Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Solomon Decoded: What Is The Benefit Of Earthly Work? Ecclesiastes 1:3

"Solomon's reputation for possessing extraordinary wisdom fits the Ecclesiastes profile. David recognized his son's wisdom (1 Kings 2:6 & 9) before God gave Solomon an additional measure. After he received a 'wise and understanding heart' from the Lord (1 Kings 3:7-12), Solomon gained renown for being exceedingly wise by rendering insightful decisions (1 Kings 3:16-28), a reputation that attracted 'all the kings of the earth' to his courts (1 Kings 4:34). In addition, he composed songs and proverbs  (1 Kings 4:32), activity befitting only the ablest of sages. Solomon's wisdom, like Job's wealth, surpassed the wisdom 'of all the people of the east' (1 Kings 4:30)." -The MacArthur Study Bible (NKJV Version), The Book of Ecclesiastes: Background and Setting

"What advantage does man have from all his work which he does under the sun (while earthbound)?"

1) Work/Labor - amal - n. masculine/feminine trouble, toil

In verse three of Ecclesiastes 1, King Solomon ponders (perhaps rhetorically) the advantages gained by man from all of his work on the earth. The Hebrew word used here for labor is amal meaning heavy or wearisome work, particularly of the mind. The MacArthur Study Bible offers this footnote:

"Solomon looks at the fleeting moments of life and the seemingly small gain for man's activity under the sun. The only lasting efforts are those designed to accomplish God's purposes for eternity, not just for one's livelihood. These pictures from God's creation illustrate and underscore the futile repetition of human activity."

Perhaps we should question ourselves as King Solomon did. Is the work that we commit ourselves to daily truly accomplishing God's eternal purpose? Or do we endure wearisome toil simply for our own gain? One could argue that the benefits of the toil of Solomon certainly benefited many from the wealth of his material treasure to the wealth of his knowledge. However, the wise king knew that most important was the condition of his eternity, a time that would be infinitely longer than his few years on the earth. For this reason Jesus (Yeshua) gave His life - so that we would have eternal life in heaven. See John 3:16 and then Revelation 22:3-7.

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