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Tuesday, February 5 2013
Ecclesiastes: A Time For Everything
In his youth, King Solomon (see Israel In History and Prophecy: Solomon) was one of the wisest people that ever existed. His wisdom did not come naturally ("I know not how to go out or come in"), but was given to him by the LORD because Solomon had prayed for it (see also How To Pray).
"3:7 And now, O LORD my God [see The Kingdom Of The LORD God], thou hast made thy servant king instead of David my father: and I am but a little child: I know not how to go out or come in. 3:8 And thy servant is in the midst of thy people which thou hast chosen, a great people, that cannot be numbered nor counted for multitude. 3:9 Give therefore thy servant an understanding heart to judge thy people, that I may discern between good and bad: for who is able to judge this thy so great a people?
Solomon's wisdom became famous throughout the world. It wasn't merely a matter of great knowledge, but the wisdom of discernment to look at the same facts as everyone else and judge what was truly right or wrong. The incident of the two mothers who were disputing the identity of their children demonstrates his wisdom. Solomon had discovered the ability to see through what his eyes could see.
"3:16 Then came there two women, that were harlots, unto the king, and stood before him. 3:17 And the one woman said, O my lord, I and this woman dwell in one house; and I was delivered of a child with her in the house. 3:18 And it came to pass the third day after that I was delivered, that this woman was delivered also: and we were together; there was no stranger with us in the house, save we two in the house.
Wisdom, even God-given wisdom, can be lost - by negligence. By the time of his later life, Solomon had squandered the wisdom that the LORD had given to him. He became a lusting old idol worshiper.
"11:1 But king Solomon loved many strange women, together with the daughter of Pharaoh, women of the Moabites, Ammonites, Edomites, Zidonians, and Hittites; 11:2 Of the nations concerning which the LORD said unto the children of Israel, Ye shall not go in to them, neither shall they come in unto you: for surely they will turn away your heart after their gods: Solomon clave unto these in love. 11:3 And he had seven hundred wives, princesses, and three hundred concubines: and his wives turned away his heart. 11:4 For it came to pass, when Solomon was old, that his wives turned away his heart after other gods: and his heart was not perfect with the LORD his God, as was the heart of David his father. 11:5 For Solomon went after Ashtoreth the goddess of the Zidonians, and after Milcom the abomination of the Ammonites. 11:6 And Solomon did evil in the sight of the LORD, and went not fully after the LORD, as did David his father.
The Book of Ecclesiastes was written by Solomon in that latter part of his life when he was wallowing in the misery that his liberalism had delivered unto him. Through it all, Solomon expressed himself as a despondent man who was drowning in his "fun."
"1:1 The words of the Preacher, the son of David, king in Jerusalem. 1:2 Vanity of vanities, saith the Preacher, vanity of vanities; all is vanity." (Ecclesiastes 1:1-2 KJV)
Only at the very end of the book did Solomon make a wise statement of being faithful and obedient to the LORD above all else. Was it a pledge of repentance, before it was too late for him? Or was he pleading a warning to all who would read it - Don't throw your life away like I did.
"12:13 Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man. 12:14 For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil." (Ecclesiastes 12:13-14 KJV)
Studies For The Book Of Ecclesiastes
Fact Finder: Did The LORD divide Israel into "Israel" and "Judah" because of the decay of Solomon's faithfulness to the LORD?
This Day In History, February 5
45 BC: Cato, Roman philosopher, committed suicide.
1428: King Alfonso V ordered Sicily's Jews to attend "Christian" (i.e. Church of Rome) sermons so that they would become "converted" (see Constantine's Crusades In History And Prophecy).
1555: The Diet (from the Latin word dieta meaning a day; the word diary has the same origin) of The Holy Roman Empire opened at Augsburg. Proclaimed by Charles V, it dealt with numerous religious matters. Among the decisions reached: that no member of the empire would go to war with another on religious grounds, and both Roman Catholicism and Lutheranism were to be allowed (see also The Holy Roman Empire).
1556: Henry II of France and Philip of Spain signed the truce of Vaucelles.
1631: Roger Williams, the founder of Rhode Island, arrived from England in the English-created colony of Boston (prior to the coming of the English, the site of Boston was nothing more than swamp and wilderness).
1679: The Treaty of Nijmegen was signed by Holy Roman Emperor Leopold I and King Louis XIV of France.
1783: Sweden recognized the independence of the New England colonies.
1811: After King George III became incapacitated by old age and illness, the Prince of Wales became Prince Regent of England, later to be George IV.
1841: The union of Upper and Lower Canada became effective. "Upper" and "Lower" Canada were terms based simply on the flow of the Great Lakes and the Saint Lawrence River toward the Atlantic Ocean; "Upper Canada" was present-day southern Ontario, "Lower Canada" was southern Quebec.
1881: Thomas Carlyle, English author and historian, died at age 85.
1924: The Royal Greenwich Observatory began broadcasting the hourly time signals known as the Greenwich Time Signal.
1941: Andrew Barton Paterson, Australian poet, died. He is widely credited as the author of Waltzing Matilda.
1954: The most northerly group of islands in Canada was named the Queen Elizabeth Islands. William Baffin was credited with the 1616 discovery of the islands.
1958: A hydrogen bomb was lost by the US Air Force off the coast of Savannah, Georgia, It was never recovered.
1973: Construction began on the CN Tower in Toronto.
1983: Klaus Barbie, wanted Nazi war criminal, was imprisoned in Lyons, France, after extradition from Bolivia.
1997: Switzerland's three largest banks, facing international pressure, announced that they had created a 100 million Swiss franc Holocaust memorial fund as a gesture of good will toward their critics.
1997: Fire swept through the library of Pulkovo Observatory, Russia's most famous astronomical institution. The fire and the water used to fight it destroyed or damaged nearly 5,000 rare old books. Arson was the suspected cause - the "Russian Mafia" was believed to be responsible because they wanted the observatory's extensive grounds, near St. Petersburg (formerly Leningrad), made available for hotel construction.