Updated: Jan 13, 2019
Ecclesiastes - Reality & Wisdom in the Midst of the Unrealistic & Foolish
1 Kings 3:3-14
Solomon loved the Lord, walking in the statutes of David his father, only he sacrificed and made offerings at the high places. And the king went to Gibeon to sacrifice there, for that was the great high place. Solomon used to offer a thousand burnt offerings on that altar. At Gibeon the Lord appeared to Solomon in a dream by night, and God said, "Ask what I shall give you." And Solomon said, "You have shown great and steadfast love to your servant David my father, because he walked before you in faithfulness, in righteousness, and in uprightness of heart toward you. And you have kept for him this great and steadfast love and have given him a son to sit on his throne this day. And now, O Lord my God, you have made your servant king in place of David my father, although I am but a little child. I do not know how to go out or come in. And your servant is in the midst of your people whom you have chosen, a great people, too many to be numbered or counted for multitude. Give your servant therefore an understanding mind to govern your people, that I may discern between good and evil, for who is able to govern this your great people?"
It pleased the Lord that Solomon had asked this. And God said to him, "Because you have asked this, and have not asked for yourself long life or riches or the life of your enemies, but have asked for yourself understanding to discern what is right, behold, I now do according to your word. Behold, I give you a wise and discerning mind, so that none like you has been before you and none like you shall arise after you. I give you also what you have not asked, both riches and honor, so that no other king shall compare with you, all your days. And if you will walk in my ways, keeping my statutes and my commandments, as your father David walked, then I will lengthen your days."
The Eight Ecclesiastical Mysteries of Life
All is Vanity - (Meaningless and Meaningful)
A Time for Everything - (Priority and Value)
Nothing New Under the Sun - (Negative and Neutralized)
Dust to Dust - (Mortality and Mission)
The Mysterious Ways of God - (The Predictable Ways of Man)
The Work of our Hand - (Legacy of Meaning)
Wisdom and Foolishness - (Beginning and End)
Life Love Laughter - (Family - Faith - Finish)
The eight profound mysteries of life? Solomon will even say there are more, but we will focus on these eight as "The Mysteries of Life." Let’s start with a biblical premise:
In life, in nature, in our humanity, God reveals Himself to us in Christ. Yet there certainly remains before us many profound elements of mystery within the mind and heart of God. (Romans 1:18-22, Ephesian 1:9-10
Ecclesiastes, will teach us WISDOM KEYS that will unlock significant of understanding to these mysteries. We will call those wisdom keys Ecclesiastical Wisdom - they are as follows:
The Key to Life's Mysteries are Found in God - Not in the Wisdom or Actions of Man.
The Key to Life's Mysteries are Found in Actual Faith - Not Virtual Faith (Mere Knowledge).
The Key to Life's Mysteries are Found in Family - Not in Positions, Possessions or Wealth.
The Ecclesiastical Keys lead us to an understanding and value of the essential God given blessings and pleasures of life: faith, family, work, friends, food etc. - meant to provide happiness in this life. These blessings and pleasures will remain in place for us through all of life (good and bad) if we choose to acknowledge and embrace them. They do not leave us or just disappear when life does not turn out as we want or expect it to - they re-manifest and re-express themselves in deeper meanings, mysterious ways and eventual outcomes. Meanings, mysteries, and eventuality are only discovered through intimate faith and trust in God. Faith and trust continued even during times of suffering, sorrow and surrender. Many have found themselves right there - tainted and torn by the tragic and often times cruel unpredictability of life. Unable to make the choice to reconcile real life tragedy and cruelty enough to recover and redirect toward healthy living and hopeful outlooks. Many people simply just flounder and drown themselves and others around them in the hate and hostility of brokenness. Others seem to give themselves over to negative responses and a cynical outlook that feeds unhealthy pessimism and mean-spirited sarcasm - using words and body-language that crush and derail the faith of others.
There is another path that has become even more well-traveled in response to life tragedy and unmet expectations - it is the path of agnostic unbelief and cultural narcissism. That path leads to oblivion - because it only leads away from God (hope) and into itself (hopeless). It seeks for more than you and I can possibly give and for far more than God intended for this life to give. We do not live to ourselves for ourselves - we live to others for others - after that, we truly live. This is not complicated but it is profound.
Ecclesiastes will lead us to see that the next life is veiled, but that for those who have used these keys of Ecclesiastical Wisdom to unlock its mysteries - God IS there! We will finally see that a revelation of life does not reveal all - but God's revelation of LIFE IN CHRIST will reveal all that is needed and all that is to come.
We are going to find reality and wisdom in the midst of the unrealistic and foolish. Here is our focus for that mission the next few weeks. We are going to tackle the mysteries of life that Ecclesiastes so profoundly addresses.
So my invitation to is that you allow negative and defensive walls to come down, that you open your mind to the process of realistic conversation and meaningful dialogue, and finally open your heart to the contemplative and meditative process of the word of God through which the wisdom of God is revealed to you and those you love. Many of the answers about the mysteries and realities of life that you seek are found within the Ecclesiastical wisdom of Solomon - join this journey.