Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Wisdom Wednesday: Ecclesiastes 4: Oppression and the pressure of being king

Hey gang!

Well, it’s one of the last four times we’ll see the month, day and year be all the same, at least in this century. If you’ve been following Wisdom Wednesday, you know that we are in the book of Ecclesiastes and in Chapter 4 today.

Solomon begins with an interesting comparison between a person that is being oppressed, a dead man and one that has not lived yet saying that the one that has not lived is the best off because he has not been on earth to live under the stress of human life. He then goes into verse 4 stating that all men labor and achieve simply due to envying his neighbor. Sounds sad that the best reason for achievement is to say I’m better than you.

In verse 5, the fool is folding his hands to give up, not to pray. He figures quietness is better than hard work. Verses 7-8 talk of a man that works hard without family or friends. Without God, this toil is also meaningless.

Verses 9-12 tell us that coming together as two or even three or more is great because of the comfort in companionship. They can keep each other warm and help in defense of the other. Verse 12 tells us that a three strand cord is not quickly broken. The more brothers together is a comfort and a strength.

In verses 13-16, Solomon tells us a little about himself and what he has figured out in this life. He has a much better memory of good times as a youth that was poor rather than as a rich king, with wealth and knowledge. He tells us of how people followed him because of his wisdom as a child, but waned in pleasure of him as he grew old. He adds that this is meaningless too.

I thought of a question that I would love to ask Solomon after reading this chapter. Do you think that he regrets ever being king? I mean, he could’ve folded and allowed his brother to become king in 2 Kings 2. But he didn’t.

I think about how he had everything. He had wealth beyond his wildest dreams. He had knowledge above any king before or since. But the sin of choosing non-Israelite women took him down as 2 Kings 12 tells us. Does he regret the women? Maybe. Would he have done it the same? Could we imagine had Solomon stayed true to the Israelite women and been like his father? Truthfully, we know that that fall of the kings could’ve happened at any point, but it is interesting to think that after David that God became so displeased with Solomon that the northern tribes split and began the downhill slide.

When I think of Solomon, I think of kids of legends. The pressure they feel, I would imagine, is immense. I think of Ken Griffey Jr. playing so well after Ken Griffey Sr. retired. I think of the popularity of Joel Osteen after his father John passed several years back. Would you want to follow a legendary anything? Would the pressure be something that bothered you? Why do you feel that way?

Those are enough questions for now. We’ll move on to Chapter 5 next Wednesday.

I love you guys!
Frank

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