Biblical worship may incorporate artistic motifs drawn from a creation God pronounced to be “very good” (Gen. 1:31; the Hebrew word can have the sense of “beautiful”). The appropriate use of such imagery can be an affirmation of the supreme authority of God the Creator, in the conviction that “the earth is the Lord’s and everything in it” (Ps. 24:1).
In ancient Israel, the solemn assembly was a special occasion solemnizing the completion of a feast, or a penitential assembly of the people under threat of national disaster. It was marked by cessation from work and fasting or prayer.
Although Solomon completed and dedicated the temple, the foreign influences and faulty civil policy that set in during his reign eventually led to the demise of the Israelite commonwealth.
Welcome to Ecclesiastes, perhaps one of the most misunderstood books found in the Bible! I just completed a reading of this “mysterious” chronicle of life’s perplexities as penned by the son of King David. Ecclesiastes is part of what theologians call wisdom literature. This fascinating book helps us look at the repetitiveness of life from the standpoint of eternity: Apart from God, life is fleeting and futile.
Proverbs comes under the Biblical category of wisdom literature and emphasizes practical living before the face of God. The book is filled with distinctive maxims and adages — general principles that are usually (but not always) fulfilled this side of heaven. For instance: The righteous suffer while the wicked seem to prosper and enjoy great blessing. But, ultimately, rewards and punishment will be fulfilled in the new heaven and earth.
Solomon wrote, “As a man thinks in his heart so is he” (Proverbs 23:7). In other words, we are, and we become, what we think! Since we’re transformed by God’s Word, the more time we spend in it, the more of it we get into us via memorization, the sooner and more profoundly we will be changed.
If given the choice, most of us would rather go to a birthday party than to a funeral! But Solomon advises against it. Notice what he writes in Ecclesiastes 7:1-4: “A good name is better than fine perfume, and the day of death better than the day of birth. It is better to go to a house of mourning than to go to a house of feasting, for death is the destiny of everyone; the living should take this to heart. Frustration is better than laughter, because a sad face is good for the heart. The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning, but the heart of fools is in the house of pleasure.”
An unfortunate by-product of our modern world is that we are able to avoid the sight of death and confrontations with death, the tragic result being we don’t take life as seriously as we should. To this Solomon says: “…death is the destiny of every man; the living should take this to heart.”
A tombstone in an English village cemetery has the following inscription: “Here lies a miser who lived for himself, And cared for nothing but gathering pelf, [wealth; riches] Now, where he is or how he fares, Nobody knows and nobody cares.” Solomon wrote in Proverbs 10:7: “The memory of the just is blessed, but the name of the wicked will rot.”
Solomon wrote: “Grey hair is a crown of splendor; it is attained by a righteous life” (Proverbs 16:31). Someone else has said, “A single conversation across the table with a wise man [or woman!] is worth a month’s study of books.”