Just to recap, this is post number 4 in this series. You really should read the three preceding this one to get the full effect.
You know, with all the wild and crazy things Solomon explored — sex, alcohol, real estate, building projects, gardening, wisdom, and folly, to name a few — I was also struck with four things he didn’t think to explore and should have. He mentions three of them in passing, but that’s it. So close, yet so far. And he’s poorer for it. For example: He said,
1. “(God) has laid eternity on the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end” (Lam. 3:11). Go with that thought, wise-guy! But no. He drops it there, right on the floor. He doesn’t explore what it might be like to live in light of eternity, to to discover God’s vision for his life. Dumb!
2. He also says, “Two are better than one… if one falls down, his friend can help him up… if two lie down together, they will keep warm… though one can be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not easily broken” (Lam. 5:9-12). Four verses in a row, wisdom is building… so my heart perks up… stupid king is on to something. Do it, Solomon! Explore genuine community. Friendship. True love, even. But Solomon doesn’t go that road. Of course not! Why would he! Then he would’ve found meaning in his world, and we can’t have that, can we? Dumb.
3. Okay, this one really gets me. “Stand in awe of God,” he says (Lam. 5:7). But that’s it. He kinda plays at the edges of his spiritual life, poking it from time to time, but never really dives in. It’s all surface stuff. No intimacy with God to speak of. It doesn’t even occur to him, actually. Which is weird, because his daddy’s whole life was centered on intimacy with God. David was a passionate, intimate God-follower. Solomon, it seems, never really got it, even with stellar modeling to work from. Dumb, dude. Really dumb.
4. And this last one is completely mind boggling. Nowhere in his whole stupid book does Solomon ever have a single thought that maybe, just maybe, life isn’t just about him. Granted, it would be tough to remember, being the King and all. But he’s supposed to be wise, remember? And he never once serves others, engages in ministry, launches an other-centered mission. No soup kitchens, no “Chicken wing fridays” on the house. He never gives a cookie to the kid on the corner or buys a flower for a widow. Never. And he expects his life to mean something! It was all about him from start to finish. His gardens, his slaves, his livestock, his sex, his slaves. His, his his — dumb, dumb, dumb.
See? His experiment could not possibly have ended well. Without being guided by eternal vision, enjoying genuine community, nurturing intimacy with God, and spending himself in service, life really was meaningless.
“I hated life,” he confesses (Lam. 2:17). No, bud. I disagree. Because you didn’t have a life to hate.
Tomorrow: The ten things we absolutely MUST learn from Solomon’s Stupidity.