Daily Readings & Thought for April 23rd. “THIS WAS MY REWARD”
Today’s readings.. (Deuteronomy6,7), (Ecclesiastes 2), (John 19)
We continue on from some of our thoughts yesterday on how the wisest of kings, Solomon, reflected on what his life had really achieved. In reading Ecclesiastes, we perceive his remarkable insight into the meaning and purpose, from a human perspective, of all that exists and our interaction with them in our lives. What do his insights reveal?.
Solomon uses his wisdom to accomplish everything possible. His second chapter details this, “ … my heart still guiding me with wisdom … I made great works, I built houses and planted vineyards … made myself gardens and parks and planted in them all kinds of fruit trees. I made myself pools … had slaves … also great possessions of herds … also gathered for myself silver and gold … I got singers … many concubines … so I became great and surpassed all who were before me … whatever my eyes desired I did not keep from them. I kept my heart from no pleasure … this was my reward for all my toil” [v.3-11]
Note his conclusion! “this was my reward” – but note even more his next comment, “then I considered all that I had done and the toil I had expended.” – and what does he see as the outcome of his considerations? “Behold, all was vanity and a striving after wind.” Other versions have, “I saw everything was emptiness and chasing the wind” (NEB) “meaningless” (NIV). Solomon saw that human lives have no lasting substance. Yet we all strive after things we can possess and experience, we may these days, for example, travel to many parts of the world but, let us recognise that, at the end of the day there is nothing ‘eternal’ in what we have experienced or achieved! Solomon then declared “so I hated life” [v.17] A remarkable comment!
It seems evident he wrote this near the end of his life; he lacked the vision that his father David possessed when he wrote a Psalm and commented about “men of the world whose portion is in this life” – but in the next verse David said to his Creator, “As for me, I shall behold your face in righteousness; when I awake, I shall be satisfied with your likeness.” [Psa. 17 v.14,15] What will we be satisfied with?
Those who read Ecclesiastes should look into the mirror of their hearts and consider their ambitions – and what they mean – or do not mean – in the eternal perspective of their future..