The Story:Suddenly – out of frustration or love? – Solomon blurts out his desire for Rehoboam. He needs to repent of his folly, as Solomon himself apparently had done, lay aside all those foolish and destructive ideas and practices, and think about the rest of his life and all of eternity more than just the days of his youth. This is about as “point blank” as Solomon gets in Ecclesiastes. His message is true for every age. We cannot live “under the sun” and “under the heavens” at the same time. Solomon had tried that (Eccl. 2), and folly always prevails. We must forsake the one to embrace the other. The way of wisdom will not tolerate compromises with or accommodations of folly. If Rehoboam doesn’t get this, he’ll never find the truth of the way of wisdom. He never did.
The Structure:Many Christians today are trying to have the best of both worlds – God’s Kingdom and the ways of the flesh. Jesus warned against this (Matt. 6.24) and Paul said it’s oil and water (Gal. 5.16ff). Yet we don’t hear much about repentance within the Christian community. We prefer to think of God as infinitely patient with us, willing to forebear our sins and selfish ways, like the loving father of the prodigal son. And so He is; but He also calls us to work out our salvation in fear and trembling (Phil. 2.13) and to bring holiness to completion in the fear of God (2 Cor. 7.1). We need to rediscover the way of repentance, so that we may avert the Lord’s discipline and press on to prove our citizenship in the Kingdom of God (2 Pet. 1.5-11).
How do you practice repentance? What do you do when you become aware of a sin in your life? Do you think it’s wise to just shrug it off and say, Oh well, God still loves me anyway?
Each week’s studies in our Scriptorium column are available in a free PDF form, suitable for personal or group use. For this week’s study, “Think of the Days Ahead: Ecclesiastes 11,” simply click here.
T. M. Moore
Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved