Day 151: Wisdom and Folly
1 Kings 9:1-9 The Lord answered Solomon’s prayer of dedication by consecrating the Temple and reminding him of his promise to David: If Solomon would live an upright life and obey the will of God, the throne of the Davidic dynasty over Israel would continue forever. If he failed, then Israel would break apart and the Temple would be destroyed. Christ compared his own Body to the Temple, stating that if the Temple were to be destroyed, he would raise it up again in three days (cf. Jn 2:19-22). The Church herself and our own bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit. (CCC 364, 593, 809, 1543)
Ch 9:10-26 The record of his accomplishments shows the wisdom of Solomon and his ability to make the most of his resources.
Ecclesiastes 6:8-12 The light of natural reason cannot comprehend fully the mysteries of Divine Revelation; however, with the aid of grace, the human mind can penetrate the significance of these divine truths. (CCC 2541)
Ch 7:1-14 The human person needs constant purification in order to achieve a true wisdom that reflects knowledge of God and natural law. Without the light of Divine Revelation as interpreted by the Church’s teaching authority, the intellect is never assured of possessing the fullness of truth in terms of fully understanding the meaning of human life and the pathway to true fulfillment. (CCC 271)
Ch 7:15-29 Calling for patience in the search for wisdom, the author raises, without much comment, the question central to the Book of Job: why do the righteous sometimes die young while the wicked sometimes lead long and prosperous lives? Though no one is totally righteous, the answer lies in the treasure of Christ’s everlasting life that goes beyond the painful vicissitudes (an unpleasant change of circumstance) of this present life. (CCC 289, 309-311)
Psalm 7 God is omniscient and infinitely just. For the just person, God is a shield against false accusers; for the evil, he is an indignant judge.
O Lord my God...in the dust: The psalmist made an oath before God, proclaiming his innocence and the evil intent of his enemies. Oaths must not be taken lightly, i.e., for frivolous matters, efforts to deceive, or with lack of proper intent; to do so is an offense against the Second Commandment. The oath taken here appears to be quite legitimate.
He makes a pit...violence descends: Sin and evil are never neutral in their effects; even when it seems our thoughts or actions affect no one, we ourselves suffer harm in proportion to the gravity of our sin by distancing ourselves from God and corrupting our mind and heart. (CCC 1849)
(*The Didache Bible RSV-CE Ignatius Edition, 2006)
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)
(*Walking With God: A Journey Through The Bible by Tim Gray and Jeff Cavins)
1 Kings Ch 9 is going to sound like a review of what we have previously read in 2 Chronicles
We will hear about God’s SECOND appearance to Solomon
We will also dive more deeply into Ecclesiates
Qoheleth examines what is the goodness of life
What should we set our hearts on?
What is dangerous to set our hearts on?
And with that, away we go…
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
Prayer by Fr. Mike: “Father in Heaven thank you so much. God, thank you so much. Thank you for your Word and thank you for your wisdom that you share with us. Thank you for allowing us to ask questions and to question reality. Thank you for letting us and inviting us to question goodness and question righteousness and question the mystery of evil and our own mystery of evil in our own hearts. Thank you for allowing us to come before you with all these questions and with all this brokenness that is not just around us but is also in us. Thank you for sharing your Word, the words of Qoheleth, the words of the Preacher who gets to ask the big questions and invites us in to asking those big questions. We give you praise and we thank you in Jesus’ name. Amen.”
6:11 More often than not, silence is golden.
7:2-4 We must keep ever before our eyes the inevitability of our death. Meditate on death frequently to be able to understand the meaning of life. Memento mori.
7:5 When the wise chastise us, it is a gift from God, and we must endure it in humility for the sake of our own edification. Cf. Heb. 12:6
My Study Color Code
■ Suffering, Martyrdom ■ Places ■ The Church, Sacraments, Divinity ■ Horticultural Imagery ■ People ■ Messianic Kingship ■ Sin, Death, Decay