Today is my 30th birthday. I think I’m feeling all the normal feelings that come along with being 30. I feel old, but people tell me I’m not. I’ve found a few gray hairs, but most are still a strong brown. I can’t keep up athletically with guys in their 20’s anymore, my energy seems half of what it was at 20. But, the more I think about being 30 the more my soul yearns to spend my next 30 years in a God-centered, Bible-saturated, Christ-exalting manner. Because of this my mind turns to Solomon.
Solomon was King David’s son, and he was a King in Israel. He wrote many things and experienced more of life than most ever get to taste. He did a lot wrong and came out great at the end. Let me explain. Many people confuse the order of Solomon’s writings in the Bible, being completely unsure of what books were written when. I think the order of the books can teach us glorious things.
First, at his first marriage Solomon wrote the Song of Songs – a lovely tribute to his wife. I think this is a book for his first wife as their marriage began because it sounds like a newlywed couple. Feelings like this are great but they are temporary, and after they pass you learn what marriage is all about. I fear that Solomon did learn what marriage was all about, but in a fantastically wicked way, by marrying 1,000 wives. Do you think I’m exaggerating? 1 Kings 11:3 says, “He had 700 wives, who were princesses, and 300 concubines. And his wives turned away his heart.” This is a clear statement of truth that marrying many wives has a consequence and it is usually not a good thing, especially is you marry women of other nations who worship other gods. By doing this, Solomon sinned, and was led astray greatly.
Second, Solomon began his vast collection of Proverbs, which we have recorded for us in the book of Proverbs. He learned much in life and he shares great wisdom for us in this collection.
Third, Solomon ended his writings with Ecclesiastes. Why do I think he ends with this? Because over and over throughout the book we find him summarizing what he used to do, how he used to go after things, how he used to press in to and seek after pleasure, knowledge, women, money, possessions, passions, etc., you know it he went after it hard. What did he find? It was all meaningless, and only one thing mattered. Fear God, obey His commands, enjoy the wife of your youth.
What do we learn from this? The order of Solomon’s writings teaches us that he began well, lived poorly, and finished very well. Ecclesiastes was his repentance for the wandering he’d done his whole life, and in the end when it all came to down it, everything under the sun is meaningless. Therefore we will only find meaning if we aim “over the sun”, at God. He is what life is about, and the pursuit that will satisfy the human soul fully. We were made for this. Solomon teaches this.
Why am I thinking of this on my birthday? To take Tim McGraw’s line “In my next 30 years….” I do want things to change for me. I have made poor choices and reaped the consequences of doing so. I have made good choices and reaped wondrous things. Overall, I want to live now at 30 how Solomon lived while at 80. I want to soak in the lesson of Ecclesiastes in my 30’s not my 90’s. Honor God, obey His commands, enjoy life with my wife and family. No matter where you are in life, these are good things to pursue and grab ahold of.
May God grant you find Him, and finding Him, embrace Him as all satisfying and worthy of infinite worship.