Often things in life don't happen in a straight line, there are twists and turns... but God's word can keep up on the straight and narrow.
[Darris McNeely] Nothing in life happens in a straight line. And stop and think about that. There's a lot of truth to it. Things impact us that we don't always have control over, people who come into our lives, job changes, changes in the economy, people and their lives, divorce, death, other problems.
And no matter how well-intentioned we are, no matter how well-guided we might be, sometimes things happen that kind of cause us to veer off or create difficulties. It's an important thing to learn because it's how we react in those moments that's important.
I bring this up because I recently did a personal study into the life of Solomon through the book of Ecclesiastes. And the lens of that book offers us so much in just rich understanding about life and this very thing I'm talking about that nothing in life happens in a straight line.
When you read the book of Ecclesiastes, sometimes, and you probably have experienced this, you wonder, wow, this is kind of negative, or what does this really mean? What is he really saying? There's enigmas there and there is straightforward instruction as well.
When you look at the life of Solomon, in connection with the Book of Ecclesiastes, you can learn a number of things. When Solomon came to the throne of Israel upon the death of his father, David, and you look at that story as it's told back in the Old Testament, you will see that Solomon had to do a number of things. First of all, his brother tried to usurp the throne, and they had to do a hurry-up coronation for him and he became the king.
But then his father, David, on his deathbed says, "You need to take care of some unfinished business. There's a few people here that you're going to have to deal with." There was an Adonijah who had tried to take the throne. There was a Joab, David's general, who didn't always do things right.
And then there was a guy named Shimei who had cursed David when he was fleeing Jerusalem at the time of Absalom's rebellion. David told Solomon, "You need to take care of these people." And in that neighborhood and that time, what that meant was that Solomon had to eliminate them. And he did.
And we read that and we think about is that righteous? Is that good? What does this mean? Well, it means what it means. Solomon had to eliminate these men to secure his time on the throne following the advice of his father, David, who you remember, was a man after God's own heart. The Old Testament gives us a lot of stories about the reality of human nature and life, and what that world and that time was really like.
I'm a big film fan. One of my movies that I've watched a few times is "The Godfather." Some of you will know the line there that is very famous, "It's not personal, it's strictly business." And in a sense, Solomon had to take his father, David's advice and do some bad things as we would look at them and eliminate some people to secure the throne for the continuance of the nation.
You know, the business of a kingdom, the business of a church, the business of an empire, of government, of life, is messy. It's not always a straight line. And we see that in the Bible a lot. People, money, power, the cults of personality create difficulties.
And then, when you look at the Book of Ecclesiastes, there's one phrase in here that kind of helps, I think, frame what Solomon had to do. It's in Chapter 7, beginning in verse 15. Solomon writes, "I have seen everything in this meaningless life, including the death of good, young people and the long life of wicked people. So don't be too good or too wise. Why destroy yourself?"
What's he saying? Don't be too good. Don't be too wise. How can you be too good or too wise? On the other hand, don't be too wicked either. Don't be a fool. Why die before your time? And then he concludes, he says, "Pay attention to these instructions. For anyone who fears God will avoid both extremes."
The New King James translation puts it, "To grasp to one as you seek to understand as you do the other." Be righteous but seek to grasp in terms of understanding why the world works the way it does, and why does wickedness prevail at times or seem to prevail.
Not that we turn to the wicked side, but we have to understand human nature and the why and the wherefores of the world and human nature. And the story of Solomon, as he took the throne, certain lessons from the Book of Ecclesiastes, point us in the direction that helps us to understand that nothing in life happens in a straight line.
We're to hold on to righteousness, no question about that, and seek to understand at times why unrighteousness draws people, and so that in the end, we are wiser and that we resist, and we stay to the straight line of God's way of life. That's an important lesson from the life of Solomon through the lens of Ecclesiastes.
That's "BT Daily." Join us next time.