when He says : “you have heard it said by them of old time” , but then says, “but I is say unto you”.  One cannot help but apply more weight to what Jesus says because He is our Lord.  Our Lord seems to be correcting what  others have previously taught.  I believe we should pay attention to this, because we can learn from it. 
    Jesus emphasizes that whosoever keeps HIS sayings in Matt 7 will do well as if they built their house upon the rock (Matthew 7:24-27).  In John 8, Jesus says if we continue in His word we are his disciples in deed (John 8:31,32).  Continuing in His Words lead to freedom! 
    Yes, all scripture is God breathed, but it appears that some have more weight and authority than others.

We don’t quote Satan or Eliphaz for a reason

    All scripture is inspired but there are people that we should not follow that speak in scripture.  We can see that Satan speaks in the bible several times, keeping in mind this is scripture.  We would be best served to not do what the devil says, or we would be the disciples of Satan.
    There are other questionable people that speak in the bible, like Eliphaz the Temanite. I hear people quote Eliphaz a lot in the church even today (esp Job 22:28).  God directly rebukes Eliphaz  to his face in Job 42:7.  Obviously we don’t want to give Eliphaz the same weight as what God says in scripture. 
    Did you know pharaoh king of Egypt and Nebuchadnezzar also speak in the bible? The Pharisees and Sadducees do as well!  But we would be well served to give more significance to what Jesus says rather than put all scripture on equal footing.

David compared to Solomon

    When I think of David, I think about how God applauds David even though he did many things wrong.  I thing about how David loved and thirsted for God.  David was quick to repent, and spent time fasting and praying and seeking the spirit of God. 
    When I think of Solomon, I think of his riches, how he built the temple, how he loved wisdom, his many wives, and how his wives caused him to fall away from God.  
    It is as if when Solomon was writing proverbs, he could see his own downfall coming. He kept writing about how not to follow strange women.  This was prophetic because he actually followed strange women and worshiped other gods as a result.
    There is a huge contrast between David and Solomon.  David learned by experience, and Solomon learned by sitting on Davids lap hearing of his exploits. 
    Sometimes we have to learn by actually experiencing something. Experience often trumps book learning. Experience is a superior teacher. 

David and Solomon on Love 

    One of the interesting studies I did was on the word ‘love’ and how it was used in the scriptures between Psalms, Proverbs, Song of Solomon and Ecclesiastes.  
    We can easily infer that David loves God.  Solomon emphasizes his love for wisdom.  In the podcast I did a comparison.  

    The word ‘love’ is used in 27 verses in the book of Proverbs but it is mainly talking about loving wisdom.  The Psalms talk bout love mainly in reference to loving God.  
There are no verses in Solomons writings  that have the two words  ‘Love’ and ‘Lord’ in them. 
There is only one verse that has the two words ‘love’ and ‘god’ in the books Solomon wrote. 
Here it is:
For all this I considered in my heart even to declare all this, that the righteous, and the wise, and their works, are in the hand of God: no man knoweth either love or hatred by all that is before them.
(Ecc 9:1 KJV)
Even this isolated passage does not have a reference to loving the Lord.  
It is clear that David talks about loving God quite a bit, however Solomon does not. 

Did Solomon forsake his calling? 

    This is one of the big points that leaps out at me. In Solomons original dream, he asks God for wisdom to judge His people.  God is excited about that request and gives Solomon wisdom and riches.  Solomon was obviously stoked! 
    Solomon asked for wisdom to judge the people, however we only hear of one account of him actually judging the people after that. The account with the two harlots and the baby (1 Kings 3:16-28).  Then for the rest of the time in kings and in chronicles we see that Solomon is busy doing other things. Getting wives, worshiping other gods, etc… but we don’t see him doing any judging at least in scripture anyways. If it is there, I have missed it.  
    I know that is wrong to try to make an argument from silence, but this silence is deafening.  Keep in mind, Moses judged the people all day.  It was wearing him out!  Jethro convinced Moses to delegate the easier judgment to other people.   This event with Moses made scripture, but the judgment of Solomon doesn’t seem to be there. Again, we cannot make an argument from silence but I do want to point this out.

Scripture is inspired, through faith in Christ

    And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.
(2Ti 3:15-17 KJV)

    We hear a lot of people quote 2 Timothy 3:16,17 but people strangely leave out the verse before it that sets it all up.  This is problematic. 
    “And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.” 2 Timothy 3:15
    Notice that scriptures should be looked at through the lens of our faith in Christ! When we are reading the bible, this passage encourages us to look at it through the lens of what Jesus said. 
    I like to balance the precepts by seeing how anything we read agrees or contrasts with what Jesus says.  Notice that Jesus says that He is greater than Solomon (Luke 11:31).   That should be a clue to look at what Solomon says in light of what Jesus says.

You May also like BEWARE OF THE SCRIBES part 1   Why Does Jesus tell us to beware of the Scribes?  How does it apply to us today? 

Solomon Fell Away

    While Ecclesiastes is considered scripture, how much weight does it hold in comparison to what Jesus says?  What was his spiritual state when he wrote it? Does it matter? 
    We see that God talked to Solomon twice and then the third time rebukes him.  This scripture is for our instruction. Ecclesiastes seems to leave me with many questions! 
    What is something that we can learn from Ecclesiastes? 
     Is it that we should pay attention to how Solomon focuses on loving wisdom?  
    Does Solomon love wisdom too much? 
    Should we learn that he followed many strange women and backslid as a result? 
    Does exalting wisdom too much cause you to backslide? 
    Do we look at Ecclesiastes as advice for how to live our lives? 
    Or do we look at it as an example of what not to do? 
    Maybe both? 
    You be the judge! 

    Solomon does come to a conclusion at the end of Ecclesiastes. 

Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man. For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil.
(Ecclesiastes 12:13-14)

    Notice that Solomon begins with fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and then he ends up with pretty much the same advice. 

Let me know what you think

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