A BACKWARD LOOK AT THE WISDOM OF KING SOLOMON: WHAT COUNTED THEN AND STILL DOES
Although the Book of Proverbs precedes Ecclesiastes in the Scriptures, it would seem to reflect what the King had learned from his experiences in Ecclesiastes, namely his experimenting with every form of worldly pleasure his money would buy. His wealth knew no bounds, and he walked every pathway looking for lasting happiness, pleasure and anything that would amuse and entertain him. He tried it all, but the concluding verse of Ecclesiastes laments that, “All is vanity and vexation of spirit and that the whole duty of man is loving God and keeping His commandments.” Eccl. 12:13
The Book of Proverbs is a collection of the pithy statements of the true wisdom Solomon had won by trial and error. Interestingly enough, the last chapter of Proverbs (31) addresses the role of the virtuous woman. After delineating all of her good qualities, he concludes with this quote, “Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.” Proverbs 31:30
The two conclusions of King Solomon, although from a slightly different slant, are unqualifiedly declaring that winning favor with God by obeying his commandments is all that really counts in this life. So the kernel of purest wisdom learned and outlined by King Solomon is that nothing of merely outward appearance or transient passage in our world holds any eternal value. And what a purest diamond of wisdom that is! Every other thing valued in this world will cease to exist, but love for and obedience to God is the kernel of Truth that will last through eternity. This ought to put things in perspective for us very clearly. Solomon in his vast wisdom has simplified the matter for us.
The world we live in is vast, complicated, sometimes cruel, and we cannot control or explain it. But we can remember that God is mindful of all of that, and we have His promise that if we keep His commandments, He will see us through it and home at last. No other formula given by man can promise that, and nothing will defeat its success if we believe and obey it.
Wise old King Solomon knew that, learned it the hard way, but we know it without experimenting because he has told us so. We are without excuse.