Monday, February 20, 2012

The Morning After: The End of the Story


King Solomon is one of the most interesting figures in the biblical literature because of the drastic shifts that took place in his life. On the one hand, he was brilliant. I don't mean that he was brilliant in just the sense that he was smart, although he was. He was the wisest man to ever lived, other than Jesus. But more than that, his life was one of brilliance. He was a great writer. He was famous. He had all the homes and stuff that we could imagine. Even though he had everything, through a series of stupid decisions, his life became an example of a tragic loss.

Yesterday, I started a series on the King Solomon. I think that as we make our way through First Kings 1-11, we are going to see ourselves in his life. Maybe not in the brilliance part, but certainly in the stupid decision part of his life. His choices in life will expose our choices in life.

As I thought about starting this series, I wanted to start at the very end of story. I wanted to show that no matter how many stupid things a person might have done in their past, they are never outside the reach of the grace of God. As you read the book of First Kings, it appears as though Solomon's life ends tragically. Yet I think in the white spaces of 1 Kings 11, we can find his life taking one last turn towards God. That account is told in the book of Ecclesiastes. 

The book of Ecclesiastes is the painful autobiography of a man who had everything and did everything, squandering God's blessings on his own personal pleasure rather than on God. Throughout the book, Solomon continually says that all of life lived under the sun (meaning, on this earth) is worthless. It is vanity. It is meaningless.

He explains how he tried many avenues to find his meaning in life. He tried wisdom. He tried entertainment. He tried alcohol and possessions. He tried sex. And he even tried work. And nothing seemed to give him the meaning of life. For the bulk of twelve chapters, he explains how life lived under the sun is worthless. But then, in the conclusion of the book, he gives the answer to everything.
"The end of the matter; all has been heard. Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man. For God will bring every deed into judgment, with every secret thing, whether good or evil." (Ecc. 12:13-14)
The meaning of life is found in fearing God and keeping his commandments. If you want to hear how I explain that, you can listen to it HERE (usually not posted till Wednesday). Or you can read the sermon HERE.

I am excited about this series as we look at the life of King Solomon. I hope you will join me as we look at the brilliant life that tragically fell through a series of stupid decisions.

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