Monday, April 15, 2013

The Meaning of Life from the Wisest, Richest and Most Powerful King

Learn the meaning of life from someone with the credentials to discuss it. He was the wisest, richest and most powerful. Find out for yourself the true meaning of life and your life calling especially now if you are young. Live life well to the fullest extend and regret not at the ending when it may be too late.
This is a Bible Study base on Ecclesiastes Chapter one to four. The author, called himself a preacher, can be easily identified as King Solomon, the wisest, richest and most powerful King at that time. This was his reflection of life after living through his great research study, large scale experiments and projects, and his enjoyment to the highest order. He had 700 official wives and 300 concubines (1King 11:1-3), likely the most beautiful women from many foreign countries. He was the king that built the temple of God. After all that, he said life is nothing but vanity. Why was that so? What is the true meaning of life?

Hence, I think it is the best book to read, especially for the youth, when life is just starting and they need to be sure of what to go for in life before it is over. Nevertheless, it is also suitable for anyone, with or without religion of any kind to read. Perhaps, it could be printed as an independent book, so that more people can read it.

When I first read it, I thought I was reading a Buddhist, Taoist or even an Atheist book. I have to check several times on the book cover to confirm that I was in fact reading the Bible.

Look at how it starts, chapter 1 verse 2:
  • [RSV] " Vanity of vanities, says the Preacher, vanity of vanities! All is vanity. "
Or in some other translation:
  • [NLB] “Everything is meaningless,” says the Teacher, “completely meaningless!”
  • [NCV] The Teacher says, “Useless! Useless! Completely useless! Everything is useless.”
All is meaningless, emptiness, uselessness, vapor or breath shall be the conclusion if we only put our ourselves as the center and our life is just this earthly one of 70-120 years. All our pursuit, enjoyment, accumulations of wealth, wisdom and whatever will be left here when our life here is over. Empty handed we come and empty handed we leave. The world, the universe goes on in cycle with or without us.

However, if we can take a viewpoint that is higher, the Creator's view and a viewpoint that life is longer than this life (there is life after death), then we can see that natural ecosystem world is a wonderful creation that is filled with activities of beauty over the seasons that last forever. It is well designed and built. The journey of life is this world is connected and continued unto the life after death, to other people and generations after us and we are accountable to God eventually.

'Death is a great equalizer' as people say. But it is not very good news, as it equalizes all to zero, nothingness or emptiness.

'Death is the greatest invention of life', said Steve Jobs. It tells us clearly the priorities of things in our life.

But what difference does it make if our life is only this earthly one. We will not be aware of the great legacy, if any, that we left behind.

Life now on earth is only meaningful if our life can continue on after this one. Solomon, due to his Jewish religion background, said that, indeed, there is life after this one. In fact, there is a God that will hold us accountable to the life that we live here. But, this God is not the joy-killer God that we tend to think of, but rather a God that wants us to live this life richly to the full. John Piper said that "God Is Most Glorified in Us When We Are Most Satisfied in Him".
11:9 Young people, it’s wonderful to be young! Enjoy every minute of it. Do everything you want to do; take it all in. But remember that you must give an account to God for everything you do. NLV.
12:1 Don’t let the excitement of youth cause you to forget your Creator. Honor him in your youth before you grow old...
Let's start then for a study in greater detail ....

The Details of Chapter 1 to 4
The following mind map captures the details of chapter 1 to 4.  The vanity issue is covered in greater depth in the following mind-map. Study this overview well first.
The Vanities Explained

Questions for Reflection:
  1. What is the conclusion that King Solomon draw after his extensive study and experience of life in this world?
  2. What are the reasons he gives for such a claim? List his experience and reasons.
  3. What did King Solomon say about God and in particular about God and man?
  4. With such a God, do you agree with Solomon's conclusions about life? What do you think life is about?
  5. Is there still a need for wisdom, co-operation when all is futility? Explain.
  6. What about the unfairness in this world? Should you do or ignore it?
  7. What do you know about the meaning and your calling of life from God? The calling contains multiple factors & roles over time.
  8. Review the factors of futility and see if you need to spend more or less time on effort on such pursuits in the light of your calling?
Some sample answers for your consideration:

For a longer exposition on Ecc 3:1-8, see Adding Biblical Wisdom to Bill & Steve Jobs' Wisdom for Success.

Lim Liat (c) 15 April 2013

Related Posts:

No comments: