The Invitation Newsletter - November 2020

The Invitation Newsletter:

Good afternoon to all fellow followers of Jesus Christ and this ministry…

Today, I wanted to share a few thoughts with you in light of all going on to include our current 2020 elections. I was reminded of amazing truths from a recent personal Bible study the Lord led me. If you don’t have the time to read now, please do not disregard this message. You can simply come back to this study when you have time.

In the Old Testament record, Ecclesiastes is an amazing book and presentation concerning life. For an example, in chapter 3:1, Solomon said; “To everything there is a season, A time for every purpose under heaven” NKJV

Solomon was a man of Wisdom, which was given by God. His reflection of life contains a ring of sobriety, focus, and purpose. In chapter one of Ecclesiastes he highlights the vanity of life.

Vanity of vanities," lamented Solomon, "all is vanity!" Solomon liked that word "vanity"; he used it thirty-eight times in Ecclesiastes as he wrote about life "under the sun." The word means "emptiness, futility, vapor, that which vanishes quickly and leaves nothing behind."

From the human point of view ("under the sun"), life does appear futile, and it is easy for us to get pessimistic. The Jewish writer Sholom Aleichem once described life as "a blister on top of a tumor, and a boil on top of that." You can almost feel that definition!

In chapter 2:1-9, Solomon said;

I said in my heart, "Come now, I will test you with mirth; therefore enjoy pleasure"; but surely, this also was vanity. 2 I said of laughter — "Madness!"; and of mirth, "What does it accomplish?" 3 I searched in my heart how to gratify my flesh with wine, while guiding my heart with wisdom, and how to lay hold on folly, till I might see what was good for the sons of men to do under heaven all the days of their lives. 4 I made my works great, I built myself houses, and planted myself vineyards. 5 I made myself gardens and orchards, and I planted all kinds of fruit trees in them. 6 I made myself water pools from which to water the growing trees of the grove. 7 I acquired male and female servants, and had servants born in my house. Yes, I had greater possessions of herds and flocks than all who were in Jerusalem before me. 8 I also gathered for myself silver and gold and the special treasures of kings and of the provinces. I acquired male and female singers, the delights of the sons of men, and musical instruments of all kinds. 9 So I became great and excelled more than all who were before me in Jerusalem. Also my wisdom remained with me. NKJV

As he continues in this chapter, he speaks of the “Vanity of Pleasure,” and the “End of the Wise and the Fool.”

In Eccl 2:17, he said “Therefore I hated life because the work that was done under the sun was distressing to me, for all is vanity and grasping for the wind.” NKJV

The remainder of this incredible document shows us a dreadful turn in Solomons life. As we know, the Biblical evidence proves this authorship of Ecclesiastes to be Solomon, and we know from his profile, he turned from God.

David's son, Solomon, was crowned king of a united Israel just before his father's death. The young Solomon was given a unique gift from God: wisdom. He was certainly an intelligent man, and while his father extended Israel's kingdom by conquest, Solomon maintained his success without war, through diplomacy.

But Solomon's strength was also his weakness. Solomon tended to trust in his wisdom rather than in the guidelines given in God's Word. Solomon trusted in his wisdom. Why not? His wisdom was renowned. God's warnings seemed unrealistic: wisdom dictated a different course from the one commanded by God.

 

First Kings 11 shows us how much wiser God was than this wisest of men. In Solomon's old age the women he loved did turn his heart from the Lord and toward their gods. Solomon brought into the Holy City itself the worship of the very gods and goddesses which the Lord commanded be purged from the land!

Because of this, God pronounced judgment on Solomon. "The Lord became angry with Solomon, because his heart had turned away from the Lord, the God of Israel, who had appeared to him twice. Although He had forbidden Solomon to follow other gods, Solomon did not keep the Lord's command. So the Lord said to Solomon, 'Since this is your attitude and you have not kept My covenant and My decrees, which I commanded you, I will most certainly tear the kingdom away from you and give it to one of your subordinates. Nevertheless, for the sake of David - your father, I will not do it during your lifetime. I will tear it out of the hand of your son. Yet I will not tear the whole kingdom from him, but will give him one tribe for the sake of David My servant and for the sake of Jerusalem, which I have chosen'" (1 Kings 11:9-13).

