Summary: In Ecclesiates Solomon writes of the futility of life under the sun. Contrast this with life under the Son, Jesus, God the Son
Life “Under the Sun” v. “Life Under the Son” Chaplain James Vilgos
Scripture Reading Ecclesiastes 2:1-11
Life “under the s-u-n” v. life “under the S-o-n”
When I was young a song titled Richard Cory was popular it was based on a poem of the same title, the lyrics state in part:
They say that Richard Cory owns one half of this whole town,
With political connections to spread his wealth around.
Born into society, a banker’s only child,
He had everything a man could want: power, grace, and style.
But I work in his factory
And I curse the life I’m living
And I curse my poverty
And I wish that I could be,
Oh, I wish that I could be,
Oh, I wish that I could be Richard Cory.
(Richard Cory, Simon and Garfunkel)
Solomon is a good example of the person this song describes. He had: Wisdom, wealth, women, power, peace, religion and even God’s favor. Yet he writes “Therefore I hated life; because the work that is wrought under the sun [is] grievous unto me: for all [is] vanity and vexation of spirit.” Ecclesiastes 2:17 (in this content “vanity” means “futile, worthless, fruitless, pointless”)
1. Wisdom I Kings 4:29-30 “And God gave Solomon wisdom and understanding exceeding much, and largeness of heart, even as the sand that [is] on the sea shore. And Solomon’s wisdom excelled the wisdom of all the children of the east country, and all the wisdom of Egypt.”
a. But what did he discover regarding wisdom “under the S-u-n”?
i. Ecclesiastes 12:12 “And further, by these, my son, be admonished: of making many books [there is] no end; and much study [is] a weariness of the flesh.”
ii. Ecclesiastes 1:17-18 “And I gave my heart to know wisdom, and to know madness and folly: I perceived that this also is vexation of spirit. For in much wisdom [is] much grief: and he that increaseth knowledge increaseth sorrow.”
b. What does the Scripture tell is the sign of one who is wise “Under the S-o-n”
i. II Timothy 2:15 “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.”
ii. James 3:13-15 “Who [is] a wise man and endued with knowledge among you? let him shew out of a good conversation(way of living) his works with meekness of wisdom. But if ye have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, glory not, and lie not against the truth. This wisdom descendeth not from above, but [is] earthly, sensual, devilish.”
c. St. Mark the Ascetic, in “On the Spiritual Law” wrote: I have seen unlearned men who were truly humble, and they became wiser than the wise. Another unlearned man, upon hearing them praised, instead of imitating their humility, prided himself on being unlearned and so fell into arrogance. ("Philokalia (Vol. 1)", p. 115, text 79-80)
2. Wealth - I Kings 10:14-23
Now the weight of gold that came to Solomon in one year was six hundred threescore and six talents of gold, Beside [that he had] of the merchantmen, and of the traffick of the spice merchants, and of all the kings of Arabia, and of the governors of the country. And king Solomon made two hundred targets [of] beaten gold: six hundred [shekels] of gold went to one target. And [he made] three hundred shields [of] beaten gold; three pound of gold went to one shield: and the king put them in the house of the forest of Lebanon.
Moreover the king made a great throne of ivory, and overlaid it with the best gold. The throne had six steps, and the top of the throne [was] round behind: and [there were] stays on either side on the place of the seat, and two lions stood beside the stays. And twelve lions stood there on the one side and on the other upon the six steps: there was not the like made in any kingdom.
And all king Solomon’s drinking vessels [were of] gold, and all the vessels of the house of the forest of Lebanon [were of] pure gold; none [were of] silver: it was nothing accounted of in the days of Solomon. For the king had at sea a navy of Tharshish with the navy of Hiram: once in three years came the navy of Tharshish, bringing gold, and silver, ivory, and apes, and peacocks. So king Solomon exceeded all the kings of the earth for riches and for wisdom.
a. What does he say of this wealth under the s-u-n?
i. Ecclesiastes 2:10-11 “And whatsoever mine eyes desired I kept not from them, I withheld not my heart from any joy; for my heart rejoiced in all my labour: and this was my portion of all my labour. Then I looked on all the works that my hands had wrought, and on the labour that I had laboured to do: and, behold, all [was] vanity and vexation of spirit, and [there was] no profit under the sun.”