Thursday, August 3, 2023

A Case for Solomon (1 Kings 3:1-14)

"… give to Your servant an understanding heart" (1 Kings 3:9).

Some scholars maintain that Solomon did not write Ecclesiastes. They base their hypothesis on such things as differences in style from Solomon’s other writings, and vocabulary of a supposed later origin. Bridges disagreed and considered the evidence against Solomon’s authorship to be shallow and inconsistent with the claims of Scripture: “The words of the Preacher, the son of David, king in Jerusalem.” Bridges did not believe that some writer of a later era had passed off his own words under the name of “son of David.”

Most expositors agree that Solomon wrote Ecclesiastes in his later years. Unlike prophecies and revelation that come in an instant, through a dream or vision, wisdom is gained through experience. God taught Solomon wisdom in the school of life, and Ecclesiastes is a summary of that instruction. Through the hardships and pleasures of life, Solomon learned that true happiness does not consist in the knowledge, pleasures, honors, and riches of this world, but only in the enjoyment and service of God. The ultimate truth conveyed in Ecclesiastes is there is no happiness outside of God. “If we are living at the Fountain Head in communion with Him,” Bridges writes, “we shall realize this summum bonum, or ‘true wisdom—not including a single particle of that which is worldly and carnal; but that which is holy, spiritual, and undefiled, and which in the writings of Solomon is but another word for religion. Guided by this clue, we can easily traverse the intricate windings and mazes [of Ecclesiastes].’ ”

The Preacher teaches us that true happiness does not exist in pleasure or knowledge or riches, but in “true piety,” which is to “Fear God and keep His commandments” (12:13).

The instruction of Ecclesiastes is not limited to any age or nation. “It is not, like many of the prophetic messages, the burden of this or the other nation—a distinct message to a distinct people,” Bridges comments. “The book, with all its lessons and illustrations, is the property of the church and of the world in every age.” In his true form, the Preacher lifts his voice to a careless world, exposing the vanity of worldly pursuits, and exalting God as the only source of true happiness.

What do you learn about Solomon in 1 Kings 3? Why was God pleased with Solomon? In light of the book of Ecclesiastes, how did God answer Solomon’s request? How was the nation blessed by Solomon’s wisdom? Pray for a discerning heart so that you might be pleasing to God and be a blessing to others.