the seasons of Solomon’s life. Song of Solomon perhaps depicts the king’s demeanor while he was young and in love. Proverbs captures him during his peak years in terms of his learning and influence. Ecclesiastes reflects the latter stages of his life, when he was feeling dissatisfied, cynical, and confused with things the way they are and always seem to be. Reading Ecclesiastes, the overall feeling is thus disillusionment and despair. It’s the kind of book that, if you didn’t know better, might surprise you was even in the Bible.
But God’s Word is absolutely true, not just in what it says about God but in what it says about us as well. Solomon’s despair toward the end of his life is echoed in popular culture, such as in Orson Welles’s character in the movie classic Citizen Kane. In non-linear fashion, the film tells the story of a reporter trying to decipher the final word (“Rosebud”) of an extravagantly wealthy publishing mogul who, despite his “rags to riches” success in life, dies in evident despair. As this 1941 movie illustrates, fame and wealth are not adequate means for solving the crisis of despair that faces all of us in our frail and mortal humanity.
As Solomon himself said, “There is nothing new under the sun” (v. 9). How do you resolve the crisis? We know the answer that Solomon—and all whose material abundance fails to satisfy them—yearned for: Christ Jesus. Because of Christ, we need not despair. Life is not devoid of purpose. In Christ, we have been given treasure upon treasure, one of which is understanding that we live today not for today, not for tomorrow, but for eternity.
What could you change today to keep you from feeling like Solomon at the end of your life?