A life lived away from God ultimately leads us nowhere, to an empire of dirt.
[Darris McNeely] One of my favorite music videos was done by one of my favorite musical artists, the late Johnny Cash. He did a video called "Hurt" off of a song that was authored by a musician named Trent Reznor, and it's called by some the best music video that's ever been done. There's a scene in there where Johnny Cash is talking about his empire of dirt and he's kind of moving away all of these accolades, and trophies, and prizes through his lifetime of stardom and music, and he's basically calling it from the words of that song "An empire of dirt, you can have it all." Quite a thought. Quite a summation in some ways.
I've been thinking about the life of Solomon, looking at it through the lens of the Book of Ecclesiastes. And I thought about that song, and that music video, and an empire of dirt when I read the words of Ecclesiastes 2:10 Ecclesiastes 2:10And whatever my eyes desired I kept not from them, I withheld not my heart from any joy; for my heart rejoiced in all my labor: and this was my portion of all my labor.
American King James Version×where Solomon writes, "Whatever my eyes desired, I did not keep from them, I did not withhold my heart from any pleasure, for my heart rejoiced in my labor and this was my reward from all my labor. I looked at all the works my hands had done and all the labor at which I toiled, and indeed" he writes "all was vanity and grasping for the wind. There was no profit under the sun." All vanity, grasping for the wind. That was Solomon's way of saying, "My empire of dirt, you can have it all." But Solomon wrote that many thousands of years ago, at a different time but the lessons are still there, and the futility of life, the vanity of life as he calls it, is still there.
When you look at the life of Solomon, I've talked in the few dailies here about his ascension to the throne, the time that he reigned. And when you look then at the...in the sense the third act of his life that the Bible records, the ending of his life. The Bible tells us that he didn't end too well. He let his many, many foreign wives bring in their gods and false religions and he turned into a lot of them and brought that into the country. 1 Kings 11:1 1 Kings 11:1But king Solomon loved many strange women, together with the daughter of Pharaoh, women of the Moabites, Ammonites, Edomites, Zidonians, and Hittites:
American King James Version×, there are several verses that describe exactly how far Solomon turned from the obedience to God that he pledged at the beginning of his reign, and what he did. He brought in false gods and goddesses, it says in verse 6, "He did evil in the sight of the Lord, and did not fully follow the Lord as did his father, David." He was overcome by power, by money, by the fame, and he comes under some very strong denunciation here by God. It says in verse 9, "The Lord became angry with Solomon because his heart had turned from the Lord God of Israel, who had appeared to him twice." And he turned from those statutes, and the laws, and the commandments of God and introduced a completely different lifestyle and religion within Israel. And the story kind of ends there.
God kind of preserves him for the sake of His former pledge to David, his father, but the story kind of ends right there on a downer note. Sometimes people wonder what is Solomon's eternal fate? The Bible doesn't really tell us that directly but I think when you understand the plan of God, the purpose of God, the purpose for Israel as a nation, and how Solomon played into that, I think that there's reason to expect that God has not yet finished with Solomon. That in His overall plan of salvation for mankind, that Solomon may yet rise and have an opportunity to repent and truly learn the full wisdom of God through Jesus Christ, and the sacrifice, and what that means for the plan of God.
Because I've kind of looked at the life of Solomon through the lens of the book he wrote, Ecclesiastes. As I've said, it is a long and winding road. And, I think at the end of the book of Ecclesiastes there's a little ray of understanding that maybe we should at least end on to be the final saying about Solomon's life. It's at the end of chapter 12 of Ecclesiastes. He says, "The whole duty of man is to fear God and to keep the commandments." Was that his final testament? His final words, conclusion? After all that he surveyed about his own life and his ups and downs, and how far he had strayed from God, was there a last-minute realization that brought him to understand and leave us those words to fear God and to keep the commandments?
Well, I think that that record speaks for itself and it certainly speaks to us to pick ourselves up when along that long and winding road we might stumble, we might fall, we might veer off in a different direction, God's mercy, God's grace is very, very generous. We can repent, we can come back, we can dust ourselves off, and we can keep moving forward in a straight line on the journey toward righteousness and toward God's coming kingdom. After all, the words that were still the most important for us to remember out of the Book of Ecclesiastes, and maybe that's what Solomon himself learned, that the whole duty for our life is to fear God and keep the commandments. Some important lessons to learn, and to think about as we look at the life of Solomon through the lens of the Book of Ecclesiastes and draw those lessons down into your life today.
That's BT daily, join us next time.