Solomon's failure to trust God had a tragic impact on his personal life and the nation. Cut off from God by his own choice, left with only his wisdom to guide him, Solomon set out to find life's meaning apart from the Lord. This is why the Book of Ecclesiastes is so valuable. David, the emotional man, shared his feelings with us in the Psalms. Now Solomon, the intellectual man, shares his reasonings and inmost thoughts.

Solomon's reign brought changes not only to Israel but also to his own life. Near the end of his life, the king lost the ideals of his youth, becoming restless and unsatisfied. His writings in Ecclesiastes, proclaiming that "all is vanity," support the view that the world's wisest man had become a pathetic figure in his old age.

Solomon's greatest sin was his loss of devotion to the God of the Hebrew people. Solomon's own faith was eventually weakened. He approved of, and even participated in many sinful acts. The example he set for the rest of the nation must have been demoralizing. This unfortunate error was a severe blow to the security of Solomon's throne and to the nation he had built.

Years before Solomon's death, his heavy taxation of the people brought unrest and rebellion. Surrounding nations began to use their forces to free themselves of Israel's tyranny, but the most serious uprising came from within the nation itself. Jeroboam, a young leader who had the support of Egypt, led ten of the twelve tribes out of Israel to the North. When Solomon's son Rehoboam ascended the throne after his father, Jeroboam returned to lead a successful civil war against him. The result was a division of Solomon's United Kingdom into two separate nations-the southern kingdom of Judah and the northern kingdom of Israel.

In many ways, Solomon's 40-year reign as king of the Hebrew people is a puzzle. In his early years he was both noble and humble-undoubtedly one of the best rulers of his day. Although he was surrounded by wealth and luxury as a young man, he seemed to be a person of honor and integrity. He was the first king in Israel who was the son of a king. The glory of his empire was a reflection of his own royal tastes, which he satisfied through a shrewd and successful foreign policy.

Unfortunately, Solomon was not strong enough to withstand the temptations that go along with a long life of luxury. His contribution to the nation of Israel is figured largely in material terms. He made Jerusalem one of the most beautiful cities of the ancient world, and he will always be remembered as a great builder. The tragedy is that after the building of the Temple, Solomon did very little to promote the religious life of his people.

Solomon drifted away from the Lord because of his sin and following the things of the world in all of its allure. He eventually returned to God, but God had removed blessing from his life. The loss of blessing would not be undone. He had lost the significant blessing of God on his life. He made his decision, and God made His.

Scripture seems to reveal that Solomon returned to the Lord. Praise God for his mercy and faithfulness even when we are not faithful. Solomon drifted away from God like a boat drifts away from a harbor of safety out into the rough sea. Was he an Old Testament saint or was he lost? Scripture seems to indicate that Solomon realized his spiritual boat was out at sea and finally returned his boat to the harbor before he died. That is when he wrote the book of Ecclesiastes. Here is his conclusion:

Eccl 12:13-14 - “Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God and keep His commandments, For this is man's all. 14 For God will bring every work into judgment, Including every secret thing, whether good or evil.” NKJV

 

IN CLOSING - The life of Solomon is a great reminder that God wants our hearts. Our wisdom, our Bible knowledge, our wealth, our fame, our wife/husband, family our “whatever it is” is not what God is interested in. He wants your heart! He wants your love! He wants you to want Him! We must guard our hearts. How can we do that? Here are several keys:

1. Confess -any and all Sin

2.  Read -His Word

3.  Pray -daily

4.  Submit -your will to the Holy Spirit

5. Surround yourself -with godly Christians – wise Christians whose lives have a heart passion for God. Ask God to show you who they are!

 

For some, 2021 will produce further disruption, dismay, calamity, depression and despair, no matter what side of the political isle you may be on. However, for the child of God in Jesus Christ, we will remain in His Power and Protection, no matter what the future shall bring!

 

 

Rev. Jerry Liversage