Saturday Smiles: Money, 931 BC
So, Solomon was the wisest man who ever lived. Our Holy Bible contains three books he is believed to have authored: Proverbs, advise to his sons; Song Of Solomon, a beautiful metaphor of God's relationship to his people; and, Ecclesiastes, his old age assessment of life. Some say he wrote Ecclesiastes in the years right before his death in 931 BC.
One of his late life affirmations is "...there is nothing new under the sun" (Ecclesiastes 1:9, ESV). Basically Solomon was underscoring his life discovery that nothing under the sun, that is, this side of heaven, matters without God, and, that, the sinful nature of man was a consistent truth in all times. So, even with his wealth, fame, libraries, wives, concubines, palaces, and armies, life without God was meaningless, vanity. And, is meaningless today. That's what he meant by "nothing new under the sun".
What in the world? Nothing new under the sun? You've got to be kidding me. Look around. Solomon would not have imagined life in the twenty-first century. What is amazing about the life we live is that most of our advanced technology---medicine, architecture, engineering, the sciences, and just about everything that touches us everyday---have been invented in our lifetime, the last generation or so. Everything is new.
Believers understand that a basic of faith is the truth that God is doing a new thing. In faith he makes all things new. We are new creatures in Christ and live in the hope of a new heaven and earth. So, Solomon wasn't commenting on life with God, but rather life apart from God. Outside of God's provision and care it's the same ol same ol'. You know---been there, done that.
But even in our sophisticated newness human nature is the same.
Solomon wrote a lot about the meaningless things in his world. They remain of little value today. But, some of the things he said reflect the power of a secular worldview that existed then, and still exists now. It's sad. But, it makes me smile because even in our advanced world, it's still true. He wrote---
Bread is made for laughter, and wine gladdens life,
and money answers everything.
Ecclesiastes 10:19, ESV
Of course, the wise one was reprimanding that culture for their shallow and meaningless ways under the sun. Evidently the people of his time worshiped money and material blessings like the people of our culture. We think more money is the solution to every life problem. And, so did they.
Three thousand years later people haven't changed all that much. The folly of it saddens me. But, the brilliance of God in providing newness...
...brings a Saturday smile.