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Everyone Has to Choose Between Right and Wrong
In the Christian life, God makes it pretty simple for His children to follow Him by offering them only two choices, and two outcomes. These two choices, however, are portrayed in several different ways in Scripture. For example, there is the choice between light and darkness, life and death, good fruit or bad fruit, the wide road or the narrow path, walking by the Spirit or by the flesh, having faith or doubt, the blessings or curses, boldness or fear, embracing truth or deception, and many other mutually exclusive examples of God’s way or the ways of man.
But essentially, they all boil down to the choice of obedience or disobedience. And there is never a third option, no middle ground. You are either all in or all out. Right or wrong, with nothing in between. Yet we all must make a similar choice in our lives.
Solomon is a chilling example of someone who chose wisely in his youth and then made disastrous choices as he got older. He did not grow wiser with age. When he was young, Solomon chose the wisdom of God and His intimacy over wealth, popularity, and the fleeting pleasures of sin. But when he got older, he forgot God and followed his own heart and the wisdom of this fallen age and lost the most important things in his life… faith, purpose, and meaning.
So by the time we get to the second chapter of Ecclesiastes, we see Solomon frantically striving to find what he had forsaken, namely happiness, purpose, and meaning in his life outside of his broken relationship with the Lord, which he knew couldn’t be done. You cannot satisfy a spiritual longing by indulging the flesh. But, as a stubborn man like many of us, Solomon tried anyway, repeatedly. He gave it his best shot, and each time came up empty.
Don’t Be Like Solomon, Choose Wisely
We can see the fallacy in his logic from the start. He knows what he is about to do will lead to nothing (vanity), yet he does it just the same.
And I (his action) set my heart (lēḇ) to know (yāḏaʿ) wisdom and to know (yāḏaʿ) madness (delusion, to try anything and everything just to know the outcome, being rash and foolish to an extreme degree) and folly (foolishness, a life devoid of wisdom, understanding, prudence, self restraint). I perceived (yāḏaʿ) that this also (among other things) is grasping for the wind – Ecclesiastes 1:17.
After determining the pursuit of wisdom was also meaningless and provided no lasting satisfaction, Solomon now goes in the opposite direction and embarks on a course of sensual pleasure to find happiness and contentment. It was as if Solomon put his hands over his ears and filled his life with such fleshly pleasure, hoping it could drown the inner cry of his soul. Guess how that journey turned out?
I said in my heart (lēḇ), “Come now, I will (my action) test (try, prove, to determine the true nature of something) you with mirth (the experience and manifestation of joy and gladness); therefore (conclusion) enjoy pleasure”; but surely (behold), this also was vanity (meaningless, having no value, futile, pointless, empty, like a vapor) – Ecclesiastes 2:1.
Uh, just a few questions, if I may. If it was vanity, why did you continue in it? Why not cut your losses and move on to something else? Why did you continue in something you knew wouldn’t work? Why did you not run back to your relationship with God and forget the meaningless lust of your flesh? Why did you have to learn the same lesson over and over again? That doesn’t seem to make much sense to me. Does it to you?
But this is only the beginning of Solomon’s woes. And I believe you will find, unfortunately, that you will relate to many of the ways Solomon tried to find satisfaction in life by gratifying the flesh, only to come up dry, empty, and depressed. I know I sure have. But his life can be a prime example of what not to do, or how to choose wisely (and not like Solomon).
So let me invite you to join us as we learn what to do, by not doing what the once wisest man who ever lived did. Let’s learn from his mistakes so we won’t have to make them ourselves, shall we?