If it all comes out the same in the wash “under the sun,” then truly, “behold, all is vanity and a striving after wind” under the sun (Eccl. 1:14).
Hovering over the first-half of Ecclesiastes 2 this morning. Amazed at how aware, it would seem, the “Preacher” was with his experimentation.
I said in my heart, “Come now, I will test you with pleasure; enjoy yourself.” But behold, this also was vanity. I said of laughter, “It is mad,” and of pleasure, “What use is it?” I searched with my heart how to cheer my body with wine — my heart still guiding me with wisdom — and how to lay hold on folly, till I might see what was good for the children of man to do under heaven during the few days of their life.
(Ecclesiastes 2:1-3 ESV)
Solomon knew the word of God and therefore knew what was good for the children of man to do — love the LORD your God with all your heart (Deut. 6:5). Instead, he released his heart, though blessed of heaven itself with wisdom (1Kings 4:29), to pursue how to lay hold of folly.
What a contrast between Proverbs and Ecclesiastes. In Proverbs folly is the enemy of wisdom, wisdom the remedy for folly. But later in life it seems Solomon got bored with things above and focused exclusively on things under the sun, leveraging wisdom to experiment with folly.
Not exactly sure how to articulate it, but sure feels like there’s a lesson to be learned hear, a warning to be heeded. Something to the effect that when we become preoccupied with life “under the sun” there’s no telling what we might play with in order to have “fun in the sun” — even to the point of getting severely “sun burned.” And what’s the “sunscreen?” A view of life beyond the sun.
If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory.
(Colossians 3:1-4 ESV)
I’m no Solomon, but if Christ is the personification of wisdom (and I think He is), then just like David’s son I have been divinely infused with wisdom because my life is hidden with Christ in God. My heart has been redeemed, regenerated, and retooled to process wisdom in a way it never could have when it was a heart dead in trespass and sin.
So, what am I gonna do with my heart? Evidently, it’s somewhat dependent on where I cast my eyes. If on things above, then my heart will, for the most part, run after wisdom by the power of the Spirit of wisdom in me. But if I am preoccupied with things under the sun, beware, for even a heart of wisdom can be enticed to lay hold of folly.
Solomon’s conclusion after is experimentation?
Then I saw that there is more gain in wisdom than in folly, as there is more gain in light than in darkness. The wise person has his eyes in his head, but the fool walks in darkness. And yet I perceived that the same event happens to all of them.
(Ecclesiastes 2:13-14 ESV)
The way of wisdom is clearly better then the pursuit of folly, says Solomon, but so what? The same event happens to all of them. Yeah, true statement if you’re fixated only on what is under the sun. But refocus on a coming King, a returning Master, a soon to be reigning Sovereign who will require an accounting for what is done under the sun, and then the way of wisdom pays eternal dividends!
“Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.”
(Matthew 25:21 ESV)
Sure, we who have been gifted with wisdom from above can play around and experiment with it below, but why would we when we are seeking things above? Wisdom faithfulness here and now means entering into the joy of the Master there and then. Sounds like a good deal to me.
Possible by God’s grace. Pursued for God’s glory.