PROVERBS DAY #23: SEARCHING FOR THE MEANING OF LIFE
“Don’t envy sinners, but always continue to fear the LORD. For surely you have a future ahead of you; your hope will not be disappointed.” (Prov. 23:17-18).
I have mentioned several times on this devotional journey that Proverbs is God’s wisdom for daily living. But lest we think that the book is limited only to the here and now, Solomon reminds us to look towards the future as well. Another translation of that verse says, “For surely there is a hereafter, And your hope will not be cut off.” Translation = this life is not all there is! There is life after death, and after we live our lives on planet Earth, we have the hope of everlasting life in Heaven.
Another book that Solomon wrote is Ecclesiastes, where he takes his readers on a search to find the meaning of life. He writes:
“I said to myself, “Come now, let’s give pleasure a try. Let’s look for the ‘good things’ in life.” But I found that this, too, was meaningless. “It is silly to be laughing all the time,” I said. “What good does it do to seek only pleasure?” After much thought, I decided to cheer myself with wine. While still seeking wisdom, I clutched at foolishness. In this way, I hoped to experience the only happiness most people find during their brief life in this world. I also tried to find meaning by building huge homes for myself and by planting beautiful vineyards. I made gardens and parks, filling them with all kinds of fruit trees. I built reservoirs to collect the water to irrigate my many flourishing groves. I bought slaves, both men and women, and others were born into my household. I also owned great herds and flocks, more than any of the kings who lived in Jerusalem before me. I collected great sums of silver and gold, the treasure of many kings and provinces. I hired wonderful singers, both men and women, and had many beautiful concubines. I had everything a man could desire! So I became greater than any of the kings who ruled inJerusalembefore me. And with it all, I remained clear-eyed so that I could evaluate all these things. Anything I wanted, I took. I did not restrain myself from any joy. I even found great pleasure in hard work, an additional reward for all my labors. But as I looked at everything I had worked so hard to accomplish, it was all so meaningless. It was like chasing the wind. There was nothing really worthwhile anywhere.” (Ecclesiastes 2:1-11).
Solomon looked for meaning and satisfaction in pleasure, possessions, money and hard work, but didn’t find it there. After twelve chapters searching for the meaning of life, he writes: “Here is my final conclusion: Fear God and obey his commands, for this is the duty of every person. God will judge us for everything we do, including every secret thing, whether good or bad.” (12:13-14).
TODAY’S READING: PROVERBS CHAPTER TWENTY-THREE.
Pastor Chris Jordan
(Calvin & Hobbes (c) Bill Waterson).