Shortly after the dedication, Solomon receives a second vision from God (1 Kgs 9:1-9).
In it, the Lord assures him that his prayer has been heard and that the Temple has been consecrated as a dwelling place for his Presence.
However, should Solomon turn away from the Lord and worship other gods, the people would indeed be cast into exile, and the Temple would be brought down in ruin as a monument to Israel’s disobedience and shame before her pagan neighbors.
This solemn message marks a shift in the story toward the decline of Solomon’s reign and the national chaos that will beset Israel due to her transgression of the covenant.
This dark transition was foreshadowed at the very outset of Solomon’s rule by two minor incidents that prove to be growing cancers on Solomon’s reign.
First, Solomon enters into a marriage alliance with Egypt.
In the Ancient Near East, to forge covenantal bonds-in this case, marriage-required that both parties swear by the names of their gods and invoke them as witnesses.
Therefore, Solomon would have been required to call on the names of Egyptian deities.
Second, we are told that although Solomon is mindful of the statutes given him by David, he continues to offer sacrifices and burn incense “at the high places” (i.e., Canaanite shrines; 1 Kgs 3:3)
1 Kings Ch 9 we are getting to the end of the reign of King Solomon
We see more buildings because he is Solomon the Builder
We will see over the next couple of days is the WISE one ending his WISE life in FOOLISHNESS
The Great Builder ending his life IN RUINS
That is Solomon’s story
As we know, God warned him in the second dream
“Yeah, I will bless you. I will be with you. I will establish your throne like the throne of your father forever. Just do not turn away and serve other gods.”
Oh goody, guess what happens? 🤔
So often, it is not HOW WE START
It is HOW WE END
Ecclesiastes can be a very troubling, confusing book
BUT IT CAN ALSO BE VERY INSPIRING IF WE RECEIVE IT THE RIGHT WAY
When it comes to endings and beginnings, Qoheleth says, “The day of your death is better than the day of your birth. It is better to go to the house of mourning than to go to the house of feasting; better sorrow than mirth.”
What is Solomon aka The Preacher aka Qoheleth trying to point out?
We recognize that ALL THINGS are going to have an END
Then we live with CLARITY
We can live with PURPOSE
If we just focus on the BEGINNING without focusing on the ENDING, then we will probably live incredibly FOOLISHLY
We will see that so many people in Scripture and in our lives have GOOD BEGINNINGS, but they don’t always have GREAT ENDINGS
“BEGIN WITH THE END IN MIND AS A WAY TO LIVE WISELY” -Steven Covey, author of 7 Habits of Highly Effective People
Because we know what is coming
We have an idea of where we want to end up
So we want to live in a way that is INTENTIONAL trying to get to that place
Ecclesiastes Ch 6:1-2 says, “There is an evil which I have seen under the sun, and it lies heavy upon men: a man whom God gives wealth, possessions, and honor, so that he lacks nothing of all that he desires, yet God does not give him power to enjoy them, but a stranger enjoys them; this is vanity; it is a sore affliction.”
There is also something called ANHEDONIA which is an INABILITY or UNWILLINGNESS to enjoy oneself
To be surrounded by wealth, possessions, honor, etc. but to not have the ABILITY TO ENJOY IT
It is a BURDEN to be anhedonic
This is the opposite of HEDONISM
Some of us need to get back to TOIL because we worry about things that are real, like bills and a mortgage
But God calls you to STOP and ENJOY things like your kids
YEAH BUT THEY ARE NOISY AND MESSY AND SMELL
But they won’t be that way for long
Maybe you are alone and you can’t enjoy that time alone
But you’ve been given SILENCE
Freedom to travel
Freedom to serve
There are so many people who have other obligations but when alone, you don’t have those same obligations
TAKE JOY IN WHAT YOU DO HAVE, NOT SORROW IN WHAT YOU DON’T HAVE
Ecclesiastes Ch 7:10 says, “Say not, ‘Why were the former days better than these?’ For it is not from wisdom that you ask this.”
Back in the day, things were so much better, right? 😉
Basically Qoheleth is pointing out that you aren’t being wise when you ask that question (even though clearly music was better in the 80s compared to today 🤪)
St. Augustine said “Do not wish for the good old days because back in the good old days you wouldn’t have thought they were the good old days.” (paraphrasing or butchering that quote, take your pick 😉)
BUT...good ol’ Andy Benard might have been on to something when he said, “I wish there was a way to know you were in the good old days before you left them” 🤯
Ecclesiastes 7:21 says, “Do not give heed to all the things that men say, lest you hear your servant cursing you; your heart knows that many times you have yourself cursed others.”
That can really make us sad
It could really ruin our day
To hear someone say something negative about you
How often does someone’s slightly critical comment ruin our day?
It just gets under our skin
It just bothers us
Think of all the times YOU AND I have said that about OTHER PEOPLE
It’s a matter of WISDOM
We can let these criticisms bother us
But how many times do we offer our opinion on others
When we do that, have we really taken the time to really truly assess this person as a person?
Were we being a little too loose with our criticism?
So if someone says something like that to you or about you, take it with a grain of salt (for our international brothers and sisters, to take something “with a grain of salt” means to regard something as exaggerated or believe only part of something 😁)
Does this make sense to you? It makes sense to me
What a GIFT
Today is the day that the Lord has made
We REJOICE and are glad in it
We REJOICE and PRAISE THE LORD
We REJOICE and PRAY FOR EACH OTHER
PRAY FOR FR. MIKE